Friday, 28 September 2007
After that, how could I not!
And so, I made it in celebration of my friends returning from the US, and brought the leftovers into the office. Its not too heavy, with a gorgeous tangy fruit centre and a crusty golden topping.
Everyone has not stopped raving about it. Its my best work yet I think. Between you and I, this has nothing to do with me, it’s the recipe, so try it.
3/4 cup (165g) caster sugar
320g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bi-carb soda
240 g chilled butter, in cubes
1 cup (240g) sour cream
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp cornflour
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbs strawberry jam
Start with the puree, make a paste with the cornflour and vanilla. Puree the strawberries, jam and paste in a blender and keep separate.
Preheat oven to 170C and grease a spring-form pan (23cm).
Mix the sugar, flour, baking powder and bi-carb in a large bowl.
Using your fingertips, rub the cubes of butter till its like crumbs. Remove 1/2 a cup of this mixture and then add the sourcream, egg and vanilla to the large bowl and mix well.
Use a little over half the batter as the base and spread over the bottom of the pan spreading up the sides of the pan.
Next pour on the strawberry puree, making sure its even.
Cover with the remaining cake mixture.
Now back to the reserved crumble. Add the brown sugar and mix through lightly with a fork and sprinkle over the cake.
Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and firm.
Allow to cool and serve.
Wednesday, 26 September 2007
I check her site religiously in anticipation what she has discovered next and this recipe is one I have been holding out to make.
The perfect opportunity arose on the weekend. Last year I went to a music festival called Splendour in the Grass with a few friends. One of the highlights was the discovery of donuts stuffed with chocolate. Hot spongy dough with cinnamon sugar and oozing rich chocolate in the middle. Heaven if you ask me!! I couldn’t join the trip to Splendour this time around, but talk of chocolate donuts was back. A few of my darling friends who went this year came over for dinner on the weekend, so I grasped the opportunity and made donuts.
Tony loves working with dough, kneading especially, so I think we were a little cocky, as we’d had some huge successes with yeast lately. This time, not so much. We couldn’t get them to rise. Much.
We tried everything.
After many hours, and a cranked up heater they rose and were eaten with glee.
1 1/3 cups warm milk
1 packet active dry yeast
2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
5 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 large block of dark chocolate, broken into pieces
Place 1/3 cup of the warm milk in a bowl. Stir in the yeast and set aside for five minutes or so. Make sure the milk isn't too hot as it can kill the yeast.
Add the butter and sugar into the remaining cup of warm milk and add it to the yeast mixture. Stir in the eggs, flour, nutmeg, and salt until the flour is incorporated.
Knead the dough until it is supple and smooth, not sticky. Shape into a ball and put into oiled bowl and cover and put in a warm place. Let rise for an hour or until the dough has roughly doubled in size.
Next, pull off small pieces and flatten a little with your thumb, pop a piece of chocolate into the dough and close it over itself and pinch to seal the edges. Roll them a little to make them round and place a tray lined with baking paper. Cover with a clean cloth and let rise for another 45 minutes.
Bake in a 190C/375F oven until the bottoms are just golden, 8 to 10 minutes - start checking around 8. While the doughnuts are baking, place the butter in a medium bowl. Place the sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl.
Remove the doughnuts from the oven and let cool for just a minute or two. Dip each one in the melted butter and a quick toss in the sugar bowl. Eat immediately if not sooner.
Tuesday, 25 September 2007
Finally on Friday night after much tossing and turning I told myself to stop being silly, to go to sleep and I would sort it out in the morning.
I woke up even earlier than usual and delved into the cookbooks. Nothing was coming to me.
The difficulty was I knew exactly what I wanted to make for dessert (yep, next post) and it was a heavy one so I had to have something not too intense.
As I was about to give up and get a pizza for them all I remembered my trusty note book with all my favourites. It opened up to the page with Nigella’s lemon chicken and all was well.
It’s all very easy and delicious in true Nigella style. Its crispy, golden brown chicken with tangy caramelised lemon and garlic, you can eat it all. I like to serve it with a nice green salad. I’ve also made this and added a few potatoes which is great.
1 chicken, cut into 10 pieces
1 whole garlic, separated into unpeeled cloves
2 unwaxed lemons, cut into chunky eighths
small handful fresh thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil
150ml white wine
Pre-heat the oven to 150C/300F.
Combine the chicken pieces, garlic cloves, lemon chunks, oil and thyme (leave some thyme intact for strewing over later). Mix everything together, its easiest to use your hands.
Spread all this out in a roasting tray, trying to keep the skin side up.
Evenly sprinkle over the white wine top with freshly ground pepper.
Cover tightly with foil and put in the oven for 2 hours.
After 2 hours, remove the foil and turn up the oven to 200C/400ºF and cook, uncovered chicken for another 30-45 minutes.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining thyme.
I went back to my parents fabulous olive grove in the Clare Valley... again, on the weekend. Had a wonderful, relaxing, rather drunk time. I was on cooking duty on Friday night and dad and I decided Lamb Shanks would be the go. I had taken all my cookbooks with me and we went through them and searched for the lamb shank recipe we fancied the most! In the end dad won out as he wanted the shanks with the most spice and flavour. Mum wanted veg and I wanted sauce! In the end I think we all got what we wanted.
Monday, 24 September 2007
I thought there was way too much, but it all went and everyone said they loved it (although, that could have been because dinner took a little longer than I expected).
Sorry for the bad photo, I forgot to take a photo before I put it out.
The next morning, as we were walking to the shops, rambling about the night before I said ‘ye, the houmous the yum wasn’t it’ and Tony couldn’t believe it was houmous, so that’s a good sign for you!
400g can of chickpeas, drained and well rinsed
1 large clove of garlic, crushed
3 tbs of tahini
The juice of 2 lemons
1 tbs of olive oil
Put the chickpeas, garlic and tahini in a blender and puree a little. Season with salt.
Add the lemon juice and process again until smooth.
Add the olive oil and process for a second more and adjust seasoning to taste.
Serve with whatever you like, I did carrot and celery batons and corn chips. Mmm.
Friday, 21 September 2007
Rub butter and flour together with your fingertips until it resembles bread crumbs. Add the egg yolk and mix. Add dashes of milk until it forms a dough. Roll balls with the dough mix. About half the size of a golf ball.
Mix the syrup ingredients together and heat over medium/high heat until bubbles form around the edge then turn down to medium and add the dumplings. Let them cook themselves, no need to turn them or poke them. After about fifteen minutes when they have doubled in size and are golden brown, serve with cream.
Melted butter, to grease
125g butter, at room temperature
100g (1/2 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
125ml (1/2 cup) golden syrup
1 egg, separated
375g (21/2 cups) plain flour
1 tbs ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Plain flour, to dust
Icing, to decorate
Smarties, to decorate
Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush 2 baking trays with melted butter to lightly grease.
Use an electric beater to beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy. Add the golden syrup and egg yolk and beat until combined. Stir in the flour, ginger, mixed spice and bicarbonate of soda. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Press dough into a disc. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
Place the dough between 2 sheets of baking paper and roll out until about 4mm thick. Use a 9cm gingerbread man cutter to cut out shapes. Place on trays about 3cm apart. Repeat with any excess dough.
Bake in oven for 10 minutes or until brown. Remove from oven. Transfer to a rack to cool.
Pipe icing over gingerbread men to decorate. Finish with Smarties.
Wednesday, 19 September 2007
This past weekend we were invited to go to a friends place for Sunday afternoon Indian feast. I finally convinced the hostess to let me bring dessert as the menu was huge.
Gulab Juman had already been planned, so I thought I'd fit in. I rang a dear friend, Padma, who makes the BEST Gulabs I've ever had. Generally I am not a fan, cos they're too sweet and too mushy, but Padma's are perfect.
I got the low down over the phone but she said do a practise run. When Padma originally said that I have to admit, I arrogantly thought 'oh I'll be fine'. But that night when I bought the ingredients as I knew I might not have another chance, I thought I might as well. I'm so glad I did 'cos I let the sugar syrup cook for to long and it set like toffee. After another phone consult and I decided I'd better do another practise run and this time my oil was too hot and they got brown to quickly so when I added the sugar syrup they went mushy.
On Sunday morning, we tried again. Tony was by now a pro with the dough and the rolling process and I had the oil and the syrup just right. They were purrrrfect, if once again, I may say so myself.
Something else I learnt is that the Northern Indians make their sugar syrup with rose water and in South India they prefer cardamom. Cardamom is one of my favourites, but you could probably easily adapt this recipe or add both!
1 cup self-raising flour
2 cups full cream powdered milk
300ml thickened cream
sunflower/canola oil for deep frying
1 kg sugar
water to cover the sugar
10 cardamom pods, (break open the pods and remove the black seeds inside and grind in a mortar and pestle. Sometimes a little sugar helps with the grinding)
Mix the SR flour and the powdered milk together.
Add the thickened cream and mix to form a dough. You may need a little less than 300ml cream, the dough shouldn't be sticky and shouldn't be that dry that it breaks.
Pull off small amounts of the dough and roll into small lime size balls (makes 40-50).
Fry off all the balls.
Whilst you are doing all this you can put the sugar and water in a separate pan and bring to a simmer. When all the sugar has melted and this a a nice syrupy consistency remove from the heat and add the cardamom.
The best way to judge if the syrup is the right consistency is when you put a little on your index finger and press you thumb and finger together and when you pull them apart its a little stringy. It shouldn't hold the string, the stringiness should fall away. If you're not sure, its better to take the syrup off the heat earlier rather than later.
Tuesday, 18 September 2007
Monday, 17 September 2007
In the end, I went with my first idea which is from my all time favourite author, Lily Brett. Lily Brett has made me howl with laughter and bawl my eyes out over several of her books. She’s inspiring and so real the way she tells us readers the most open and honest things about herself.
Its possibly not my favourite of all her books, but it’d be up there – “You’ve Gotta Have Balls”. Or should I say Bolls as Edek would say. This book is the story of her father moving the NYC and taking over her life to a certain extent. His new Polish girlfriend, who Lily finds difficult at times as she is only wearing her lingerie underneath her apron when Lily comes over makes the most amazing meatballs.
And so I go into the spirit of things, got down to my lingerie, put on the apron like Zofia and made meatballs. They were super easy to prepare and absolutely delicious.
100 grams coconut flakes
900 grams turkey/chicken mince
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 heaped tbs breadcrumbs
2 eggs, whisked
2 teaspoons hot curry powder (I used garam masala)
1 tsp ground cardamom
1½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground pepper
700ml of tomato passata (or 2 tins or crushed)
2 cloves of garlic
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp garam masala or curry powder
Preheat the oven to 190C
Using a food processor, pulse the coconut until ground.
Put the mince, coconut, onions, breadcrumbs, eggs, curry powder, cardamom, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. It should be firm.
Form into balls and put on a well greased baking tray. Spray with oil (or brush) and bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown.
In the mean time, heat a little olive oil in a saucepan and quickly fry off 2 garlic cloves. Add the tomatoes and the spices and bring to a simmer. Season.
When the balls are ready serve with the tomato over the top with toasted coconut.
The recipe says to make you home-made goats curd and pasta, but I just bought some good quality goats curd & fresh lasagne sheets. If anybody is interested in either of these, just leave a comment and I’m happy to add it.
This recipe interested me as it was so different from any lasagne I had made or seen as well as the combination of the traditional tomato, with the curry leaves, lentils and the goats curd and the polenta. During the making and building I didn’t think I’d enjoy it but when I sat down, popped a little in my mouth I was surprised by the complexity and subtlety of the flavours. It’s worth a try if you’re looking for something different.
So here is my adaptation.
2 bunches of spinach, trimmed
20 curry leaves
6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tsp coriander seeds, roasted
¼ tsp ground mace
4 large ripe tomatoes
180 grams polenta
750 ml boiling water
250grams goats curd
375 grams of fresh lasagne sheets
Salt and pepper
For spinach filling, put lentils in saucepan and cover with salted water. Simmer for an hour or until tender.
Reserve a little of the water the lentils have been cooked in.
Blanch the spinach in a large pot of salted water for 30 seconds, then refresh in cold water. Drain, squeezing out all the excess water and roughly chop.
Heat the butter until brownish and add the curry leaves, 3 garlic cloves and onion and cook until brown and soft. Add the cooked lentils and spices and season. Add the spinach and set aside.
For the tomatoes, preheat the oven to 200C. Remove the cores of the tomatoes and score the bases with a cross, drizzle with olive oil and put them in the oven for 20-30 minutes. Peel and coarsely chop. Heat a little olive oil in a saucepan and the remaining garlic. Add the tomatoes and stir occasionally for 10-15 minutes. Season and set aside.
Put the 750ml of boiling water into a stainless steel bowl over a pan of simmering water (bain-marie). Whisk in the polenta and stir over a low heat for 10-20 minutes until thick. Add ¼ of the goats curd and mix thoroughly.
Oil your lasagne tray and lasagne tray and cover the bottom with lasagne sheets. Then put the polenta on top, and indent with fingers to hold the tomato sauce.
Then put on half the tomato sauce and cover with more lasagne sheets.
Top with more lasagne sheets and pour over the goats curd as top layer and sprinkle with a little extra polenta. (My curd was quite firm so I made it a little liquid-y by mixing in some milk).
Sunday, 16 September 2007
Friday, 14 September 2007
It was relatively easy and fool proof and came out creamy, tangy and spicy. Mmm.
5 garlic cloves, peeled
4-5 long red chillies, trimmed
2 lemon grass stalks, trimmed, outer leaves removed and sliced
5cm piece fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped
4 shallots, peeled and chopped
1 tsp ground turmeric
2-3 tbsp groundnut oil
800grams chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
2 tbsp groundnut oil
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
4 kaffir lime leaves
1 cinnamon stick
3 star anise
400ml coconut milk (I used coconut flavoured evaporate milk)
100ml chicken stock
1 tsp palm sugar (or soft brown sugar)
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp fish sauce
400g green beans, trimmed
Salt and pepper
handful of coriander leaves, roughly torn
To make the curry paste. Put the garlic, chillies, lemon grass, ginger and shallots in a food processor to form a paste. (Or you can use a pestle and mortar).
Next, heat the groundnut oil in a large heavy-based pan. Tip in the curry paste with 1 tsp ground turmeric and stir over a medium heat for a few minutes. Add the onions and cook, stirring for 5 minutes.
Wednesday, 12 September 2007
Monday, 10 September 2007
This recipe only created 7 largish cupcakes, which we sponge-y and tasty
2 small bananas
50g soft butter
110g (3/4 cup) self-raising flour
75g (1/3 cup) sugar
2 tbs milk
1 lime, rind finely grated
100grams Philly cream cheese
50grams stick butter
1 ½ cups sifted icing sugar
1 lime, rind finely grated
1 tablespoon lime juice
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Mash the bananas. Place the bananas, soft butter, flour, sugar, egg, milk and lime rind in a medium mixing bowl and beat combined. Do not overbeat.
Spoon the banana mixture into the patty pans and bake in the preheated oven for 15 - 20 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
To make the frosting, bring the butter and cream cheese to room temperature.
Combine the icing sugar, butter, cream cheese, lime juice and rind in a bowl and beat butter and cheese at medium speed until creamy.
You can add more sugar/lime juice until you get to the consistency you like.
Saturday, 8 September 2007
It was my 28th birthday this weekend and so Andrew and I decided to spend it at my parent's olive grove in the Clare Valley. Clare is one of South Australia's most well known and beautiful wine regions. One of my many wonderful gifts was a Donna Hay cookbook, which is where I found this recipe which I have adapted to make two delicious cupcakes using the key ingredient, Lime!
125g butter, softened
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup milk
icing sugar for dusting
1/2 cup lime juice (approx 3 limes)
1 cup castor sugar
3 eggs, beaten
Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
To make the lime curd, place the lemon juice, butter, sugar and eggs in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of rapidly simmering water for 6-8 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened. Refrigerate until cool.
Place the butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until light and creamy. Gradually add the eggs and beat well after each addition. Add the flour, baking powder and milk and beat well.
Spoon the mixture into twelve patty cases and bake for 15 mins or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Set aside to cool.
Cut a circle out of each cupcake and fill with the lime curd. Top with the cupcake circle and dust with the icing sugar.
Fluffy Lime Cupcakes
Make the cupcakes as above but instead of cutting a circle out of the top, ice them generously with lime vienna icing!
1/2 cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice
3 drops vanilla essence
Mix the above ingredients together and ice the cupcakes. Sprinkle lime rind over the top.