Pizza Cups

Pizza Cups

Pizza Cups

Casa de Chaos is full of strong personalities, with equally strong opinions and tastes. This is never more evident than when making (or ordering) pizza. Alliances are made and broken, feuds declared and civil unrest ensues. Battle lines are drawn over thick or thin crust, the addition or exclusion of onions, mushrooms, Pepperoni, olives, how much (and what kind of) cheese or ham .. and this is long before we get to #TeamPineapple vs #TeamNoPineapple! Individual pizzas went a long way towards armistice, however it introduced a new bone of possible contention .. time. There is only so much room in the oven, and we found we had to cook pizza in shifts. Skirmishes broke out over whose pizza got precedence. Nobody wanted to stand in line. Fortunately for my sanity, it occurred to me that we could stack the pizzas by cooking them in muffin trays. The result is a tasty dinner and peace in our time 🙂

Baked Rice Pudding

Baked Rice Pudding

Baked Rice Pudding

This dish is another comfort food classic for cold Winter’s nights. Creamy, sweet rice custard offset by the earthy aromas of nutmeg. Delicious hot or cold, try it accompanied by fresh or poached fruit, drizzled with fresh cream. Better yet, up the ante and smother it with almond custard 🙂

Puffy Neeps

cheesy, tasty, Puffy Neeps

cheesy, tasty, Puffy Neeps

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Those of you with Scottish ancestry may be familiar with “Bashed Neeps”, the traditional accompaniment to haggis. It’s made by boiling and mashing swedes with butter and spices. Sadly, where we live swedes are often difficult or expensive to obtain for most of the year, so I began combining them with parsnips when they were out of season. To my delight, I found I could make a “gourmet” version that is light, fluffy and makes a delicious accompaniment to roast, baked or barbequed meats. The cheesy crust is particular popular in Casa de Chaos!  It’s a good vegetarian option with salad or baked vegetables. It’s also the perfect way to use up large, over-ripe or woody parsnips that would otherwise be consigned to the compost .. something I am sure frugal Scots would approve of, even if I am contaminating their neeps.

Rich and Creamy, Gently Mocha, Chocolate Mousse

Perfect Chocolate Mousse

Perfect Chocolate Mousse

When I was very young, my parents took us on a family holiday all over the South East of Australia. In those days, the main river flowing through Melbourne was a polluted, marshy mess with banks of sticky smelly muck by its side. Imagine my horror then, when Dad made some chocolate mousse and told me he was serving “Yarra Mud” for dessert. I was horrified and flatly refused to eat it, nor did I touch the stuff for decades afterward. My offspring however, were not so scarred, and eventually I overcame my revulsion to create this. 

Gran’s Super Lemony Curd

fruit toast, lemon curd and coal-tar coffee. Breakfast of champions

Fruit toast, lemon curd and coal-tar coffee. Breakfast of champions

Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.
~ Will Holt 1958.

With all due respect to Peter Paul and Mary, they did the humble lemon a great disservice when they recorded “Lemon Tree” in 1962. Far from being inedible, lemons are a delicious, tangy addition to so much of what I cook. None more so than this delightful terribly unsubtle lemon curd. On toast for breakfast, scones for morning tea, spiced apple fritters for lunch, pastries for afternoon tea, dolloped into sauces with dinner, flans for dessert and by the spoonful for midnight snacks, this is one of my very favourite things. Swirled through cheesecake, squeezed into Jammy Dodgers , slathered over pancakes or the basis for a truly cheaty lemon meringue pie, this stuff is your best friend.