Perfect microwave poached egg

I’ve always wondered about how to make the perfect microwave poached egg.  Every time I try to cook an egg in the microwave it explodes.  I’ve bought all sorts of gadgets over the years that promised the perfect microwave poached egg, but I still had to wipe exploded egg from the inside of my microwave.  (Grrrr!)  I have been on a mission.

After quite a lot of research and experimentation, I discovered the method to achieve the perfect microwave poached egg, and of course I’m going to share it with you!  This is going to blow your mind. It’s so quick and easy to do, you will wonder why we haven’t all been doing it this way for years.

You’ll have to excuse my photography in this post because time was of the essence.  If I played around trying to get the perfect photo of my poached egg, I risked it being overcooked and there’s nothing worse than a hard cooked yolk.  It’s got to be just right.  The white cooked – just, and the yolk that holds together until it’s safe and sound on that piece of toast and I slice into it, revealing golden, runny deliciousness. And also, I was so hungry, I just couldn’t wait to eat it.

So here’s what you do:

Firstly, assemble all your bits and pieces.  This ensures you are not wasting precious time with your head in the pantry and overcooking your egg (unless you like it that way).

You will need:

  • a small bowl
  • boiling water
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • plate that fits the top of the bowl to act as a lid (or cling wrap)
  • your egg
  • toast ready to go (I like mine with sliced cheese or avocado on it – today I’m having cheese)
  • slotted spoon

Poached egg equipment

Once the water has boiled, pour it into your bowl until it fills up about halfway.

The egg starts cooking once it hits the boiling water so keep moving. Don’t dilly dally.

Then add the vinegar.

Crack the egg and slide it gently into the water.

Raw egg in boiling water + vinegar

Place the plate (lid) onto the bowl.

Raw egg in boiling water + vinegar. LId on.

Put the bowl in the microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds. (Note: Microwave times may vary.)

Remove the bowl from the microwave immediately and take off the lid. The egg will look cooked.

Poached egg in bowl

Gently scoop out the egg using your slotted spoon, pausing to drain the water off.

Place the egg on your previously prepared toast.

Cut into the egg (golden, runny deliciousness moment) and add salt if you like.

Perfect microwave poached egg on toast

How good is that!!??

You’ve got to try this.  I can’t believe how simple and quick this is and how well it works.

The egg doesn’t explode in the microwave because the water is heated up before the egg. It’s genius.

Note:

You don’t have to add the vinegar if it’s not on hand. The vinegar is supposed to keep the egg from spreading out too much so that it stays in a compact shape, but this method still works fine without it.

Let me know if your breakfast situation just got quicker and easier. With no saucepan or weird microwave gadgets to wash, you’ve now got more time to enjoy your egg.

Trina xx

 

Tamarillo Chutney

Tamarillo chutney is something I’ve never made before and never eaten before. A friend of mine has a friend who has a thriving tamarillo tree at home.  This tree is in it’s prime producing stage of life and has grown an abundance of tamarillos this year.  She gave lots of tamarillos to my friend, who then kindly shared some with me!

These little fellas have beautiful shiny reddish skin and edible seeds inside (similar to passionfruit or kiwi fruit).  Fresh, ripe tamarillos are quite tart in flavour but give a good punch of taste to salads. (They are the kind of exotic fruit I would expect Jamie Oliver to use and act as though we all have them in our fruit bowls at home – they are a bit unusual but if you have a tree at home then you might like to give this recipe a go.)

I decided to make a batch of chutney with my precious collection of tamarillos.  I adapted my recipe from over here.

The recipe that I used for Tamarillo Chutney was very simple and I adapted it to use ingredients that I already had in my pantry. I prepared it as I was preparing our family dinner one night this week and let it bubble away on the stove while we ate.  When we had finished our meal, the tamarillo chutney was done and ready to “jar up”.

Tamarillo Chutney

Yield: 3 cups of chutney

Tamarillo Chutney

Ingredients

  • Approx 12 tamarillos
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups caster sugar
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cups sultanas
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Cut a small cross into the skin on the base of each tamarillo.
  2. Place tamarillos in a saucepan or bowl and cover with boiling water.
  3. Allow to stand for a few minutes until the skins at the cut cross begins to peel.
  4. Drain and peel tamarillos once cool enough to handle.
  5. Roughly chop tamarillos.
  6. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  7. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for a few minutes until onion is soft.
  8. Add tamarillo, sugar, vinegar, sultanas, allspice and cinnamon. Stir until well combined and sugar dissolves.
  9. Bring to the boil.
  10. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until thickened and colour has deepened.
  11. Remove from heat and spoon chutney into hot, sterilised jars.
http://trinamichellehouse.com/tamarillo-chutney/

Here are the tamarillos before and after peeling.

Tamarillos, some peeled

Now they are all peeled. Not very pretty, I know.

Peeled tamarillos

Here they are all chopped up.

Chopped tamarillos

Into the pot with the other ingredients.

Tamarillos in pot

20 minutes later…….Now the colour has deepened and it is ready to go into hot, sterilised jars.

Tamarillo chutney cooked

The finished product!

Tamarillo chutney

What will we do with it now?

Tamarillo chutney is delicious with cheese and crackers. It also adds beautiful flavour to meat dishes (but I don’t think we’ll have trouble using it up!).  It’s super yummy and won’t last long in our house. Do you have tamarillos at your house?

Trina xx

PS  I filled two jars, so my friend who gave me the tamarillos is getting a jar of my chutney.  I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing the tamarillos back with her again in a different form!

Meal in a Jar

When friends or family are unwell or in need of a little TLC, I always imagine myself turning up on their doorstep with a steaming hot casserole for their dinner.  Does it ever happen? Rarely! Also, the timing needs to be right.

In an attempt to make this gift more convenient for everyone, I decided to investigate making a meal in a jar.  This concept can get pretty tricky, with people using all sorts of weird dried vegetables, meats and condiments.  I just wanted some simple ingredients that would be tasty on their own, store well and provide a base meal where fresh vegetables or meat can easily be added in at the time of eating for a more substantial meal if desired.

The meal in a jar keeps for a long time, so if they don’t get around to cooking it up for a few weeks, it will still be really delicious. They can just whip it out any night they please.

Meal in a jar

After much research, here are the meal in a jar options that I made:

Noodle soup in a jar mix (Dinosaur Soup!)

Ingredients:

1 tbsp dried parsley flakes

1/4 cup dried minced onions

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp celery seed

1/2 tsp poultry seasoning

1 tsp dried basil

4 chicken bouillon cubes (I used 1/2 pkt chicken noodle soup)

3 cups of noodles ( enough to fill jar)

Assembly:

Layer all spices at bottom of a one quart (I used 500g) jar.

Place noodles on top of spices filling the jar.

Print this on a card for the recipient.

Ingredients:

1 can diced tomatoes

8 cups of water

Instructions:

Place tomatoes and water in a soup pan and bring to a boil.

Add noddle soup mix and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Enjoy with a nice fresh salad and a crusty roll.

Enjoy soup with a loaf of french bread or garlic rolls.

I got this recipe from:

https://hubpages.com/food/Gifts-in-a-Jar-Soup-Mixes

Lentil Soup Mix in a Jar (this will perfectly fill a 500 mL mason jar)

6 oz green lentils (just under a cup)
1 T curry powder
3 T dried minced onion
1/2 t garlic powder (I brain-farted and put 1t in all of mine….they are still good!)
1 T dried parsley
1 t kosher salt
5 oz red lentils (just under a cup)
2 T chopped dried apple

1. Layer ingredients.  I like to put green lentils on the bottom, followed by seasonings, then red lentils, then as much chopped apple as I can fit under the lid.

2. Cooking instructions – add three jars of water and simmer 30 minutes (this instruction works no matter how you scale the recipe – 6 cups of water for a 500 mL mason jar, or 12 cups for a 1L mason jar).

Some lentils may need to simmer a bit longer, and people may want to puree the soup a bit (or add more water if they want a thinner soup).  But the basic instruction is so simple and requires no extra ingredients and just one pot.

TIP: dried apples rings are a pain in the butt.  I drop mine into a running food processor a few at a time.  If you aren’t making a zillion jars, you could just hand chop them, but they are TOUGH.

If curry is not to your liking, here are a few alternate suggestions (omit the curry for all of these):

classic French – 2 t herbes de provence

italian – 1 t italian seasoning (or mix of basil, rosemary and oregano), 2 T chopped sundried tomatoes in lieu of apples

moroccan – 1/2 t cinnamon, 1/4 t cardamom, 1/2 T cumin, dried cilantro in lieu of parsley, dried raisins and apricots in lieu of apples

southwest/mexican – 1 T chili powder, dried cilantro in lieu of parsley.  Omit apples

I got this recipe from:

http://www.definitelynotmartha.com/2014/12/the-perfect-gift-in-jar-curried-lentil.html

Cajun Dirty Rice Mix in a Jar Recipe

For the gift jar
one 1 pint jar (500ml) with a tight fitting lid

Ingredients
1 cup brown rice. (You can also use white rice, but reduce cooking time to 10-15 mins in the instructions)
2 teaspoons paprika
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 large stock cube with its wrapping (or 1 tsp stock powder)

Layer the ingredients one at a time into the jar in this order – half the rice, paprika, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, remaining half of rice, wrapped stock cube.

Fit the lid on the jar and screw it on tight.

Write or print out these instructions on a thick piece of paper and attach to gift jar:
“Bring 2 cups of water plus the stock cube to a boil in a large sauce pan. Stir so the stock cube dissolves. When the water boils, add remaining contents of the jar. Stir. Reduce heat to low. Cover the pan with a lid. Simmer for 30 minutes or till the rice is cooked, but not mushy.

Serves 4 as a side dish.”

I got this recipe from:

http://www.veggiebelly.com/2011/12/dirty-rice-mix-in-a-jar-vegetarian-holiday-gift-ideas.html

Here is a PDF of the instructions and labels I made up for you to print (some are doubled-up, sorry about that!):

Meal in a jar labels
Meal in a jar labels page 2

I printed out the labels for the jars and the tags which give the instructions for cooking the meal in a jar. The instructions were super simple and the meals quick to cook.

If you are re-using jars from pasta sauce or other food, you can deoderise and have the smell removed by rinsing with water and bicarb soda – see the how-to over here.

Meal in a jar

I made all three of these for two of my friends. One friend is going through chemotherapy and the other friend was about to have her third baby. These meal in a jar gifts have hopefully given my friends a few easy meals to enjoy with their families.

Hot Tip:

Note to self: I could make these and take them camping!!  Aaahh Haaahhh!

I hope you are inspired to spread a little love around with these diy meal in a jar ideas. There are heaps of good ideas out there. Please let me know if you have discovered any good ones on your travels.

Trina xx

 

 

 

Her 13th birthday

My youngest daughter has just become a teenager and I thought I would share her 13th birthday with you. Turning thirteen is such an exciting milestone.  She was tired of being a “twelvie” and ready to embrace teenagerhood.

In our house, we decided to do something special for our daughters on their 13th birthday: give them a bedroom make-over. Part of the thrill of this is the leadup. There are months of pinning things to Pinterest, cutting pictures from store catalogues and window shopping. We even do a trip or two to Bunnings and drool over the paint sample cards, choosing the perfect colour palette.  After colour selection has taken place (this is one of the first steps in the whole process, by the way), we carry around these colours until all the items have been purchased.

Most purchases were online jobs but we did manage to source a couple if items locally.  Because of this, we have been slowed down by postage.  Some things won’t be added to the room until they have arrived in the post.

Here is a quick list of the items we either modified or added to the room:

  • new doona cover & pillowcase
  • new throw rug for bed
  • new cushion covers added to existing cushion inserts for bed
  • new desk lamp
  • gold ribbon added to existing bedside lamp
  • new window seat (would you believe, this is actually a TV unit from Aldi!)
  • new window seat chair pads & cushion
  • new desk chair pad to match those on window seat
  • new gold & cream storage crates for window seat shelf
  • new map of the world in old frame that was lying around (generously donated by my brother!)

The photos below show before and after (cushions for bed and window seat still to come).

Left side is “before” right side is “after”:

Bedroom make-over

So we didn’t paint any walls or add new blinds but we did change the look of the room. It also allows her to change the room again down the track very easily. She’s not locked in to having bright pink walls forever!

On her 13th birthday, she had a couple of friends over for dinner and a movie at home.  I made her birthday cake – the Funfetti Cake.  Read about it over here.

Funfetti cake STAR

Star cake decoration

Star birthday cake with candles

She had a great thirteenth birthday. We love her to bits.

Trina xx

Chocolate coated caramel fudge

With Easter fast approaching, I decided to make this chocolate coated caramel fudge recipe as gifts. Easter eggs are wonderful, but sometimes a little homemade gift is a lovely change.

I’ve made quite a range of different fudges over the years. This fudge recipe is a favourite of mine because it’s so simple and it makes quite a lot. I made up small boxes and this jar, with a few delicious morsels for the cook 😉

Caramel fudge gifts

This is a really easy recipe and you don’t need a candy thermometer. It’s also quick to make so you don’t feel like you are slaving away for weeks. I also like that the fudge cuts easily and doesn’t crumble.  It’s a beautiful creamy consistency.

Chocolate coated caramel fudge

Chocolate coated caramel fudge

Ingredients

  • 395g can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 80g butter, chopped
  • 200g white chocolate, chopped
  • 200g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 30g coconut oil (or copha)

Instructions

  1. Line the base and sides of a 20cm x 20cm square cake tin with baking paper.
  2. Put condensed milk, sugar and butter in a medium heavy-based saucepan, and stir to combine.
  3. Cook, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, over a medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and becomes a caramel colour.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add the white chocolate and stir until the chocolate is melted and combined.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and allow to cool.
  7. Refrigerate for 1 hour, or until mixture is firm (or leave out on the bench until it comes to room temperature).
  8. Melt dark chocolate and coconut oil in microwave, stirring regularly, until melted and smooth.
  9. Remove fudge from the tin onto a chopping board (I tipped out the baking paper too and used it on the chopping board to stop the fudge sticking).
  10. With a sharp knife, cut the fudge into four strips.
  11. Spread the fudge strips all over, until completely covered, with the dark chocolate mixture and place in a baking paper lined container.
  12. Place in the fridge for a couple hours or leave out on the bench until it sets.
  13. Then slice the strips into 1 cm wide pieces and serve or place in gift boxes or jars.
http://trinamichellehouse.com/chocolate-coated-caramel-fudge/

Variation:

You can play around with the chocolate coating if you want to.  You could sprinkle your fudge strips with finely chopped nuts before the dark chocolate mixture sets. You could also add chopped pecans or almonds to the fudge mixture if you want to add a crunch.

Hot Tip

No need to keep your fudge refrigerated unless you have hot weather.  Ideally, fudge should be kept at room temperature (I learnt this from the fudge shop in Mount Beauty – I didn’t know this before).

I love giving gifts that I have made at home. This fudge recipe is so easy to make and impressive when served or presented as a gift. Your friends and family will wonder how you did this!

Have you made any gifts this Easter?

Of course, you could give this fudge as a gift at any time of the year. I’m sure the recipient would gladly receive it no matter what the occasion!

Let me know if you have made gifts for Easter this year.

For more Easter inspiration, see the Easter egg tomb table centerpiece over here. I must remember to make mine again this year.

Trina xx