Friday, November 14

November Cooking Group

Thought I'd share the spoils of our latest Cooking Group.  I wrote a blog post a few months ago about starting up a cooking group, for those who don't have a clue what I'm talking about.

I love seeing a handful of meals in the freezer that weren't cooked by me!  And the other upside is the opportunity to try new recipes.  It's so easy to get stuck in a recipe rut.


This month we cooked:

Jodie – a Jamie Oliver meatloaf
Meredith – chicken and chorizo Gumbo (from Frost Bite - recipe here)
Karen – vegie pasties
Kate – Ribollita soup with veal meatballs (from Delicious magazine - recipe here)
Donna – chicken and vegetable pie
Me – chicken mussaman curry (from the Frost Bite e-book)



Tonight we're having the vegie pasties with a green salad (thanks, Karen!).  It's so nice to come home from work and not cook dinner!


Susan x




Saturday, November 8

Freezer buddies

I'm always on the lookout for more players in the frozen food market.  I like the company.  Thought you'd like to know some of my favourites...



Gourmet Dinner Service has been around since 1994 and produces a great menu of delicious frozen (and fresh) meals.  I bought lots of their meals when my babies were born, before I started writing my FROST BITE recipes.  So much better than the frozen meals in the supermarket!





The Frozen Dough Co is a new-ish business in Sydney, making cookie dough balls which are frozen and sold at markets.  You can pop the frozen balls in the oven whenever you want freshly baked goodies.  My cookie recipes in the FROST BITE books are the same concept, but sometimes it's just easier to buy them ready-made.  And everything bought at markets is a little bit special too!




Dish'd Food Store is another new player.  They produce restaurant/cafe-quality meals in Sydney and Melbourne (and more cities to follow) that are frozen and delivered to your door.  Sounds delicious!


These are just a few players in my neighbourhood. I'm sure there are tons of guys in North America and Europe where frozen foods and freezer cookbooks are more commonplace.


Susan x




Tuesday, October 28

Introductory price

Just a heads-up that the special introductory price for the FROST BITE e-book ends soon.




On 1 November the e-book will revert to its RRP of US$7.99

It's time to nab a bargain!


Susan x





Sunday, August 24

"I don't get e-books"

Many people are fine with e-books, it doesn't faze them at all.  But I've also discovered that there are plenty of people who are confused by them. Lets have a chat about some common concerns....



I don't know anything about IT 

I don't know much either.  I spend my time at work (as an accountant), writing recipes or being a mum.  I am hardly an IT expert but I've learned to embrace e-books.  

Do you open PDF files? Well, you can open some e-books.

In case you don't know, e-books come in two file formats:
  • ePUB format means that the text is flow-able.  E-books in this format can be opened on a phone/tablet and the text will adapt to the space.  You can turn the tablet on its side and the text flows to fit the screen.  Most novels are in ePUB format because they are mainly text with no/few images.  
  • PDF stands for Portable Document Format.  It means the contents of the file (text, fonts, images etc) is held in a fixed layout.  
I chose to publish FROST BITE as a PDF because a cookbook is heavily reliant on formatting and images.  And I wanted it to look pretty!



What do I do with an e-book?

Once you have opened a PDF book you have a few options:
  • You can save it on your computer in whatever folder you like, just like you would save a Word document or an Excel file
  • If you have an Apple device (iPhone, iPad, Mac etc) you can save it in iBooks.  Make sure you have the iBooks app on your device (available for free from the App Store)
  • You can print it and save it in a folder in the kitchen. You might even like to bind it (try Officeworks - you can even upload the file and they'll print, bind and send it to you - here's a link for Australia but I'm sure other countries have a similar service)
  • You can upload it to your account in Google Play.  Google Play will let you upload up to 1,000 books (they must be in ePUB or PDF format) and you can access them on any computer anywhere in the world, just by logging into your Google account.


I like printed books

I do too, but there are lots of advantages to e-books.

They can be bought at 2am in your pyjamas and you'll receive it instantly.  They cost a lot less than a printed book because there's no paper, no transport costs, no warehouse costs etc.  You can store hundreds of books on a small device (much easier for taking on holidays than five paperbacks!).  And they never go out of print.

I decided to create FROST BITE in PDF format because it can be printed easily, so you've got the best of both worlds.

Another cracker FROST BITE recipe on my mini iPad



If you have any other questions or niggling doubts, just send me an email at frostbitefood@gmail.com and I'll try and find an answer for you.

Susan x 








Thursday, August 21

Google Play

Guess what?!  The FROST BITE e-book is now available on Google Play.

If you want to keep all your books, games, apps, music, tv shows and magazines all in one place then Google Play is the place to be.  Just set up a Google account (using any email address, it doesn't need to be gmail) and you're ready to rock and roll.

Look what I found on Google Play!

And once you have bought your books/mag/music in Google Play you can open them anywhere.  Just login to your Google account on your phone or tablet and all your stuff will be there waiting for you.

And it gets better ... you can also upload your own files into your Google Play account.  Say you have a file of family recipes, just convert it into a pdf then upload it.

Don't forget that if you have already downloaded the FROST BITE e-book from here but you want to keep it on Google Play you can simply upload it like any other pdf.


Get Google playing!

Susan x





Tuesday, August 19

Vegetarian meals

Many people are afraid of freezing vegetarian meals so I thought I'd share these recipes I found over at The Kitchn.

Lots of vegetarian recipes freeze really well, as long as you avoid certain ingredients such as uncooked tomatoes and salad ingredients (lettuce, celery, cucumber, avocado etc).  Potatoes are a bit iffy as they sometimes freeze well but other times they can be spongy and strange after defrosting.

And the most important thing to remember is to defrost slowly!  All food, especially vegetables, taste better if they are defrosted slowly.

Click here for 15 vegetarian recipes over at The Kitchn.







All images are from The Kitchn





Monday, August 18

Dinner inspiration

Looking for some dinner ideas?

How about Goulash?  Or Salmon, spinach and tomato lasagne?  Or maybe Chicken caesar burgers are more your thing.


Recipes available in the FROST BITE e-book

40 recipes for only US$3.99






Sunday, August 17

Recipe: Rustic quiche

It's a miserable day in Sydney today (rain, rain, go away!) but it's perfect weather for staying indoors and cooking up a storm.   I think we'll have this for dinner tonight and I'll make a spare for the freezer.

Here's another sneak peak inside the FROST BITE e-book - you can use different quiche fillings to suit your taste, but I love the smokiness of bacon and the sweetness of leeks.

Susan x


Rustic bacon, leek and pea quiche

My girls love this quiche and it’s the easiest way to get them to eat peas!  I also like that the quiche is prepared in a square cake tin as I don’t waste any pastry, which normally happens when making quiche in a round quiche tin.


1 sheet shortcrust pastry, thawed
Olive oil
200g (7 oz) bacon, diced
1 large leek, sliced
¾ cup frozen peas
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
4 eggs
½ cup (125ml) sour cream
Freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 180C (350F).  Grease a 20cm (8 in) square cake tin and line with baking paper.

Ease the pastry into the cake tin and use your fingers to bunch up the pastry in the corners, keeping it rustic looking.  Bake blind * then remove the tin from the oven.

Meanwhile: heat some oil in a large frypan and cook bacon and leek over medium heat until the bacon is abit crispy and the leek is soft then remove from heat.  Add the peas to the bacon mixture and allow to cool.  Spread the bacon/leek/pea mixture over the base of the pastry then scatter parmesan over the top.

Whisk together the eggs, sour cream and pepper in a bowl then pour into the pastry shell.  Gently move some of the filling so that the eggy mixture goes to the bottom of the quiche.

Bake for 30-40 mins or until golden brown and well set.  Allow to cool.


Freeze: Wrap well in cling wrap and freeze

Defrost: On kitchen bench or in the fridge, or can be reheated from frozen

Reheat: Cover loosely with foil and cook in a 200C (400F) oven for about 15 mins or till heated through (allow longer for frozen quiche)

Serve: With a green salad


Serves: 4


* To bake blind: Preheat oven to 180C/350F.  Line the tin with pastry then place a sheet of baking paper on the pastry.  Fill the pastry with pastry weights, dried beans or rice then cook in oven for 10 mins.  Remove baking paper and weights/beans/rice and cook for another 10 mins.


If you're looking for more info on freezing quiche you might like this blog post I wrote a while ago.





Monday, August 11

Recipe: Barbequed thyme chicken

I whipped up this amazing chicken on the barbeque on the weekend and had to share it with you.  I had some leftover thyme from another recipe so created this marinade with various foodstuffs in the kitchen and, my goodness, it was delicious!  I'm sure this marinade would work really well with pork too.

And the side dish of beans was super tasty too.  I'm always on the lookout for yummy and easy side dishes.



Barbequed thyme chicken

We're back to iPhone photos, I'm afraid.  I only have time to take fancy photos if they're for the e-book

Marinade:
2 tablesp (40ml) dry white wine
1 tablesp (20ml) olive oil
handful of fresh thyme, leaves picked
1 fat clove garlic, crushed
1 heaped teaspoon mustard (seeded or Dijon)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

800g chicken thighs, excess fat removed, cut in half


Place marinade ingredients in a ceramic or glass dish and mix to combine.  Add chicken and turn to coat. Cover with cling wrap then place in the fridge for a few hours to marinate.

Cook on a barbeque hot plate with a little olive oil till golden brown and cooked through.

Serves: 4

Note: you can marinate and freeze the chicken if you like.  Place the marinade ingredients in a ziplock bag, add the chicken and squish the chicken around in the bag so that it's coated in the marinade.  Press the meat out so that it's flat and not too thick in the bag (so it freezes/defrosts quickly) then place in the freezer.



Green beans with almonds and feta

green beans, topped and tailed
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and black pepper
handful of flaked almonds, toasted till golden
handful of feta, crumbled


Cook beans in boiling salted water for 3-4 mins then drain well.  Tip them back into the saucepan, drizzle with some EVOO and add a little salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.

Tip the beans into a serving dish then scatter almonds and feta over the top.





Saturday, August 9

Recipe: Schnitzel Day

Wondering what's in the new FROST BITE e-book?  Here's another sample recipe for you to enjoy.

Susan x



‘Schnitzel Day’

This recipe is based on Nonna Minotto’s delicious schnitzels.  Mrs Minotto is my friend’s mother-in-law, and she occasionally declares a ‘schnitzel day’ when she makes a ton of crumbed schnitzels and stores them in the freezer for future eating.  I love the sound of that!  The secret to these schnitzels is the meat is marinated in egg, herbs and garlic for several hours before crumbing.  So good!

Nonna Minotto's fabulous schnitzels


2 eggs, beaten
2 tablesp (40ml) milk
2 cloves garlic, chopped or crushed
Handful fresh parsley or basil leaves, finely chopped
6 veal or chicken schnitzels, beaten very thin

1½ cups dried breadcrumbs (or a combination of breadcrumbs and panko crumbs)
½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
Sea salt and black pepper

Later:
Olive oil
Wedges of lemon, to serve
Cooked vegetables or salad, to serve


Combine the eggs, milk, garlic and herbs in a shallow dish then add the veal/chicken.  Turn to coat the meat in the egg mixture then cover with cling wrap and place in the fridge for 6-24 hours (one hour is OK but they’ll develop a better flavour if they marinate for longer).

Combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl.  Remove a piece of meat from the marinade and place it in the crumb mixture, turning to coat all sides with the crumbs.  Repeat with remaining schnitzels.  Place the schnitzels in a large ziplock bag or plastic container with sheets of baking paper between the layers.


Freeze:  Ensure the schnitzels are airtight then freeze

Defrost:  In the fridge (or partially defrost on the kitchen bench before finishing in the fridge).  They won’t take long to defrost – place them in a single layer on a tray and they’ll defrost quickly.

Cook:  Heat some oil in a large frypan and cook a few schnitzels at a time, turning over when the underside is golden

Serve:  With a wedge of lemon and vegetables of your choice


Makes: 6 schnitzels.  Double/triple the recipe if you want lots of schnitzels!