Sunday, January 31, 2010

Slice and Bake Love

The kitchen at the nurse's quarters is smaller than a matchbox. The oven is less powerful than an easy-bake oven. There are only 2 teaspoons, no mixing bowls, one tiny baking tray and no measuring cups. I wanted to cook something nice to give to the doctors that have been really helpful whilst I have been in Albany.

These biscuits are easy to make with limited resources (visualise mixing the dough in a saucepan due to lack of bowls).

230g butter
2/3 cup icing sugar
2 egg yolks
pinch salt
2 cups plain flour
Finely grated zest of 2 oranges
1/4 cup poppyseeds

Cream together the butter and icing sugar (I did this in a saucepan with a dessert spoon). Mix in the egg yolks until well combined then add the remaining ingredients. Mix gently until it can be formed into a lump of dough. (This could all be done in a food processor - but it was actually really easy to do by hand).

Divide the dough into two and shape into sausages with the aid of gladwrap. Make them have a diameter of about 3-4cm (or smaller or larger depending on how big you want the finished product). I ended up with two rather long sausages so if you are making them skinnier you might want to make three or four sausages instead. Seal them well and then pop into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

At this stage the logs can be frozen and stored for a few months, or refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Remove the dough from the fridge and slice into 1cm rounds (or squares as mine ended up!).

Place onto a baking sheet. They can be quite close together as they do not spread much at all. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until very lightly golden on the bottom and set.

I made about 60 small biscuits and they are delicious

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

my first successful loaf (loaves) of bread

An insatiable desire to make bread struck me at 12pm today. You can always trust a Jamie Oliver recipe. Delicious (and not too difficult). The yeast that had expired 2 months ago even managed to make the cut. Next time I would add more whole nuts and fruit.

500g plain flour
500g wholemeal flour
200g roasted blanched almonds, finely ground
625mL tepid water
3x 7g sachets dried yeast
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp salt
250g walnuts, roughly chopped
180g dried figs, roughly chopped
1 tbsp fennel seeds
extra flour, for dusting

Mix together the flours. Make a well in the centre and add the yeast, sugar, salt and half the water. Mix to form a gloopy consistency. Add the remaining ingredients to the edges of the flour and gradually bring it all together to form a dough.

Knead for 5-10 minutes, until silky and elastic.

Place in an oiled bowl and seal with glad wrap. Put the bowl in a warm, draught free place and allow the dough to rise until doubled in size - about 30 minutes.

Punch the dough down for 30 seconds by bashing and squashing it. Shape it into desired shapes. I made two logs. Place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and again cover with glad wrap to seal. Place the tray back in the warm place and leave until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 180C.

Slash the tops of the loaves (to prevent them bursting) and dust liberally with flour. Place gently into the oven and do not slam the door. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the base sounds hollow when tapped.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Crumbly Cake

May 2003 - I bought the Gourmet Traveller 'Fare Exchange' recipe book for my mum for her birthday. It is full of fantastic recipes.
Today after trawling through it I decided to make this crumbly cake - tempted by the mixture of polenta, almonds, lemon and vanilla.
It did not disappoint. It is, as the recipe describes it, crumbly, quite a dry cake. This is usually the realm of overcooked, poor recipe cakes. However, the crumbly texture is what makes this cake special. A delicate slither, served with coulis made from summer strawberries (and maybe a dollop of greek yoghurt) is incredible.
The best part is the crispy edge - you must save this for last.

250g plain flour
200g fine cornmeal (polenta)
140g blanched almonds, roasted and finely chopped (I used the food processor)
200g caster sugar
125g butter, finely chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
icing sugar, to dust

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a 26cm springform pan.

Mix together the flour, cornmeal, almonds and caster sugar.

Using your fingertips, rub int he butter, until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in the oil, and then the eggs together with the zest and vanilla.

Spoon into the baking pan and smooth the top. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-45 minutes, or until the top is golden, and a skewer comes out clean.

Stand in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack to cool.

Serve dusted with icing sugar

Cake will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A lazy sunday in albany

Run (further than intended)
Albany Boatshed markets (fresh figs - nice surprise)
Frenchman's Bay
Whale world (from the outside)
Salmon pools - beautiful
Natural Bridge
The Gap