Wednesday, July 11, 2007

What A Great Day

I had such a good day. First off we went to a friends house for morning tea and the kids had a play. My friend, R, had made caramel chocolate slice - one of my absolute fave's from growing up - and I thoroughly enjoyed a slice (or two!) with my cup of tea.

After that I dropped the kids home to hubby and headed down to the shopping centre carpark. The carpark? Yep. The Australian Women's Weekly (a magazine and publisher of many of my favourite cookbooks) "On The Road" promotion was in town today so I trotted along to check it out. The promotion is travelling to regional towns around Australia and will be visiting over 120 towns in 11 months. The 'show' went for a couple of hours and, although there wasn't much of a turn out, it was good. Sadly they didn't have the cooking demonstration that I had been looking forward to but they had other stuff and lots of give-aways. The first 50 to arrive were given a showbag of goodies that included a mini cookbook, coffee mug, Revlon lipstick and various other bits and pieces. There was also the opportunity to purchase another goodie bag with current issues of a couple of different magazines, a full size cookbook and a mini cookbook for just $5. It was valued at closer to $35 and I jumped at the chance. Then, to make a fairly good day even better I won a year's subscription to the Australian Women's Weekly mag. How cool!

With an influx of cookbooks into the house I was in a cooking kind of mood when I got around to thinking about dinner. Yesterday I picked up a huge bag of mushrooms at Coles for $3.30 - they were on the reduced trolley and I grabbed them before anyone else could. Anyway, while I had plenty of mushrooms and some visitors to feed it seemed the perfect opportunity to try a recipe I had been looking at for a while. This was easy, delicious and was on the table in about 30 minutes.

Cheesy Polenta With Mushroom Ragout
from Fast Workday Dinners

50g butter (this seems excessive, I'd cut it back to about 35g)
4 rashers (slices) bacon, rind removed and cut into thin strips
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small onion, chopped
400g mixed mushrooms, such as shiitake, oyster, Swiss brown, etc
1 litre (4 cups) vegetable or chicken stock
1 1/2 cups instant polenta
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
300ml cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
shaved Parmesan, to serve

1. Melt the butter in a large frying pan. Add the bacon and garlic and fry over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the onion and mushrooms and cook, stirring, over low heat for 8 minutes until the mushrooms and onion are soft.
2. Bring the stock or water to boil in a large pan. Gradually add the polenta, stirring continuously. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 2-3 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened. (If it is too thick add a little extra stock.) Stir in the Cheddar and Parmesan.
3. Add the cream to the mushrooms and simmer for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in the parsley and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spoon the polenta onto a serving plate and top with the mushroom ragout and Parmesan shavings.

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