Thursday, March 01, 2007

Two Firsts

Well, three if you consider that this is the first time I have made this recipe. The other firsts were: first time using my new flan tin and... drum roll please... the first time I made pastry!! I'm totally certain that those of you who usually make your own pastry will laugh yourselves silly when you see how easy this lot was but I was still pretty pleased with myself!

Updates and news first, then onto the recipe.

The kids colds are finally better (YAY!!!) although #2's nose seems to have developed a permanent drip. Sooooo disgusting!
The weather is still horrendously hot and humid and apparently we have a cyclone brewing for sometime next week. Of course these predictions are notoriously unreliable but the real locals seem pretty certain.
Just for fun the other night we stuck a themometer into the bath water to see what temp the water was. We haven't used the hot water tap for anything other than doing dishes for a few months now. We shower with only the cold water on, run the bath out of the cold tap, etc and quite often it is still too hot. We don't ever just grab a glass of water from the tap (besides that I put it all through the filter jug anyway) because it is hot and not real pleasant. Some days I have to run the bath, wait for it to cool down and then get the kids organised and into it - no I'm not joking or exaggerating on this one. Anyway, Hubby and I were pondering on that when he decided we should grab the big-you-beaut-professional themometer from the shed and check out what temp the water really was. The water coming out of the cold tap was 39˚C! That's not cold at all.
Hmm... what other news? Tutoring went well. I'm down for one class for lecturing at the Uni and waiting to hear back on two more. And, after a couple of off-weeks I finally feel like cooking again so will attemp to return to blogging on a somewhat more regular basis.

In news to hand... you may have noticed that I added a site meter to my page. I was very proud because I managed to do it totally by myself and didn't require Hubby's assistance at all - then again the directions were pretty much idiot-proof! Anyway, I have been thrilled to get an idea of the traffic through my blog. I was stoked to discover how many people visit, I was only aware of about half-a-dozen readers, so hello to you all and please leave a comment and say hi. For those of you interested in adding a site meter to your blog just click on mine and follow the directions - it is sooooooo simple and the best bit is that it's free.

And onto the cooking ("at last," I hear you all sigh!). A new flan recipe today. It was pretty simple, although would have been even easier if I had cooked the pumpkin a little earlier. It was very tasty; the bacon gave it a little saltiness while the pumpkin, cream and eggs made it smooth and the herbs just added an extra zing. I liked it and everyone else dug in so it was deemed a winner. Yay for Mummy! We had it with a quickly-thrown-together salad.

Pumpkin and Bacon Flan
from Family Circle Delicious Quiches and Flans

1¼ cups plain flour
90g butter, chopped
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
1 egg yolk
1-2 tablespoons iced water (I needed 3)

1 tablespoon oil
2 bacon rashers (strips), finely chopped
1¼ cups mashed cooked pumpkin (about 375g raw)
1 tablespoon plain flour
½ cup cream
3 eggs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon shredded fresh basil
¼ teaspoon cracked black peppercorns (left this out because of the offspring)
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, extra

Place flour and butter in food processor. Using the pulse action, process for 30 seconds or until the mixture is fine and crumbly. Add nutmeg, cheese, egg yolk and almost all the water. Process for 20 seconds or until the mixture just comes together; add more water if necessary. Turn onto lightly floured surface. Knead mixture gently to form a smooth dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to moderately hot 210˚C. Brush a shallow 23cm flan tin with melted butter or oil (I used canola spray). Roll out pastry between two sheets of plastic wrap, to cover base and sides of tin. Ease pastry into tin; trim.

Cut a sheet of greaseproof paper large enough to cover pastry-lined tin. Line with paper, spread a layer of dried beans or rice evenly over paper. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven and discard paper and beans. Return to oven for a further 10 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool.

To make filling: Reduce oven to moderate 180˚C. Heat oil in a heavy-based frying pan. Cook bacon until crisp; drain on paper towels. Combine bacon with remaining filling ingredients; mix well. Spread mixture into prepared pastry case, bake 35 minutes or until lightly golden and set. Serve hot.


Ellie said...

Whoa, 39 degrees out of the COLD water tap? That's nuts!

As for the flan, the bacon is making me think of an egg and bacon quiche, something that I adore~!

JenTX said...

Hmmmm, interesting recipe. I would never think to put pumpkin in a savory recipe. We usually think of pumpkin as sweet in a pie at Thanksgiving. I bet it was good though.

Glad the kids are doing better. Having a cold when it's so hot is miserable. Can't even cuddle up under a blankie with a hot tea to feel better.

Glad you are back to posting pictures. I do enjoy seeing your cooking creations and of course your part of the world. (and your beautiful kids mostly!)

JenTX said...

I just looked up 39°C on a chart and your water is coming out at 102.4°F! WOW, That's pretty hot for just coming out of the tap.

Also, I read your comment on my Grey's Anatomy question. I bet it's hard not to try to find out more since there are new episodes out. Why are ya'll a season behind us? We're already well into season 3 and I have the DVD of season 2. I just love that show and cried like a baby when Denny died.

The Cookbook Junkie said...

I didn't bother with a stat counter for the longest time. I was so glad I finally added one because sometimes I felt as if I was talking to myself and it was very invigorating to know that people were actually (quietly) visiting.

Red dirt mummy said...

Ellie, I have the yummiest bacon and egg pie recipe. I used to make it when we had chooks and the egg situation would get out of hand!

Jen, apart from Pumkin Scones, which aren't all that sweet, I would never think of pumkin as anything but vegetable/savoury. We even had roasted pumkin with dinner tonight! Re: Denny - bawled my eyes out!

Hi Paula. Invigorating is exactly the word for it. Now if we could just convince them to say a quick hello!