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Christmas cocktails

You just know it’s going to be a lovely get-together when you’re greeted by the host of the party with a delicious drink. This little entertaining trick is one of our all-time favourites and is actually quite handy when it comes to setting up the tone of a gathering. Being met with a drink – all the better if it’s alcoholic – is such a brilliant way to ease guests into relaxing and making casual chit-chat.

But we’re not hard task masters, we know come Christmas day the last thing you feel like dedicating time to is shaking cocktails, so we’ve done the mixing for you. We’ve crafted four incredibly delicious, summer-appropriate pre-made cocktails, which you can pop into your Christmas orders now. We’ve mixed up a delightfully sharp caprioska, a tres tropical pina colada, a refreshing lychee mojito, and a fun and fizzy plum and thyme prosecco smash. Of course, once we’ve turned the corner on Christmas ’tis still the season of entertaining, so these infusions will be available on regular weekly orders to perk up your summer party roster.

OK then, you have your bottle of cocktail infusion, what next? Well, because our Christmas gift to you is easiness (you’re most welcome), all you have to do is stir together the infusion with the required bottle of alcohol for each recipe, then throw some ice in a glass and decorate with the pretty garnishes we’ve supplied for you. It’s beyond simple. You could mix this all up before guests arrive and enlist a little helper to pre-garnish the glasses, so all that’s left to do is add ice and the chilled cocktail and voila! consider your party started.

We’ve thought of everything, naturally, and have included instruction cards, too (also below). You might consider setting up a drinks station complete with recipe card and a willing bar tender, then direct guests to the bar as they arrive. And for the pint-sized patrons, these kits can easily turn virgin, simply omit the alcohol and you have a tasty mocktail. Bottoms up!

Happy merrymaking to all!

Kate and the Katering at Home team

Raspberry Caprioska

Makes 15 cocktails (only make ½ for a smaller jug)

Shake the Christmas caprioska infusion bottle well and pour into a large jug. Add 1 bottle vodka, 700ml soda water and stir to combine. Fill glasses with ice, squeeze in lime wedges, a few raspberries and pomegranate seeds and top with caprioska mixture. To make this a mocktail, simply omit the vodka.

Pina colada

Makes 15 cocktails (only make ½ for a smaller jug)

Shake the pina colada infusion bottle well and pour into a large jug. Add 1 bottle rum and 600ml soda water and stir to combine. Fill glasses with ice, squeeze in lime wedges, and add a sprinkling of coconut flakes. Top with pina colada mixture and serve with a wedge of pineapple on the side of the glass, if desired. To make this a mocktail, simply omit the vodka.

Lychee mojito

Makes 15 cocktails (only make ½ for a smaller jug)

Shake the lychee mojito infusion bottle well and pour into a large jug. Add 1 bottle rum or 1 bottle vodka (depending on your preference) and stir to combine. Fill glasses with ice and a large sprig of mint, squeeze in lime wedges and top with lychee mojito mixture. Thread lychees on skewers and place in glasses to serve. To make this a mocktail, simply omit the rum or vodka.

Plum thyme prosecco smash

Makes 15 cocktails (only make ½ for a smaller jug)

Shake the plum thyme prosecco smash infusion bottle well and pour into a large jug. Add 2 bottles of proscecco and stir well to combine. Fill glasses with ice and add sliced plum and thyme sprigs to each glass. Top with plum thyme prosecco smash mixture. To make this a mocktail, simply swap the proscecco for sparkling grape juice.

Tips: All cocktails can be made one hour in advance and placed into the fridge ready for when guests arrive.

 

Kids in the kitchen

It may sound simple, but one of the best gifts we can give our children is knowledge around food. From where food comes from to how it can nourish your body and how to prepare it, this education is truly profound.

Cooking is a life skill that will set kids up for health and happiness. It will enable them to appreciate the quality of what they eat, as well as the abundance of food they’re lucky enough to have on-hand in Australia.

Visiting farmers markets and produce regions with your family is a beautiful way to open them up to this world. Another way is to cook with them at home. You don’t need to turn them into mini MasterChef contestants – a brûlée torch in the hand of a seven-year-old probably isn’t a good idea. But following a few simple recipes together, of the type of food they enjoy to eat, is a good start to setting up these foundations.

You might even win a few battles at the dinner table if your broccoli-adverse child has tossed their most-loathed vegetable through pasta themselves. At the very least, they’ll have a greater appreciation of what’s on their plate.

It’s a good move to start their cooking repertoire off on a sweet note. We’ve created a recipe for delicious apricot muesli balls and peach fruit leather (see recipes, below) for you to make at home. What we love about these little bites is they solve both the lunchbox and the hurried breakfast-while-running-out-the-door issues. Win!

And because we’re all about making mealtimes easy and delicious here at Katering at Home, we’ve helped solve the ongoing lunchbox dilemma with our weekly menu that includes Vegemite scrolls, pizza scrolls, and our ever-popular banana loaf.

When the weekend rolls around, bundle the kids into the kitchen to prepare our pre-mixed pancakes for breakfast. They can get creative with toppings and have a go at flipping the pancakes in the pan – supervised, of course. Or let them bake our cookie dough and watch their sense of self-accomplishment rise with the cookies.

You never know, they might enjoy it all so much they give you a night or two off from cooking (one can dream). For the other nights, there’s always us!

Apricot and muesli breakfast balls

Prep time: 15 minutes

1 cup (nut-free) toasted muesli
½ cup apricots, roughly chopped
2 Medjool dates, roughly chopped
40g honey
30g butter, melted
2 tsp pepitas (pumpkin seeds), toasted and roughly chopped
2 tsp sunflower seeds, toasted and roughly chopped
½ cup desiccated coconut

Place muesli, apricots, dates, honey and melted butter in a food processer. Process for 2-3 minutes or until well combined.
Add pepitas and sunflower seeds and stir to combine.
Place coconut in a shallow dish. Roll tablespoonfuls of mixture into balls. Roll balls in the coconut to coat.
Store balls in a sealed plastic container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Peach fruit leather straps

Prep time: 10 minutes

3 cups roughly chopped peach (about 6 peaches), skin on
1 tbsp honey

Preheat oven to 80–100C (or set to the lowest temperature).
Line a baking tray with a non-stick silicon mat or baking paper.
Using a hand-held blender or a food processor, blend peaches and honey until smooth. Using a spatula, spread mixture evenly over the baking tray.
Place in the oven for 2–3 hours (or overnight if you have a very low setting), or until mixture is set and dry.
6.    Allow to cool slightly, remove mat or baking-paper and place on cutting board. While leather is still on mat, cut into strips using a pizza cutter or very sharp knife.
7.    Place leather on strips of non-stick baking paper before rolling. Store in an airtight container for up to three days.

 

 

 

Happy New Year… let’s eat

If your year hasn’t quite kicked off with as much momentum as you’d like, then may we suggest a do-over? Yep, it’s time to embrace the Chinese calendar and restart 2019 with Chinese New Year!

Celebrations to usher in the New Year kick off about now, a week before the 2019 Year of the Pig ticks over on 5 February. Which means there are plenty of opportunities to flex your chopsticks and shovel in as many dumplings as possible.

Sure, the enjoyment of dumplings isn’t confined to Chinese New Year, but any excuse to devour even more of those pillowy parcels is wholeheartedly welcomed by us.

This year, it’s all about the pig. The prosperous chubby jowled pig is not only a delicious animal, but also the twelfth sign in the Chinese zodiac. According to mythology, when the Jade Emperor was deciding the order of the zodiac, the pig overslept and arrived last, taking twelfth place.

But don’t worry, it’s not all sleep-ins and bacon, the pig is a sign of wealth in Chinese culture and those born in the year of the pig are said to be realistic, hardworking and enthusiastic. Well done, you.

Whether you’re a pig, dog or snake, Chinese New Year is loads of fun. The City of Sydney puts on a great Lunar New Year party every year, so check out some of the events and, if it’s been a while since you’ve ventured down to Chinatown, now is the best time to visit for a pork bun and a custard tart.

Chinese New Year also provides an excellent excuse for a dumpling dinner party at home with family and friends. But as New Year falls on a Tuesday just as school goes back, you may not feel so inclined to spend hours in the kitchen perfecting your dumpling folding technique. Don’t worry, though, because we have. All you need to worry about is dusting off that rice cooker.

Our nimble-fingered chefs have been busy crimping little squares of pastry filled with pork and ginger, chicken and water chestnut, Peking duck, chicken and shiitake, and tofu and spinach, as well as prepping other classic meals such as duck pancakes and Hainanese chicken.

For the full menu, click here. Whip out your bamboo steamers and get ready to celebrate!

From all of us here at Katering at Home, kung hei fat choi!

 

Christmas Gingerbread

KIDS IN THE KITCHEN

Christmas testing and production is now in full swing and Katering at Home is humming along like a well-oiled machine.

Each morning I step into a bustling hive of activity, music blaring, chefs chopping, computers tapping away….

For many, like myself that work and have worked for Katering, this place is like a second home. Children are very much part of many of our lives and therefore become a solid fixture in much of our working lives. They often test our recipes (and our patience) and provide endless inspiration and ideas.

As part of our Bakery and Christmas range we wanted to provide a bake-at-home hands on product, sort of a family affair really. Something to keep kids entertained during the holiday period and something fun parents or grandparents could be part of and so the Gingerbread kit was born. Our mixture is nut-free, contains no food colours, preservatives or additives. They are available online from next week and have been sold through our Christmas markets.

GINGERBREAD KIT

These kits make a superb gift if your popping to a friends house for festive celebrations or just crack one open and bake at home with the kids. I make them each year with my kids and pop them out for Santa clause on Christmas eve with beer (and carrots for the reindeers of course!)

If you have purchased the kit you’ll need the following few fresh ingredients to get the ball rolling.

INGREDIENTS

  1. 50g unsalted butter (room temp)
  2. 95g golden syrup
  3. 45ml cold water

METHOD

Mix the butter and golden syrup for a few minutes by hand until glossy and well combined.

Tip in the contents of your Gingerbread jar, get little hands dirty and mix until the mixture forms a breadcrumb like consistency.

Make a small well in the centre and pour in cold water. I’ve used soda water as that’s what I found in the fridge, either is fine.

Now it’s time to bring the mix together, tip onto the bench and mix till just combined and the mixture forms a soft ball in your hands.

Wrap in plastic and rest for 30 minutes in the fridge to firm up.

When you’re ready to start rolling just throw a little flour onto the bench and roll the pastry out slowly to around 5 mm thick.

Cut out your gingerbread shapes and lay onto a tray lined with baking paper. You can scrunch up the off cuts of pastry and re-roll them a few times over. You should end up with about 10 large gingerbread men in the end.

Bake in a pre-heated 160c oven for around 15min. or until just coloured then rest until cool on a wire rack.

From there it’s totally up to you. Dust with a little icing sugar and enjoy with a cuppa or get creative with fondant, sprinkles and food colour and bring your little men to life.

We finished ours with a little white icing and a few sprinkles I rescued from the back of the pantry.

The dough will keep in the fridge for a week or freeze for 3 months.

Author: Katherine Hunt

 

 

 

Oodles of veggie noodles

On the menu this week Katering at home has a side dish of zoodles, or rather “zucchini noodles.”  Our chefs are making a delicious zoodle salad with whipped ricotta, toasted pine nuts, garden peas, mint and zesty lemon vinaigrette. This will come as a refreshing side dish to our Turkish chicken skewers that are found on the Weekly Menu. 

Weekly Menu – Katering at Home

Spiralized vegetables have been around for a while now, because they are a fantastic way to add extra veggie into any meal. Packed with vitamins and minerals, low in carbs and starch and tons of flavour!

Inspiralized.com

Don’t feel restricted to just zucchini though, you can spiralize carrot, parsnip, cucumber, broccoli stem, cauliflower stem, beetroot, and sweet potato.

 

 

 

 

Now that you know you can use nearly any vegetable your heart or dish desires,  its time to create some delicious food!

First off, I would suggest investing in a vegetable spiralizer, you can pick one up in your grocery shopping for as little at $10 or a top of the range $150 automatic spiralizer. I have a little $10 one and it works a treat with a little bit of elbow grease.

There are plenty of ways you can cook your noodles if you aren’t up for eating them raw. Although there are many health benefits to eating your vegetables raw. Here are a few cooking methods that I have found work best:

Just pile up your noodles in a microwave safe bowl and a tablespoon of water in the base and cook in 30 sec increments tossing in between. Cook for 30 second at a time until cooked to your desired texture. I would recommend 1-2 minutes maximum of cooking.

This technique is great If you are already cooking on your stove top, just toss noodles in a table spoon of olive oil and fry for a minute or two on a high temperature.

Boil a pot of water, once your water is at a nice rolling boil drop in your noodles for one minute, strain the noodles and serve. If you like your noodles a bit drier just pat them down with paper towel before serving.

All of these methods and cooking times will depend on the type of vegetable you use. Sweet potato will take longer to cook then your Zucchini but just use your senses to judge the right consistency for your meal. I always air on the side of under-cooked as the veg will continue to cook once removed from your bowl, pan or pot due to the residual heat within the vegetable mass.

If you have any questions you would like answered or suggestions of what you want to see on the blog next let me know via email, Instagram or Facebook.

Also, we are running a competition to win a $200 gift voucher so head over to our Instagram pages and comment on the win photo to enter.

Author Rene Hunter – Marketing

Cauliflower

A cool season favourite, cauliflower is one of the most versatile and delicious brassica Winter vegetables.  All kinds of unique cauliflower varieties are popping up in local farms and community markets and they are all so gorgeous and unique. I can’t go past the astonishing natural structure of the Romanesco cauliflower, such a stand out vegetable! Purple and green are also in season and these fun variations all cook the same, so no need to fuss with the recipe just, marvel at their incredible taste and colour!

Romesco cauliflower

Here at Katering at Home our teams main focus is as always, fresh, local, seasonal produce in all our dishes; keeping them full of flavour and at their nutritional peak and for me cauliflower ticks all the boxes. It’s high in vitamin A, C, D, B-6, B-12 and magnesium. One of the other great benefits of cauliflower and why it is so popular at the moment is that it is very low in carbs, one cup of raw cauliflower is only 5g of carbs!

So this week the team have been busy brainstorming culiflower and have created a list of unique ways you can use this humble vegetable in your home kitchen. Here are my top 7 recommendations for cauliflower;

A simple and delicious way to have a hearty warm winters soup, smooth cream and super filling.

Salad

Our chefs make the most delectable cauliflower salad! The cauliflower florets are roasted till smoky and sweet, salad is then finished with chickpeas, fresh herbs and tahini yoghurt dressing.

Cauliflower, pumpkin and chickpea salad with yoghurt dressing

Roasted whole

Have some trendy vegan friends coming over for Sunday lunch? Why not try and roast a whole cauliflower head as your ‘protein main’. Spice it up with some garlic, paprika and lemon or thyme, parmesan and lemon.

Rice it or mash it

Instead of having your traditional carb-y side dishes such as rice or mash potato, use cauliflower instead. Just whizz some raw cauliflower up in the food processor until it reaches a rice size texture. Alternatively boil and mash just the same as you would with a potato for mash.

Fritters

A great way to get some extra veg into the kid’s diets, try your hand at cauliflower ‘nuggets’. Simply boil your cauliflower until tender, let cool and roughly chop. Then add your binding ingredients in the way of flour and egg. Now time for the flavour, garlic, parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper, whatever combinations your heart desires!

Pizza

A much healthier alternative to your Friday night take away pizza. Aging like most of the above ideas whizz your cauliflower up finely in a food processor, bind with egg and parmesan and thyme. Form your mix into a pizza base and bake in to oven until lightly golden (210c). Take your pizza out and top with sauce and toppings. Cook for 5-10 more minutes and serve! Yum!

Popcorn

Finally, a super heathy and delicious movie snack. This one takes a bit more time in cooking and preparation but is totally worth the extra effort.

I hope you have enjoyed this little post about all the great thing you can do with the humble cauliflower. Keep your eyes peeled for more post coming. If you have any questions or topic ideas you would love to see leave a comment below or head on over to our Instagram page @kateringathome and send me a DM.

 

Author Rene Hunter – Marketing

Chinese New Year celebrations

This Friday (February 16th) is Chinese New Year, variously known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New year. Chinese New Year is centuries old and is the most significant holiday in China.

The city streets fill with festivals, arts, entertainment, markets, dancing and fireworks spectacles. Chinese New Year celebrations encompass a vibrant and energetic display of colour, culture and tradition.

What better way to partake in the joy of Chinese New Year than with our divine Chinese braised pork bao buns  A soft, pillowy steamed sleeping bag of bun encasing salty and sticky braised and pork belly, pickled carrot, cucumber, shallot, coriander and sweet Hoisin. New to the weekly menu and available this week only, be sure you don’t miss out!

We also have a delightful new addition to our Family Favourites menu for this month only. Delicious chicken and vegetable dumplings. These ‘pot stickers’ are a most important Chinese New Year food as they are symbolic of both plenty and new beginnings for the coming year. As perfect snack to fill hungry teenagers, cook them straight from frozen and enjoy. Little fingers will love them too, with dinner sorted in 10 minutes you can take back some time for yourself.

If you plan on celebrating, why not take the opportunity to gather some friends and have a giggle re-creating our recipe for Super Stretchy Chinese Noodles.  A real treat to make and lots of fun.

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