Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Finally I feel like I deserve to have a blog with these red velvet cupcakes

These cupcakes are everywhere. And rightly so. They are delicious. There is something beautiful about the delicate red crumb. Sour cakes with chocolate and vanilla smothered with cream cheese icing. Wow.
Thanks to the "Cake Mistress" for her recipe. I didn't have buttermilk, so did a direct substitution with nice sour greek yoghurt.
I made 9 big ones.

60g butter, room temperature
150g caster sugar
1 egg
10g cocoa powder
20mL red liquid food dye
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup greek-style yoghurt
150g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1 1/2 tsp white vinegar

Preheat the oven to 170C (160C fan forced).

Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg, beat until well mixed.

In a small bowl, mix together the food dye, cocoa and vanilla essence. Beat into the butter mixture and mix thoroughly.

Gently whisk in half of the yoghurt, followed by half the flour and repeat until it is all mixed in. Do not overmix.

Sprinkle over the salt and bicarb, then the vinegar. It will froth up. Mix in gently.

Fill the patty cases until 2/3 full (do not overfill).

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tops are springy, and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Cool slightly in the tray, then remove to a wire rack. Ice when completely cool.
Cream Cheese Frosting
In a food processor combine 50g softened butter and 300g icing sugar until smooth. Add 125g cream cheese and mix until smooth and fluffy.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

crocodiles can climb trees especially when they are cut-out cookie crocodiles

It is commonly said that if you are ever unlucky enough to be chased by a crocodile you should run in zig-zags and climb a tree. Contrary to this belief I have found that crocodiles can climb trees. Do not climb a tree to escape, run in zig zags.
Cut-out cookies, courtesy of Nigella Lawson "Feast".

These are very strongly vanilla and super delicious.

Makes 20-30 depending on the shape/size you choose

90g soft, unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Gently stir in the sifted flour, baking powder and salt. Mix very gently until you get a stiff dough.
Form into a lump, wrap in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Roll out the pastry on a floured bench to 1/2 cm thick. Cut into shapes. Put onto baking sheets lined with baking paper. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges. Watch them closely as different shapes take different times to cook. They will firm up when they come out of the oven.
Cool on trays for 3 minutes then move onto cooling racks. (they look so naked without icing!) Ice when cold.
Place in a bowl 3/4 cup icing sugar and 2 tsp butter. Add a couple of drops of food colouring. Add boiling water and stir until you reach the desired consistency.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Wintery Marmolada steamed puddings with ginger

These are really what you need when the temperature is dropping below 3 degrees celsius at night time. Especially if you are a cold-blooded, warm weather-loving girl. I seem to spend my whole life with goosebumps so this weather is not helping. There was actually ice on the grass at the hospital on friday. Ice. In Perth. Luckily these puddings warmed me up from inside my tummy (or abdomen as we are told to refer to it as).
They are steamed puddings so need little hats with pleats put onto the moulds - this is quite fiddly. You need three hands to do this so get a friend or (one-armed mum) to help you.
I had a taste with ice cream. Original recipe calls for custard. Whatever tickles your fancy really.
The 1/2 cup moulds sounds small - but do not be sucked into making bigger ones - they are super rich (and super tasty).
Thanks to Gourmet Traveller Annual Cookbook 2007.

Makes 8 delicious puddings

200g soft unsalted butter
200g brown sugar
3 large eggs
80g glace ginger, coarsely chopped (try to source some nice glace ginger from a deli)
Finely grated zest of two oranges
200g self-raising flour
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/3 cup orange marmalade

Preheat the oven to 180C. Butter 8, 1/2 cup capacity dariole moulds (small metal moulds). Divide the marmalade up between the moulds - about 1 tsp per mould, use it all.

Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the glace ginger and orange zest. Sift over the flour and ginger and gently fold into the eggs.
Divide batter among dariole moulds. Fill to the top and then smooth them over.

Make a little top out of baking paper. Put a pleat in the paper to allow for rising. Tie up with kitchen string to secure.

Place in a roasting pan. Put them on the shelf in the oven and then pour in boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the small pans.

Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked through when tested with a skewer (logistically I don't know how you would do this without unwrapping one or making a hole in the paper).
Puffed up, looking delicious.

Pull out of the water, stand for 5 minutes, then invert onto serving plates. If you want them to stand up nicely on the plate you may have to cut the top to make them flat.

We made these in the morning and Mum is taking them to a friend's house for dessert tonight. We are planning on reheating them in a bain marie at 180C for 10 minutes.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Delicious - tender prosciutto pork and rhubarb with celeriac and cauliflower puree

Crisp salty prosciutto, tender garlicky-sage pork, tart rhubarb and celeriac and cauliflower puree. Hungry yet?
Trust Jamie Oliver to give us a simple, amazing recipe.
The pork is very flavoursome.
The celeriac and cauliflower puree was my addition! Jamie recommends potatoes, but I wanted something lighter. This puree is fantastic. Try it. For a weekend dinner, a dinner party, or if I was feeling gluttonous I would have added another couple of tablespoons of butter. It would also be delightful passed through a sieve to make it perfectly smooth. For a mid-week dinner all of this is unnecessary.

Serves 4 people

For the Pork and Rhubarb
2 pork fillets, trimmed
Large handful of fresh sage leaves
4 cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 large (or 12 baby) rhubarb stalks, chopped into finger lengths
12 slices of prosciutto, thinly sliced
Olive oil

Bash up the garlic and a good pinch of salt of pepper in a mortar and pestle. Add the sage leaves and mash again. Add a good 4 tbsp of olive oil. Mix well. Mix with the pork in a plastic bag and massage well. Put in the refrigerator to marinate for 1 hour to 1 day. If you don't have the time, don't worry about the marinating.

Preheat the oven to 220C. Put the rhubarb into a baking tray and place the pork on top. Drape the prosciutto over the pork and drizzle with olive oil.

Wet and then scrunch up a piece of baking paper then lay it over the pork. Put in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and bake for a further 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the pork rest for 5 minutes. Slice the pork into pieces and enjoy.

Celeriac and Cauliflower Puree
Fairly amazing side dish. Wow.

The lady in the shop thought this was fennel - so i decided to look up a celeriac on the internet...

Celeriac - (Apium graveolens rapaceum), also known as celery root, turnip-rooted celery, knob celery. A kind of celery, grown as a root vegetable for its large and bulbous hypocotyl rather than for its stem and leaves. (thanks Wikipedia!)

This is probably enough for a side dish for up to 6 people

1 celeriac, peeled and chopped into 1cm dice
1/4 large cauliflower chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste (a lot!)

Place the celeriac, cauliflower and milk in a large saucepan with a lid on. Bring the milk to the boil and then turn down the heat. Simmer gently until the celeriac and cauliflower are both tender and fragrant (10-15 minutes).

Pour into a food processor and blend until smooth. Add the butter and olive oil and blend more. Season generously with salt and pepper

Saturday, June 19, 2010

almost ricciarelli - almond biscuits, i wish i had started using a camera instead of my phone for my blog before today

it is disgustingly obvious - but wow - photos off my camera look so much better than iphone photos
I think I will have to stop with the iphone photos and move exclusively to my little camera.
these biscuits are really good
they took about 30 minutes from start to finish
they would be great with a cup of tea
perfectly chewy in the middle and crisp on the outside
Don't be lazy - beat the egg whites by hand

We were running low on icing sugar - so I used 100g icing sugar and 75g caster sugar - maybe this is why mine turned out flat? But they are delicious regardless of shape.
Makes about 30 (quite large) biscuits

175 g ground almonds (I whizzed mine up in the food processor so the biscuits have some texture)
2 tbsp plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
175g icing sugar
2 egg whites
1 tsp almond essence
Icing sugar, extra - for rolling

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Mix together the almonds, flour, baking powder and sugar.

Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks.

Mix together the almond mix, egg whites and almond essence.

Shape into little balls and put onto baking trays. They spread during cooking, so leave some room.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool on the tray for a few minutes, then move onto racks.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

eat with a cup of tea fennel, orange and pistachio slice and bake shortbread cookies

these are soft and delicious
feel free to swap the flavourings around - but I loved this combination
Fennel, orange, pistachios. Very nice.

220g butter
60g icing sugar
zest of two oranges
2 tbsp orange juice
280g flour
pinch of sea salt
75g pistachios, chopped
2 tsp fennel seeds, roughly crushed in a mortar and pestle

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well until you get a soft dough. I did all of this in a standing mix-master, however I suspect it would have been more straight forward and simple in a food processor.

Put the dough onto plastic wrap, shape into a log (mine always ends up square edged) and chill for at least 2 hours. At this stage you could divide it into two logs and freeze one for later.

Preheat the oven to 170C. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and slice into 0.5cm biscuits. Arrange on trays on baking paper. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges.

perfect for freezing cold nights after greek school osso bucco

Veal shin braised in tomatoes with fresh gremolata on top.
Pretty amazing.
Conditions for this meal
1. cold outside (cold for me in Perth is 8.8 degrees celsius)
2. plenty of carbohydrates to mop up the juices - in the form of crusty bread, mashed potatoes, risoni, rice, polenta, risotto alla milanese (traditional accompaniment)
3. in no circumstance must you try to make this without the gremolata
For some reason we had no salad or vegetables with this. Mum didn't quite get around to getting any. Probably just a waste of space anyway! If you feel like you need something green try a very simple green salad or some green beans.
veal shin, sawn across the bone, 2 inch thick, 1 piece per person
1/2 cup white wine
3/4 cup stock - we used home-made chicken stock
2 cans of tomatoes (I always love the canned cherry tomatoes), most of the juice drained

Melt a good knob of butter in a glug of olive oil in a pot with a lid that will fit all your pieces of veal in one layer. Get the pan nice and hot. Add the meat and cook until brown on all sides.
Add the wine and cook for 10 minutes. Add the stock and tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Put the lid on, lower the heat and cook for 1.5-2 hours or until the meat is incredibly tender and falling off the bone. Season well with salt and pepper and serve sprinkled with gremolata with a side of your choice.

1 bunch of italian parsley, finely chopped
zest of one lemon
one clove of garlic, finely chopped

Mix together all ingredients, season with salt and pepper.

make these chocolate chip and pecan biscuits

yes they are delicious
nutty biscuits with dark choc chips

Makes 40

115g butter, softened
120g brown sugar
80g white sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 large egg
140g pecans - toasted and chopped quite finely so some are powder and the rest are small chunks
200g dark chocolate chips
175g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat the oven to 150C.

Cream the butter sugar and vanilla. Add the egg. Stir in the remaining ingredients.

Drop tablespoons onto lined trays. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until lightly golden on the edges. Cool on trays for 5 mins, then remove onto cooling racks

Monday, June 7, 2010

inspirationally over-ripe banana carrot bread with healthy intentions

full of bananas
full of flavour
80c for a whole pack of inspirationally over-ripe bananas
Sugar scaled back from 1 cup to 1/3 of a cup - still sweet enough for me
1 1/2 cups mashed over-ripe banana - I used 7 tiny bananas
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup olive oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup of dates, soaked for 10 mins in 1/4 cup of boiling water
1-1 1/4 cups grated carrot - from one large carrot
1 1/2 cups wholemeal flour
1/2 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarb soda
1 tsp cinnamon, ground
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans/walnuts/pepitas/pumpkin seeds - I used pumpkin seeds

Preheat the oven to 160C fan forced. Line two small loaf tins with baking paper and spray the sides with cooking spray.

In a big bowl combine the banana, sugar, olive oil and eggs. Add the dates and carrot and mix well. Stir in the flours, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, salt and nuts.

Pour mixture into loaf tins. Bake for 30-35 mins or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in tins for 10 mins, then cool remove from tins and cool on wire racks.

These freeze very well.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

gently poached chicken with basil mayonaise, with fennel and orange salad for a person who has been on a plane for 24 hrs

This is a very special meal. Make it for someone you love. I made it for mum on her return from Greece. It is delicious.

For the Poached Chicken
1 free range chicken
250mL verjuice
2 carrots, roughly chopped
3 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
3 small onions, cut into quarters
1 head of garlic, cut in half
3 dried bay leaves, crumbled
Small handful of fresh thyme
Small handful of sage
Handful of basil stalks
Salt and pepper

Place all ingredients into a large stockpot. Cover with cold water. Bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 5 mintues. Turn off the heat and leave the chicken in the water until cool. Remove the chicken from the stock. Drain the vegies from the water and keep the stock for another use.
Basil Mayonaise
2 cups of basil, tightly packed
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
200mL olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice

Blanch the basil for 30 seconds in boiling, salted water. Drain, refresh in cold water, drain well, squeeze out excess water. Pulse the basil in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the egg yolks and red wine vinegar and pulse again. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a very thin, steady stream until all incorporated. Season well with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Store in the refrigerator.

Fennel and Orange Salad
3 fennels, cut into wedges
Juice of half a lemon
2 oranges, zested, segmented, juice squeezed out of remaining pith and reserved
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp verjuice
Handful of fresh mint leaves

Preheat the oven to 180C. Place the fennel in a roasting tray, drizzle with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 30 mins or until tender and lightly golden.

In a small pan, gently heat the oil. Add the zest and garlic and cook until the garlic colours gently. Remove from the heat and add the orange segments, juice, vinegar and verjuice. Pour over the fennel. Decorate with torn mint leaves.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

ignore the recipe book asiany beefy salad - this is very nice

The recipe wanted me to make the dressing with plum sauce and balsamic vinegar. I obliged, tasted it, hated it, and consequently made up my own dressing --> success.
The trick to this dish is to have really nice beef, cooked rare. Very fresh crisp vegies, and a good sauce.
You could also add grated carrot, beansprouts... any crispy vegetable.

Serves two

1 nice piece of steak - I used a big porterhouse
Iceberg lettuce, shredded
Cucumber, cut into pieces
Generous handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped
Roasted, unsalted cashew nuts, roughly chopped
Chopped red chilli - as much/little as you desire
Wide flat rice noodles - cooked as per packet and left to cool slightly

3 tbsp plum sauce
2 tsp sichuan pepper seasoning powder (i think it is szechuan pepper, paprika, salt, chilli)
White part of 4 spring onions, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
Juice of one lime
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp soya sauce

Cook the steak on a very hot griddle until nicely charred on the outside, and still nice and rare in the middle. Leave to rest for at least five minutes, then slice into pieces.

Assemble the bowls by layering the lettuce, cucumber and noodles. Spoon some dressing over the noodles to moisten. Top with the Steak, nuts, mint and chilli and then more dressing.

If you want to get fancy you can have extra bowls on the table with more dressing, nuts, chilli and mint so people can season to taste. It would also be nice with a squeeze of lime at serving time.


This would also make a really nice filling for fresh rice paper rolls.