Friday, December 25, 2009

Crab Salad in Black Sesame Tulles




Savory tuiles/cornet recipe
From Thomas Keller “the French Laundry Cookbook”

1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons (65 grams/2.1/4 ounces) all purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt (= 2/3 teaspoon table salt)**
8 tablespoons (114 grams/4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened but still cool to the touch
2 large egg whites, cold
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the softened butter until it is completely smooth and mayonnaise-like in texture. Using a stiff spatula or spoon, beat the egg whites into the dry ingredients until completely incorporated and smooth. Whisk in the softened butter by thirds, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary and whisking until the batter is creamy and without any lumps. Transfer the batter to a smaller container, as it will be easier to work with.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Make a 4-inch hollow circular stencil. Place Silpat on the counter (it is easier to work on the Silpat before it is put on the sheet pan). Place the stencil in one corner of the sheet and, holding the stencil flat against the Silpat, scoop some of the batter onto the back of an offset spatula and spread it in an even layer over the stencil. Then run the spatula over the entire stencil to remove any excess batter. After baking the first batch of cornets, you will be able to judge the correct thickness. You may need a little more or less batter to adjust the thickness of the cornets.

There should not be any holes in the batter. Lift the stencil and repeat the process to make as many rounds as you have molds or to fill the Silpat, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between the cornets. Sprinkle each cornet with a pinch of black sesame seeds. (In my cornets, I used 4 tbs of black sesame powder). Place the Silpat on a heavy baking sheet and bake for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the batter is set and you see it rippling from the heat. The cornets may have browned in some areas, but they will not be evenly browned at this point.

Open the oven door and place the baking sheet on the door. This will help keep the cornets warm as you roll them and prevent them from becoming too stiff to roll. Flip a cornet over on the sheet pan, sesame seed side down and place 4-1/2 inch cornet mold at the bottom of the round. If you are right-handed, you will want the pointed end on your left and the open end on your right. The tip of the mold should touch the lower left edge (at about 7 o’clock on a clock face) of the cornet. Fold the bottom of the cornet and around the mold; it should remain on the sheet pan as you roll. Leave the cornet wrapped around the mold and continue to roll the cornets around molds; as you proceed, arrange the rolled cornets, seams side down, on the sheet pan so they lean against each other, to prevent from rolling.

When all the cornets are rolled, return them to the oven shelf, close the door, and bake for an additional 3 to 4 minutes to set the seams and color the cornets a golden brown. If the color is uneven, stand the cornets on end for a minute or so more, until the color is even. Remove the cornets from the oven and allow to cool just slightly, 30 seconds or so. Gently remove the cornets from the molds and cool for several minutes on paper towels. Remove the Silpat from the baking sheet, wipe the excess butter from it, and allow it to cool down before spreading the next batch. Store the cornets for up to 2 days (for maximum flavor) in an airtight container. (Mine kept okay at room temperature for 3 days.)

Crab Salad

1 cup of crab meat
2 tablespoons seafood sauce
1 teaspoon chopped chives
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and Pepper

Mix together and place in molds.

Layered Mousse



Avocado Mousse

Ingredients

2 avocados
1 1/2 teaspoon gelatin or vegetarian alternative
1 1/2 tablespoons cold water
2 teaspoons finely chopped or minced spring onion
1/2 pint hot vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons double cream
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 teaspoons lemon juice


Method
Scoop the flesh out of the avocados and either mash and sieve it or blend in a food processor.
Add the lemon juice.
Season and add the onion.
Dissolve the gelatin in the water over a very gentle heat and when dissolved add the hot stock to it.
Allow to cool.
Add this mixture to the avocado and blend until smooth.
Leave in fridge until completely cold and then fold in the mayonnaise and cream.
Put into a buttered mould and leave to set for at least 3 hours.


Red Pepper Mousse

Red peppers; roasted, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoons Soft thyme leaves
2 tblesp Extra virgin olive oil
2 Cloves garlic; finely diced
1 tblesp Balsamic vinegar
2 teasp Unflavoured gelatin
8 Ounce double cream
Salt and ground black pepper

In a heated frying pan put the garlic, thyme and 1tbsp of oil from the peppers. Sweat down then add the sliced peppers, salt and pepper. Pour this mixture into a liquidizer and blitz for about 5 minutes then decant into a bowl. Heat the balsamic vinegar and gelatin in a pan and whisk together. Add a little of the puree and mix, then transfer this back into the bowl of puree and fold in. Put a bowl of ice under the puree to chill it down. Whisk the double cream to form soft peaks. Lightly oil 8 mould dishes. Mix the cream into the puree, folding in with a spatula. Spoon the mixture into the moulds and put in the fridge for 3 hours

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Turkey Roulade stuffed with pistachios and served with spiced black cherries





1 whole, boneless turkey breast, butterflied
2 tsp. sea salt
20 slices peppered prosciutto
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1 cup chopped toasted pistachios
2 tablespoons of butter

Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil, then set aside. Now, lay your bacon out length-wise on your work surface. You want each piece to slightly overlap the piece before it. Place the butterflied turkey breast on top of the bacon, with the butterflied, split portion perpendicular to the bacon. You want the bacon to wrap around the turkey when you roll it up.
Sprinkle the turkey with salt. Layer the cranberries and pistashios on the turkey, making sure to spread the filling out in an even layer, or your turkey will be hard to roll.
Using both hands, start rolling the turkey onto itself like a fruit roll-up, stuffing the filling back in if it escapes. Wrap your butcher’s twine around the turkey breast. Place the turkey on the prepared cookie sheet, seem side down,
Bake for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. It’s done when the bacon is brown and caramelized. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes, then slice into 1 1/2 – inch rounds and place on your serving dish. Or allow to cool overnight at serve cold.

Spiced Cherries

Ingredients
250ml (1 cup) water
155g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
1 star anise
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways
1 x 8cm-strip orange rind
700g fresh cherries, pitted
250ml (1 cup) port

Method
Wash a 1L (4-cup) capacity glass preserving jar with plastic lid in hot, soapy water and rinse well. Drain on a rack.
Place the water, sugar, star anise, vanilla bean and orange rind in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Add the cherries. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until cherries soften slightly.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cherries, star anise, vanilla bean and orange rind to the glass preserving jar.
Bring syrup to the boil over high heat. Boil for 5 minutes or until syrup thickens. Add port and bring to the boil. Use a candy thermometer to ensure syrup reaches 85°C. Pour syrup over the cherries in the preserving jar and seal immediately. Turn upside down for 2 minutes. Turn upright and set aside until cool. Label, date and store in the fridge for up to 1 mon

Eggnog



12 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
1000ml heavy cream

2 cups of Drambuie
1 1/2 cups of dark rum

Separate the eggs and beat the whites until stiff. Keep the whites cold.
Beat the egg yolks in a large bowl placed over a boiling pot of water. Gradually beat in the sugar and spices.
Stir it thoroughly so the portion on the bottom of the bowl doesn't overcook. Stop stirring when the mixture coats the spoon or spatula. Test by dragging your finger across the spoon or spatula; if your finger leaves a clear path through the eggnog and the mixture doesn't run, it's ready. (This might take as long as 20 minutes. Keep the heat low and don't rush it, or you might scramble the eggs.)

Chill. Add Liqueurs and beat until smooth.

Whip cream until it has soft peaks, then fold into egg mixture. Fold in egg whites. Ensure it is all well combine. Pour into bottles seal and chill.

Enjoy.

Hanuman Oysters





If your ever in Cairns or Darwin make a point of visiting this guys restaurant. Amazing flavors, inventive dishes. The only modern take on Asian flavors I've ever tasted, that hasn't veered into the icky world of fusion.


Serves 6
Ingredients

2 stalks of coriander, roots attached
1 stalk of sweet basil, leaves removed, stems reserved
½ teaspoon finely grated galangal
2 tablespoons thinly sliced lemon grass, white part only
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
60ml (¼ cup) lime juice
30ml fish sauce
2 tablespoons shaved palm sugar
36 Pacific oysters

Method
Cut roots and 5cm of stems from coriander and chop finely, reserving leaves. Finely chop basil stems. Process roots and stems, galangal, lemon grass, chilli, garlic, lime juice, fish sauce and palm sugar in a food processor until finely chopped. Check for the balance of sweet, sour, salty and hot and adjust if necessary. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate until needed. Makes ¾ cup and will keep refrigerated for up to 1 month.

Place oysters on an oven tray in a 200C oven or under a hot grill for 1 minute or until warm. Thinly slice basil leaves. Drizzle each oyster with ½ teaspoon of sauce, scatter with basil and coriander leaves and serve with remaining sauce passed separately

Serves 6

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Gougeres filled with sliced ham and chimicurri creme




Soft little mounds of flavor that pop in your mouth. A different take on some traditional ingredients.

Gougéres
Recipe from The Tartine Bakery Cookbook
Makes about 30

• 1 ¼ cups non-fat milk
• 140g unsalted butter
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup all purpose flour
• 5 large eggs
• ¾ cup Gruyére cheese, grated
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced

Topping
• Pinch salt
• Grated Gruyere, for sprinkling

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper.
2. To make the choux pastry, combine the milk, butter and salt in a heavy saucepan and place over medium heat until the butter melts and the mixture comes to a full boil. Add the flour all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring until the mixture has formed a smooth mass and pulls away from the sides of the pan. This should take about 3 minutes.
3. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the eggs one at a time and mix on medium speed, incorporating each egg before adding the next. The mixture should be thick, smooth and shiny.
4. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer, add the cheese, pepper and thyme and mix in with a rubber spatula. Use a teaspoon or small ice cream scoop to drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 4-5cm apart. Lightly sprinkle the top of each pastry with grated cheese and a small pinch of salt.
5. Place in the oven immediately and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until they have puffed and are nicely browned. Serve hot or warm, or at room temperature. Or they can be cooled completely and re-crisped in the oven for 5 minutes before serving.

Chimichurri

2 cups fresh parsley and cilantro, firmly packed
1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves
3 cloves of garlic roasted
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or plum vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
Salt and red pepper flakes to taste

Preparation:
Pulse the garlic and onion in the food processor until finely chopped.
Add the parsley and/or cilantro, and oregano if using, and pulse briefly, until finely chopped.
Transfer the mixture to a separate bowl. Add the olive oil, lime juice, and vinegar, and stir. (Adding the liquids outside of the blender gives the chimichurri the correct texture. You don't want the herbs to be completely puréed, just finely chopped).
Season with salt and red pepper flakes to taste; store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

When you are ready to serve, mix in equal portions, with mascarpone or ricotta.

Dukkah rolled Labneh Balls on a Poppy Seed Biscuits





The good thing about this dish is everything can be prepared a few days before hand. There is a lot of prep time but its all pretty basic, so you can knock each step over quite fast. Very impressive once you plate up, and it's something alot of people haven't had.


Poppy seed biscuits

8 ounces cheese - finely shredded
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Sea salt
1 cup of poppy seads

In a large bowl place the finely shredded cheese, butter, flour, salt, pepper, and sugar.
As quickly as possible combine, it should be coarse textured and not sticking together. Use your hands to form it into a log. Roll in poppy seads. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

An easy way to stick the poppy seeds to stick; is to spread them over the plastic wrap, your going to use to wrap it in.

Can be frozen at this point, till you need it.

When needed slice into ½ inch rounds and bake for 15 -20 minutes.

Serve hot or cold


Labneh

600g thick yogurt
1 tsp. salt

a cheesecloth
a sieve
a bowl

Put a sieve onto a bowl and spread cheesecloth over it. Mix yogurt and salt. Spoon the mixture into the prepared sieve. Pull the corners of the cheesecloth up and tie it into a knot. Return it into a sieve and put everything (together with the bowl) into the refrigerator. Let it drain for two days. After that, remove the drained yogurt (Labneh) from the cloth, shape it into little balls and chill for an hour. Roll the cheese balls into dukkah.

*This recipe is a part of Fbi rukavice, a monthly food blogging event created by Maja of Cooks and Bakes.


Pistachio Dukkah

1/2 cup roasted salted pistachios, shelled
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until a finely coarse mixture is obtained. Store in an airtight container.

Panettone Bread Pudding




Christmas morning breakfast, is a fine balancing act. You want something a little bit special, but you don't want to be cooking, and you don't want to fill people up to much. This year I'm testing panattone pudding, which has the added bonus of being able to be made two days before and frozen, ready to pop in the oven Christmas morning. A strong espresso, and a forkful of spicy, citrus christmassy flavors, topped with a smooth creme. Its a happy holiday.


1 Panattone sliced
½ cup of cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 cup of milk
6 eggs
Cinnamon
Vanilla sugar


Preheat oven to 180
Grease a tray and line with baking paper. Layer the panettone in tray. Beat eggs, cream, milk and vanilla together. Pour over panettone. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and vanilla sugar. Bake for 20-30 minutes.

Mix together Mascarpone, cream, sugar and vanilla, keep chilled.

Serve warm with dollop of Mascarpone crème

Monday, December 21, 2009

Gingerbread




The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.

I made a very ugly/cute gingerbread house with Caleb. We covered it in sprinkles and marshmallows, with green coconut grass and marshmallow snow men. Then we made gingerbread men and stars with the extras.

The following is not the recipe I used or even the recipe from the challenge; this is a recipe that ‘Chef Allison’ has used for years. When I saw her results I was so impressed that I’ve put her recipe here instead. Check out her blog for some amazing gingerbread houses. (http://www.partytrayforyou.blogspot.com/)

Have to say I would quadruple the spices used though, I worked with that amount of spice per one cup of flour. I would say defiantly season to taste.

Gingerbread House Recipe
Recipe By : Sullivan County Extension Homemakers Club
Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
7 Cups Sifted All Purpose Flour -- 7-8 cups
1 Teaspoon Soda
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
3 Teaspoons Ginger
1 Cup Shortening
1 Cup Sugar
1 1/2 Cups Unsulphered Molasses
2 Each Eggs
1 Cup Additional Flour -- 1-2 cups

Royal Icing:
3 Each Eggs Whites -- room temp
4 Cups Confectioner's Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Cream of Tarter
Sift together first 5 ingredients. Blend together molasses, shortening, sugar and eggs. Stir dry ingredients into molasses mixture. Add enough of the additional flour to make a dough stiff enough to be shaped into a disc. Refrigerate overnight for easier handling. Can be frozen.
Will make 4-5 small gingerbread house using this pattern.
Roll to about 1/4" thickness on a floured cookie sheet. Trace the house pattern pieces onto typing paper and cut out. Arrange pattern pieces on cookie dough and carefully cut around each pattern being certain to allow 1/2" space between pieces to allow the dough to expand as it bakes.
Cut the dough with a sharp paring knife or the edge of a metal pancake turner. Be certain the walls and roof are the same size as the patterns. Remove scraps leaving house pieces on the cookie sheet. Do not attempt to shift pieces once they have been cut out. This will stretch the dough and distort the shape. Bake at 350 12-15 mins.
Carefully loosen then remove each piece with a metal pancake turner. Cool on a wire rack. When the walls are completely cooled, place a sheet of aluminum foil on the cookie sheet shiney side up. Arrange the walls on the foil. With a hammer, pulverize a few pieces of hard clear candy in a plastic bag. Spoon some of the crushed candy into each window. Return the cookie sheet to the oven and bake a few mins in order to melt the candy. Watch carefully, the candy melts quickly. Remove pieces from the cookie sheet and cool on a rack. When completely cooled (don't rush this cooling step) peel the foil from the backs of each wall. The foil will peel easily from the window if it has cooled sufficiently.
Assemble using Royal Icing as "glue". Glue the walls together first. When icing has hardened (about 15 mins) then glue on the roof. Glue on the chimney and door. When icing has hardened you may begin decorating the house with additional icing and candy.
Suggested candies: cinnamon red hots, starlight peppermints, candy canes, gum drops, miniature marshmallows, M&M's, sweettarts, silver dragees.
Make a larger house by increasing the size of the pattern pieces. As you assemble a larger house, stuff a small string of miniature Christmas lights inside the house with the cord sticking out. Your gingerbread house can glow with the lights are plugged in. Make a gingerbread house for your pet. Use yellow, pink, or orange hard clear candies for the windows.
Royal Icing: Purchase Wilton Meringue Powder where cake decorating supplies are sold and follow the recipe on the can for Royal Icing. Or, use the scratch recipe above. Do NOT use a shortening based frosting. When making Royal Icing, it is essential that all mixing utensiils are grease free. The slightest bit of oil or grease will case the Royal Icing to break down. Royal Icing dries quickly so keep the bowl covered with a damp cloth at all times. Can be refrigerated.
Beat all icing ingredients at high speed for 7-10 mins. Add more sugar for a stiffer consistency if necessary. Makes 2-1/2 cups.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Shepard's Pie



Sometimes you need warm, scoupable food, in your life. During this season of partying, working too much, and crazy people, a simple healthy meal can make it all bearable.


Shepard’s Pie

500g mince
1 Onion diced
3 cloves of garlic diced
½ a cup each of cubed carrots, beans, peas and corn.
250ml of thick roasted vegetable sauce
1 tablespoon mixed Italian herbs
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups of mashed potatoes
¼ cup of strong cheese

Brown onion and garlic and mince. Add vegetables, sauce and salt and pepper.

Place meat in a deep baking dish. Scoop potatoes over the meat, spread evenly in pan. Top with cheese. Bake for 40 minutes at 200c.

Serve and enjoy.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Brittle




1 cup (200g) caster (superfine or ultrafine white) sugar
12 tablespoons (180 ml) water
8 teaspoons (40 ml) orange juice
2 cups of nuts
½ cup of chocolate chips
½ cup of cranberries

.Stir the sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over a medium heat, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved into a smooth syrup, boil without stirring, on a low heat, swirling the pan by the handle occasionally and washing down any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan with a wet brush until the syrup has turned into an amber-coloured caramel.

Line a pan with lightly greased baking paper. Mix together your nuts, chocolate and fruit, spread out on the baking paper. When the caramel is ready, pour evenly over the nut mix, tilt the tray from side to side to ensure even distribution. Place in the fridge to cool for around 20 minutes. Once cool break into rough pieces, and store in an airtight container.

If your in one of those nice countries not plagued by creepy crawlies, these would make lovely Christmas decorations. Simply put the nut mix in greased cookie cutters, before pouring the caramel.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Macaroons



Makes 25-45

10 egg whites
1 cup caster sugar
4 tablespoons of cornflour
Insides of one vanilla pod
600g moist coconut flakes
250g dark chocolate


Preheat oven to 180

Line a tray with baking paper and lightly spray with oil.

Beat egg whites and sugar together until thick and creamy. Mix in cornflour Add vanilla and coconut. Using your hands combine together all ingredients.

Press together mounds of the mix and place on baking tray. Bake for aprox 15 minutes or until firm and golden brown. Allow to cool.

In a Bain Marie melt chocolate. Take off heat but leave bowl over hot water, so it will stay soft.

Dip the bottom of each macaroon in chocolate and place, chocolate side up, in the fridge to cool.

Store in an airtight container


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Salmon en Croute




The 2009 December Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Simone of Junglefrog Cooking. Simone chose Salmon en Croute

The photo is her's as well. Unfortunately I didn't get to photograph mine before they were eaten. Thats how tasty this simple dish is.


This is a very rich dish, if you wanted to make it a little healthier, you could swap the shortcrust pastry for filo, and the cheese for yogurt. Serve with lots of veges and you have a very healthy meal.


Salmon en croute
Ingredients
Mascarpone or creamcheese 5.2 ounces/150 gr
Watercress, rocket (arugula) and spinach - 0.6 cup/4.2 ounces/120 gr

I also added salt, pepper, 3 cloves of garlic, zest and juice of a lemon.

Shortcrust pastry - 17.6 ounces, 500 gr. Use a butterversion such as Jus-rol which is frozen or dorset pastry. or... make your own!
Salmon fillet (skinless)- 17.6 ounce/500 gr
egg - 1 medium sized
Directions:
1.Heat the oven to 200°C/390 F. Put the mascarpone or cream cheese in a food processor with the watercress, spinach and rocket and whizz the lot until you have a creamy green puree. Season well.
2. Roll the pastry out so you can wrap the salmon in it completely (approx. 2-3 mm thick) and lay it on a buttered or oiled baking sheet (it will hang over the edges). Put the salmon in the middle. If it has a thinner tail end, tuck it under. Spoon half of the watercress mixture onto the salmon. Now fold the pastry over into a neat parcel (the join will be at the top, so trim the edge neatly), making sure you don’t have any thick lumps of pastry as these won’t cook through properly. Trim off any excess as you need to. Make 3 neat cuts in the pastry to allow steam to escape and make some decorations with the off-cuts to disguise the join if you like. Brush with the egg glaze.
3. Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and browned. To test wether the salmon is cooked, push a sharp knife through one of the cuts into the flesh, wait for 3 seconds then test it against the inside of your wrist; if it is hot, the salmon is cooked. Serve with the rest of the watercress puree as a sauce.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Chocolate Torte





250g unsalted butter
250g dark chocolate
¾ cup cocoa powder
1 2/3 cups nut meal
6 eggs
1 ½ cups caster sugar
1/3 cup of brandy or cognac
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Topping

250g dark chocolate
300ml whipped cream


Preheat your oven to 180c Butter a 23cm cake pan

Melt the butter over a low heat. Add the chocolate and whisk till melted. Take off heat and sift in cocoa. Stir until thick and smooth, set aside.

Whisk eggs and sugar until glossy and thick. Whisk in chocolate mixture. Add nuts, brandy and vanilla. Mix well. Pour batter into pan

Bake the torte for 40-45 minutes at 180o until sides are set but centre is still wobbly. Allow to cool completely before turning out.

For topping melt chocolate in a Bain Marie, take off heat. A spoonful at a time, add cream mixing well between each spoonful. Pour over cooled torte.

Top with raspberries and thick cream.

Can be frozen for up to a month.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Daring Bakers Challenge November - Cannoli



The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes

Cannoli are known as Italian-American pastries, although the origin of cannoli dates back to Sicily, specifically Palermo, where it was prepared during Carnevale season, and according to lore, as a symbol of fertility. The cannoli is a fried, tube-shaped pastry shell (usually containing wine) filled with a creamy amalgamation of sweetened ricotta cheese, chocolate, candied fruit or zest, and sometimes nuts. Although not traditional, mascarpone cheese is also widely used, and in fact, makes for an even creamier filling when substituted for part of the ricotta, or by itself. However, cannoli can also be filled with pastry creams, mousses, whipped cream, ice cream etc. You could also add your choice of herbs, zests or spices to the dough, if desired. Marsala is the traditional wine used in cannoli dough, but any red or white wine will work fine, as it’s not only added for flavor or color, but to relax the gluten in the dough since it can be a stiff dough to work with.

I did a much simpler verson then the one listed, check her blog for the origional. I've had a recipe for these pasted in my book for 3 years now, so I went with that one.




Cannoli alla Siciliana

Shells

160 grams butter cubed
5 cups flour
2 eggs, lightly whisked
4 egg yolks, lightly whisked
1 cup (250ml) Marsala

Filling

1 ½ cups mascarpone

Finely dice the following
15g candied orange peel
15g glace cherries
15g glazed cedro
15g dark chocolate
15g roasted pistachios

45g caster sugar
50ml cream, whipped to soft peaks

To make the filling combine all ingredients and refrigerate until needed.

Rub butter into flour until combined. Add egg yolks and Marsala, knead to dough. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes. Roll out to 2mm thick. Cut into circles. Roll around metal cannoli tubes.

Heat 3l of oil in a deep saucepan to 170c

Deep fry cannolis for 3-4 minutes remove from oil and slid off tube. Place back in oil and fry for a further minute until brown.

Allow to cool and fill. Serve and consume immediately.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Rocky Road





1/2 cup milk chocolate
1/2 cup dark chocolate
1/2 cup of grated coconut
1/2 cup of marshmallows
1/2 cup of pistasios

Melt chocolate in a bain marie, mix in coconut then marshmallows and nuts. Pack firmly into lightly greased mold or shape on a plate. Allow to set in fridge for 20 minutes. Turn out and cut into squares. Store in fridge.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Screw Smores



Slice bannanas in half length ways. Place bannanas, flesh side down, on a hot grill and lower heat, grill for 3 minutes and turn over. Place chocolate and marshmallows on bannanas and leave on heat for another 5 minutes, untill bananas are soft and chocolate and marshmallows are melted.

Serve warm with cream or ice cream

Friday, November 6, 2009

Daring Cooks November Challenge - Sushi




The November 2009 Daring Cooks challenge was brought to you by Audax of Audax Artifex and Rose of The Bite Me Kitchen. They chose sushi as the challenge.

Sushi is not something I make at home very often. Firstly becuase once I buy all the toppings and assemble, I have way too much sushi, and it's pretty much the same, price as going out to eat it. If I wasn't able to get good sushi, quite cheeply, I might make it more often. I do make these maki rolls, for lunch boxes and obento.





Tuna and Cucumber - can't beat the classics.


If you are interested in making your own, here are a few resources.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9hVp4Sd9NU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdQzX9SR_gk&feature=related

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sushi_and_sashimi_ingredients_and_styles

I usually cheat, and make the quick rice verson.

2 cups of rice
2 1/2 cups of water

Bring to the boil uncovered, lower heat, simmer untill the water is no longer visable over the rice. Take off heat, cover and let sit for 15-20 minutes.

Place on large plate, sprinkle with sushi vinager, stirring with a chopping motion. Allow to cool. Create your sushi.

My favorite is canned tuna mixed with a little kewpie mayo, layer with cucumber strips and roll. Slice with a wet knife. Serve with pickled ginger and wasabi.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Spanakopita




1/2 pound of phyllo dough, thawed
1/3 cup of oil
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
generous pinch of salt
generous pinch of pepper
1/2 cup of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
¼ cup of oregano finely chopped
12 oz bag of fresh spinach
1 bunch of green onions, ends and tips tossed, sliced
1/4 cup of red onion, diced
10 oz great feta cheese, crumbled
1 ½ cups ricotta chesse
12 tbsp butter, melted

Begin by making a garlic oil. This is easy, as you will bring your olive oil to medium heat in a pan, adding your garlic, and let cook until a light golden brown, being careful not to burn it. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon, and let the oil sit in the pan. Next, add roughly a tablespoon of the olive oil to a deep skillet and bring to a medium to high heat. Add half of your spinach to the skillet. Cook this until it wilts, approximately 1 minute. Remove the wilted spinach to a strainer to remove as much water from the spinach as possible. Repeat this process with the rest of the spinach.
Next, bring the remaining oil back to heat and add in your scallions and red onion, cooking just until soft. Add in your parsley, and spinach, mixing well. Remove from the skillet and place in a small bowl to let cool.
To a larger bowl,mix the ricotta and feta cheeses, mixing until nice and creamy. Toss in the cooled spinach mixture, and combine.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. As the oven preheats, melt your butter.
To a large baking pan, use your pastry brush, and lightly coat the pan with some melted butter. Open your phyllo dough, and cover with a towel as it can harden on you if you do not move quickly. You will lightly butter each top of the phyllo, adding six pieces on the bottom, remembering to lightly brush butter on each sheet. Once you have six down, spread the spinach and cheese mixture evenly over the top. Repeat your process with six more sheets. Add more spinach and cheese to the top, and place eight buttered sheets on top.
Bake for approximately 25-28 minutes, until you have a great golden brown color.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bean and Rice Casserole




2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stick, chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and white parts removed, chopped
1 teaspoon of ground chilli powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon coriander seeds crushed
2 cloves
1 can of red kidney beans
1 can mixed beans
2 cans of diced tomatoes
2 litres stock
½ cup of wild rice
Juice of one lemon
Salt and pepper

Dry roast coriander and cloves, add stock and beans. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add all vegetables and spices, keep cooking for another 5 to 10 minutes more, stirring every so often. Add the rice and simmer rapidly until cooked. Add the tomatoes, and simmer until thickened and reduced. Season with salt and pepper, add lemon juice and serve.


This keeps in the fridge and freezes very well. The longer you keep it the better the flavours will be.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Gluten and Dairy Free Banana Nut Bread



½ cup of Walnuts
½ cup of Almonds
½ cup of Dried Blueberries
1/3 cup of Goji berries
3 ripe bananas mashed
½ cup of macadamia butter
2 tablespoons of nut oil
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup caster sugar
1 ½ cups of gluten free self raising flour
½ cup of nut meal
¼ cup of soy milk

Cream together butter and sugar; add eggs, bananas, spices, nuts and fruit. Beat in nut meal and flour. Add milk stirring until smooth.

Pour into greased loaf tin. Bake for approximately two hours at 150.

This really depends on your oven; you will have to check it. If the outsides seem to be cooked but the middle is still soggy turn down your oven and continue cooking. This is a loaf so it’s quite solid.

Allow to cool completely, before cutting.

Individually wrap slices and freeze; microwave for one minute when desired.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Gluten and Dairy Free Chocolate Cupcakes




3 eggs separated
1 ½ cups of gluten free flour
1 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 cup of chocolate powder
½ cup of macadamia butter
½ cup of soy milk

Whip egg whites until they form stiff peaks, set aside. Beat together the butter, sugar and egg yolks, until light and creamy. Add vanilla, cocoa, flour and milk, beat together, until smooth. Fold in egg whites. Spoon into patty pans, bake for 20-30 minutes. Serve warm with chocolate ganache and shaved chocolate.

My ganache was made with cream, but here is a recipe for non-dairy ganache.

Vegan Ganache

1/2 C Cacao Powder
1/2 C Agave
1/4 C Coconut Oil

Melt coconut oil over hot water or in the dehydrator (if you are using it) Whisk together cacao powder, coconut oil and agave. Pour into tart shells and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pho Ga



October's Daring Cooks Challenge comes from - Jaden of Steamy Kitchen from her new book 'The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook.'

It was a two part challenge, firstly Pho Ga and secondly to create your own sweet wonton.


Ingredients:

Chicken Pho Broth
2 tbsp. whole coriander seeds
4 whole cloves
2 whole star anise
2 quarts (2 liters/8 cups/64 fluid ounces) store-bought or homemade chicken stock
3 chicken skinless thigh pieces with bones
1 onion
1 3-inch (7.5 cm) chunk of ginger, sliced and smashed with side of knife
3 tbsps. of Kecap Manis
1 to 2 tbsps. fish sauce

1 lb. (500 grams/16 ounces) dried rice noodles (about ¼ inch/6 mm wide)

Accompaniments:
Bean sprouts
Fresh cilantro (coriander) tops (leaves and tender stems)
Deep fried shallots
½ lime, cut into 4 wedges
Sriracha chili sauce
Hoisin sauce
Sliced fresh chili peppers of your choice
Thinly sliced snow peas

Directions:
To make the Chicken Pho Broth: heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the coriander seeds, cloves and star anise and toast until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Immediately spoon out the spices to avoid burning.
Char the onion and ginger, then brown chicken.
In a large pot, add all the ingredients (including the toasted spices) and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes, skimming the surface frequently.
Use tongs to remove the chicken breasts and shred the meat with your fingers, discarding the bone if you have used bone-in breasts.
Taste the broth and add more fish sauce or sugar, if needed. Strain the broth and discard the solids.
Prepare the noodles as per directions on the package.
Ladle the broth into bowls. Then divide the shredded chicken breast and the soft noodles evenly into each bowl.
Have the accompaniments spread out on the table. Each person can customize their own bowl with these ingredients.

Enjoy!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Caramelised Chinese Melon and Ginger Wontons




The Challenge was to create your own desert wontons. I wanted to keep to theme and challenge myself with something new. I was quite surprised it worked as I’d never even opened one of these melons before. Called Chinese Bitter Melon, they are somewhat tasteless with a firm spongy flesh, a perfect contrast for the spicy ginger.

There are a few steps to this, but the good thing is the filling can be prepared the day before and refrigerated. Then you just make them to order.



Ginger

1 cup finely chopped ginger
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup of water
zest and juice of one lime

Place sugar, water and lime in a pot over a medium heat. Simmer until sugar is dissolved. Add ginger and continue simmering until sauce is thick and syrupy.

Take off heat and puree in a blender

Allow to cool and set aside.


Melon


1 Melon
½ cup of sugar
¼ cup of butter
½ teaspoon of ground pepperberry

Peel melon and chop into small cubes

Melt butter and sugar together add melon, and simmer until melon is soft. Remove the melon, and put sauce back on heat to thicken and reduce. Take off heat add melon and allow to cool.


Wontons


In the centre of a wonton wrapper place a small ball of the ginger paste, spoon melon on top. With the back of a spoon spread some of the juice from the melon on all side of the wonton. Bring the four corners of the wonton towards the centre and pinch together all the sides, to create a little package.

Heat a small pot of oil. To test if it’s ready, place a empty wonton wrapper in the oil, it should brown and crisp, quite quickly. Cook each wonton separately. Lower gently into the oil, it should be deep enough to cover the whole wonton. They only take 30 seconds or so to cook.

Serve Immediately

Monday, October 5, 2009

Conffeti Salad



1 Avocado
4 fresh corn cobs
1 Capsucuim or bell pepper
1 Carrot
1 Cucumber
1 Pomegranate
1/2 cup of mint
1/2 cup of corriander
1/2 cup of parsley

Cube all vegetables into small cubes, finely chop herbs mix together and serve. This is somewhere in between a salsa and a salad. Great over meat or grilled polenta crumbed tofu.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

3 O'Clock Cookies (Also good for breakfast)




1 1/3 cup Oatmeal
1/2 cup dried fruit of choice chopped
1/2 cup Chopped nuts
1/4 cup flour
1 cup coconut
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 to 1 1/3 cup Apple Sauce
1 tsp vanilla
Mix until you have wet dough. You can add more apple sauce if needed depending on if you want a chewier and lighter or a denser cookie. Mould into desired size and shape. These work well as jumbo cookies. Place on lightly greased tray.
Bake in a preheated 180 oven for about 15 min

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Dosas - Daring Cooks September Challenge



Debyi from http://www.healthyvegankitchen.com was the host for the September 2009 Daring Cooks challenge.

3 cups rice
1 cup skinless split urad daal (skinless black gram)
3/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
Salt to taste
Vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil

Wash the rice and urad daal well. Add the fenugreek seeds to the mix and fill enough water in the rice-daal bowl to cover them about 2" deep. Soak overnight.

The next morning, drain all the water from the rice and urad daal. Now put some in a food processor and grind - adding very little water if necessary - to a smooth yet slightly grainy paste.

When all the rice-daal mix is ground like this, put it into a large mixing bowl and add enough water to make a batter. The consistency of the batter should be such that it thickly coats a spoon dipped in it.

Now add salt to taste and keep the Dosa batter aside in a warm, dark spot, covered, for 6-8 hours. After this fermentation, stir the batter well. It is now ready to make Dosas.
Put some cooking oil in a small bowl and keep ready. You will also need a bowl of ice cold water, a large, flat nonstick pan, 2 sheets of paper towel, a ladle, a spatula and a basting brush.

Fold one sheet of paper towel into a wad and dip lightly into the bowl of cooking oil. Squeeze out any excess and then rub the paper towel all over the surface of the pan to grease. The correct amount of oil is such that it is barely visible on the pan. Now turn on the heat/ flame at medium high.

Fill the ladle upto the 3/4 level with Dosa batter. Gently pour this batter onto the center of the pan - just as you would for a pancake - till the ladle is empty.
Now begin to spread the batter in sweeping circular motions to form a pancake of roughly 8" diameter. Do not be alarmed if the Dosa develops tiny holes as you spread the batter. This is normal.

As soon as you have finished spreading the batter out on the pan, dip the basting brush in cooking oil and drizzle the oil all over the surface of the dosa and also around its edges. Now hold the pan by its handle, lift up and swirl it so as to make the drizzled oil spread all over the Dosa.

When the upper surface begins to look cooked (it will no longer look soft or runny), flip the Dosa. By this time, ideally, the surface that was underneath should be light golden in color. Allow to cook for 1 minute after flipping.

The Dosa is almost done. Fold it in half and allow to cook for 30 seconds more.




Masala Filling

2 large potatoes cooked and chopped
1 medium onion (chopped)
½ teaspoon yellow split peas
½ teaspoon mustard seed
½ teaspoon turmeric
1-2 green chili
1 tablespoon oil
salt to taste

Heat the oil in a heavy based pan and add the mustard seeds, then onions, curry leaves and green chillies, and sauté over high heat till the onions are a little transparent.
Add the salt and the turmeric and mix well before adding the potatoes. Turn the potatoes around till well mixed.

Sides

2 Tomato’s finely chopped
1 Spanish onion finely chopped
Juice of one lemon
Salt
Handful of chopped coriander
Pinch of sugar

Mix together and serve

1 cup of yogurt
Juice of half a lemon
1 cup chopped mint
1 cup of chopped cucumber
Pinch of salt and sugar

Mix together and serve

Shrikhand (Cardamom Yogurt with Mango)




700g Greek yogurt
2 tsp cardamom pods
100g golden caster sugar
8-10 saffron strands
1 tsp milk
1 tbsp shelled pistachios , slivered
1 large ripe mango , sliced

Place a piece of muslin or thick kitchen paper in a large sieve set over a large bowl. Spoon the yogurt into the sieve, cover with another piece of muslin or 2 sheets of kitchen paper and set aside at room temperature for 25-30 minutes (this is done to remove excess moisture).
Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods and crush them using a pestle and mortar - you will need 1 tsp of ground cardamom.
Lift off and discard the top layer of paper from the yogurt, then scrape the yogurt into a bowl and stir in the sugar. Mix the saffron strands with the milk, then add the lot to the yogurt with the ground cardamom. Give the yogurt mixture a good stir for a few minutes so the ingredients are well mixed. (You can make up to this stage a day ahead and keep covered in the fridge.)
Divide between 6 small glasses and scatter over the pistachios. Stand each glass on a saucer with some fresh mango slices on the side and serve at room temperature.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Polenta with Spinach




1 cup of polenta
1 litre vegetable stock
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper
1 cup cooked baby spinach
A handful of sliced spring onion
A handful of chopped coriander
1 cup of grated cheese (optional)

Sauté garlic and spices in a little butter or oil. Add stock and bring to the boil. Lower heat, add polenta and stir until thick. Add spinach, onion, coriander and cheese.

Pour polenta onto a large flat pan or container about half an inch thick. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Cut into portions. Serve warm or cool.

Top with salad for a light lunch or chilli con carne for a warm dinner.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pumpkin Baby Cakes topped with Cranberry Cream



Babycakes

2 cups self raising flour
¼ of a teaspoon of cardamom
½ of a teaspoon of Nutmeg
1¼ of a teaspoon of Pepper-berry (this is not straight pepper)
90g butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup of sugar
2 eggs
1 cup of cooked pumpkin mashed

Beat together butter and sugar and spices. Add eggs and pumpkin. Sift in flour. Mix until smooth and spoon baking tray.

Icing

250g of cream cheese softened
100g of dried cranberry blended
½ cup of icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
zest of one orange

Blend together until smooth and ice.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dobos Torte- A Daring Bakers Challenge




The August 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful
of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos
Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers' cookbook Kaffeehaus: Exquisite
Desserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague



When I opened up the forum, ready for my first ‘Bakers Challenge’ and saw this Torte, my first reaction was to opt out. I pulled myself together and reminded myself that it’s called a challenge for a reason. I was tempted to add a liquor or coffee to the cake layers, but I’m glad I didn’t. I think the brilliance of this torte comes from the delicate richness of its flavours; the contrast of the rich smooth taste, with the light nothingness of the cake.

I had never made any of the elements of this cake and I was surprised at how much fun they where. I was most nervous about making caramel, resulting in me taking it off the heat a bit too soon. Once I’d poured some on the cake layer I realised how light it was. I put it back on for a few minutes, and then poured it onto greased baking paper. It made a beautiful, thin crunchy layer with a nutty taste. I liked it much better straight then on the cake.

I could have used a little more direction with the butter-cream, regarding cooking times, texture etc, but it worked in the end. All in all it’s a good thing this is so labour intensive or I’d be making it way to often.

You could make a white chocolate version of this with any fruit/colour combination. It’s a stunning decedent cake, perfect for a special occasion.




Dobos Torte

Sponge cake layers
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups (162g) confectioner's (icing) sugar, divided
1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (112g) sifted cake flour (SUBSTITUTE 95g plain flour + 17g cornflour (cornstarch) sifted together)
pinch of salt

NB. The sponge layers can be prepared in advance and stored interleaved with parchment and well-wrapped in the fridge overnight.
1.Position the racks in the top and centre thirds of the oven and heat to 400F (200C).
2.Cut six pieces of parchment paper to fit the baking sheets. Using the bottom of a 9" (23cm) springform tin as a template and a dark pencil or a pen, trace a circle on each of the papers, and turn them over (the circle should be visible from the other side, so that the graphite or ink doesn't touch the cake batter.)
3.Beat the egg yolks, 2/3 cup (81g) of the confectioner's (icing) sugar, and the vanilla in a medium bowl with a mixer on high speed until the mixture is thick, pale yellow and forms a thick ribbon when the beaters are lifted a few inches above the batter, about 3 minutes. (You can do this step with a balloon whisk if you don't have a mixer.)
4.In another bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 2/3 cup (81g) of confectioner's (icing)sugar until the whites form stiff, shiny peaks. Using a large rubber spatula, stir about 1/4 of the beaten whites into the egg yolk mixture, then fold in the remainder, leaving a few wisps of white visible. Combine the flour and salt. Sift half the flour over the eggs, and fold in; repeat with the remaining flour.
5.Line one of the baking sheets with a circle-marked paper. Using a small offset spatula, spread about 3/4cup of the batter in an even layer, filling in the traced circle on one baking sheet. Bake on the top rack for 5 minutes, until the cake springs back when pressed gently in the centre and the edges are lightly browned. While this cake bakes, repeat the process on the other baking sheet, placing it on the centre rack. When the first cake is done, move the second cake to the top rack. Invert the first cake onto a flat surface and carefully peel off the paper. Slide the cake layer back onto the paper and let stand until cool. Rinse the baking sheet under cold running water to cool, and dry it before lining with another parchment. Continue with the remaining papers and batter to make a total of six layers. Completely cool the layers. Using an 8" springform pan bottom or plate as a template, trim each cake layer into a neat round. (A small serrated knife is best for this task.)







Chocolate Buttercream
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (200g) caster (ultrafine or superfine white) sugar
4oz (110g) bakers chocolate or your favourite dark chocolate, finely chopped
2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (250g) unsalted butter, at room temperature.

NB. This can be prepared in advance and kept chilled until required.
1.Prepare a double-boiler: quarter-fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to a boil.
2.Meanwhile, whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale and thickened, about five minutes. You can use a balloon whisk or electric hand mixer for this.
3.Fit bowl over the boiling water in the saucepan (water should not touch bowl) and lower the heat to a brisk simmer. Cook the egg mixture, whisking constantly, for 2-3 minutes until you see it starting to thicken a bit. When whisking the eggs over the bain marie, keep going until you it passes the "Figure 8 test". To do the test, lift your whisk up and draw a figure 8 with the run off. When you can finish a whole figure 8 and still be able to see it on the surface of your egg mix without it all sinking back into the mix immediately, it's thick enough. Whisk in the finely chopped chocolate and cook, stirring, for a further 2-3 minutes.
4.Scrape the chocolate mixture into a medium bowl and leave to cool for about an hour to room temperature. It should be quite thick and sticky in consistency.
5.When cool, beat in the soft butter, a small piece (about 2 tablespoons/30g) at a time. An electric hand mixer is great here, but it is possible to beat the butter in with a spatula if it is soft enough. You should end up with a thick, velvety chocolate buttercream. If you're in Winter just now your butter might not soften enough at room temperature, which leads to lumps forming in the buttercream. Male sure the butter is of a very soft texture I.e. running a knife through it will provide little resistance, before you try to beat it into the chocolate mixture. Also, if you beat the butter in while the chocolate mixture is hot you'll end up with more of a ganache than a buttercream!




Caramel topping
1 cup (200g) caster (superfine or ultrafine white) sugar
12 tablespoons (180 ml) water
8 teaspoons (40 ml) orange juice
1 tablespoon neutral oil (e.g. grapeseed, rice bran, sunflower)

1.Choose the best-looking cake layer for the caramel top. To make the caramel topping: Line a jellyroll pan with parchment paper and butter the paper. Place the reserved cake layer on the paper. Score the cake into 12 equal wedges. Lightly oil a thin, sharp knife and an offset metal spatula.
.Stir the sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over a medium heat, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved into a smooth syrup, turn the heat up to high and boil without stirring, swirling the pan by the handle occasionally and washing down any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan with a wet brush until the syrup has turned into an amber-coloured caramel.
The top layer is perhaps the hardest part of the whole cake so make sure you have a oiled, hot offset spatula ready. I also find it helps if the cake layer hasn't just been taken out of the refrigerator. I made mine ahead of time and the cake layer was cold and the toffee set very, very quickly—too quickly for me to spread it. Immediately pour all of the hot caramel over the cake layer. You will have some leftover most probably but more is better than less and you can always make nice toffee pattern using the extra to decorate. Using the offset spatula, quickly spread the caramel evenly to the edge of the cake layer. Let cool until beginning to set, about 30 seconds. Using the tip of the hot oiled knife (keep re-oiling this with a pastry brush between cutting), cut through the scored marks to divide the caramel layer into 12 equal wedges. Cool another minute or so, then use the edge of the knife to completely cut and separate the wedges using one firm slice movement (rather than rocking back and forth which may produce toffee strands). Cool completely.
Angela's note: I recommend cutting, rather than scoring, the cake layer into wedges before covering in caramel (reform them into a round). If you have an 8” silicon round form, then I highly recommend placing the wedges in that for easy removal later and it also ensures that the caramel stays on the cake layer. Once set, use a very sharp knife to separate the wedges.

Assembling the Dobos
1.Divide the buttercream into six equal parts.
2.Place a dab of chocolate buttercream on the middle of a 7 1/2” cardboard round and top with one cake layer. Spread the layer with one part of the chocolate icing. Repeat with 4 more cake layers. Spread the remaining icing on the sides of the cake.
3.Optional: press the finely chopped hazelnuts onto the sides of the cake.
4.Propping a hazelnut under each wedge so that it sits at an angle, arrange the wedges on top of the cake in a spoke pattern. If you have any leftover buttercream, you can pipe rosettes under each hazelnut or a large rosette in the centre of the cake. Refrigerate the cake under a cake dome until the icing is set, about 2 hours. Cut and then let slices come to room temperature for the best possible flavour.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Matsuri




Okonomiyaki

Batter:

4 cups self-raising flour
4 cups corn flour
½ cup of dashi
3 tablespoons mirin
4 Eggs
Water as needed

Filling:

1 cabbage shredded
3 carrots shredded
2 cups sugar snaps shredded
3 cups thinly sliced beef or lamb

Method:

Mix all batter ingredients together until smooth and set aside.

Fry off meat add veg and sauté until just cooked.

Mix together and spoon small amounts onto a lightly oiled non-stick hotplate on a medium heat.

Wait for bubbles to appear on surface and flip. Leave to cook for 5 minutes (depending on the thickness of your pancake) turning every now and then.

Put on a plate and top with toppings. Serve

Toppings:

2 bottles Japanese Mayonnaise
3 bottles Okonomiyaki Sauce
3 cups Aonori (seaweed flakes)
3 cups Katsuobushi (fish flakes)
3 cup Beni shoga (Pickled Ginger)


Yakisoba

Chukamen (Yakisoba Noodles)
Sōsu yakisoba (yakisoba Sauce)
1 cabbage shredded
3 carrots shredded
2 cups sugar snaps shredded
3 cups thinly sliced pork
2 onions thinly sliced
½ bulb of garlic crushed
2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger

Method:

Boil noodles until just cooked. Drain and run cold water over them until completely cool. Set aside.

Fry meat with garlic and ginger, add vegetables. Add sauce and then noodles. Continue to toss in pan until all mixed through and hot. Top and serve.

Toppings:
Mayonnaise, anori, katsuobushi, beni shoga.


Yakitori

2 kilos chicken thigh cut into cubes
4 bunches of spring onion cut into 2 inch stalks
3 bottles of Yakitori no tare (yakitori sauce)
100 skewers

Alternate chicken and spring onions on skewers. Place on container and top with sauce. Leave to marinate over night. Grill while basting with sauce.

Daring Cooks August Challenge


About The Daring Kitchen

The Daring Bakers: A History

In November 2006, Lisa of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice decided to challenge themselves to bake pretzels for the very first time using the same recipe. They each went ahead and posted about it on November 18, 2006.

Having enjoyed that experience tremendously, they decided to try it again the next month, this time choosing to bake biscotti. And to make matters even better, they were joined by a few more food bloggers.

As the months went by, their baking group continued to grow, until it was finally decided that this "little baking group" had to have a name and The Daring Bakers were born!

Today, The Daring Bakers span the world as bakers of all nationalities come together once a month to try something new in the kitchen!


August's challenge and my first was hosted by this is Olga from Las Cosas de Olga.

http://lascosasdeolga.blogspot.com
http://thedaringkitchen.com/about-the-daring-kitchen


The Challenge

Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes.

I'm sure she will post the original recipe on her site, so I'll just post my verson. It had a few minor changes.

Sofregit

Cooking time: aprox. 1 hour

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
5 big red ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 small onions, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped (optional) I used a red pepper, to keep the red colour
4 or 5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup of button or Portobello mushrooms, chopped (optional)
1 Bay leaf
Salt
Touch of ground cumin
Touch of dried oregano
Added a large pinch of paprika

Directions:

Put all the ingredients together in a frying pan and sauté slowly until all vegetables are soft. Taste and salt

Because I’m lazy I put all the ingredients in a bar mix and chopped finely, before sautéing in a pan. After I had used the amount needed in the rice dish, I pureed the rest and used as a sauce in the plate.

Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes
Ingredients (serves 4):

4 Artichokes (you can use jarred or frozen if fresh are not available) not impressed with this vegetable, this was my first time cooking with it. Not sure if it’s just the ones we can get here, would substitute fresh for jarred next time.
12 Mushrooms (button or Portobello)
1 or 2 Bay leaves (optional but highly recommended)
1 glass of white wine
2 Cuttlefish (you can use frozen cuttlefish or squid if you don’t find it fresh)

I used Chicken

“Sofregit” (see recipe above) tripled the amount added in the recipe

300 gr (2 cups) Short grain rice
Water or Fish Stock (use 1 ½ cup of liquid per ½ cup of rice) Used Chicken stock
Saffron threads Use Lots


Allioli

Cooking time: 3-4 minutes

Ingredients:
1 small egg
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil (as above, Spanish oil is highly recommended)
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 Tbs. Spanish Sherry vinegar or lemon juice (if Sherry vinegar is not available, use can use cider or white vinegar)
Salt to taste
I added a little saffron for flavour and colour

Directions:
Break the egg into a mixing bowl.
Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the garlic cloves, along with the vinegar or lemon juice.
Using a hand blender, start mixing at high speed until the garlic is fully pureed into a loose paste.
Little by little, add what's left of the olive oil as you continue blending.
If the mixture appears too thick as you begin pouring the oil, add 1 teaspoon of water to loosen the sauce.
Continue adding the oil and blending until you have a rich, creamy allioli.
The sauce will be a lovely yellow colour.
Add salt to taste.

It is so much easier to make this in a blender; all you have to control is the flow of the oil. I didn’t like the flavour of this; if I was making it again I would change the following ingredients.

Roast the garlic in the oven for 1-2 minutes before peeling and adding
Use a flax seed oil or walnut oil

Perhaps because I didn’t use fish, the flavours of the rice where so delicate I felt the Allioli overpowered it.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Chicken and Zucchini Tart




Coat pieces of chicken with dry spice and roast in oven until just cooked. Slice and set aside.

Lightly grease a tray, line with 3 layers of filo pastry. You can use more if you want to have more of a base, just be sure to brush every 2 layers with melted butter or olive oil.

In a blender, blitz one cup of pre-cooked or canned Berlotti beans (or white beans of your choice), two cloves of garlic, a handful of fresh parsley and mint, salt and pepper together.

Thinly slice a zucchini and set aside.

Pour bean mixture onto filo, top with chicken and zucchini. Sprinkle a little grated Romano cheese on top or sprinkle with feta or goat’s cheese.

Bake for 30 -40 minutes

Serve warm

Monday, August 3, 2009

Macadamia Shortbread



The crumbly buttery goodness, belies the simplicity of the recipe.

Equal parts butter and suger, creamed. Double that of plain flour, combined with your hands. Shape into log and cut of 1/2 inch thick rounds. Bake for 15 minutes, and consume.

For this batch I used roughly 1/2 cup caster suger and butter and 1 cup of flour. Once I'd made the log, I rolled it in crushed macadamia nuts. Once cooked I dipped them in the Lemon Curd, I scored at the fete. Old School Goodness.


Friday, July 31, 2009

Cakes for the School Fete



Devils Food Cake

115g butter
115g dark chocolate
115g golden syrup
55g brown sugar
½ tsp bicarbonate soda
4 tablespoons of milk
225g self-raising flour
Pinch of salt
1 egg

Gently melt together butter, chocolate, syrup and sugar, stirring regularly. Set aside to cool. Dissolve soda in milk. Sift flour and salt together. Beat in the chocolate, milk and egg. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 for 30 minutes.

Let Cool and Ice

Icing

1cup of chocolate
1 cup of cream

Melt chocolate take off heat and beat in cream. Spread on cake.


They went to the school in box's we had decorated with pictures from various school activities. The ribbon was made out of candy strap and the coat of arms in marzipan.



Carrot Cake

1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
3 cups grated carrot
1 cup of chopped walnuts
2 ½ cups of self raising flour
½ teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons of mixed spice
Juice and zest of one orange

Beat together wet ingredients, add carrot and walnuts then add dry ingredients
Place in lined cake pan place in a 180 oven

Let cool before icing

Icing

30g butter
80g Softened Cream cheese
1 ½ cups of icing sugar
Zest of an orange

Beat all ingredients together until smooth


Monday, July 27, 2009

Orange Babycakes




Orange Cake

1 Cup self-raising flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
90g softened butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup of caster sugar
2 eggs
Juice and zest of one orange

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl, add orange then eggs. Sift in dry ingredients. Mix. Pour into cupcake tray, lined with patty cases.
Bake at 180 for 20 -30 minutes. Allow to cool.

Icing
30g butter
1 ½ cups of icing mixture
Zest of an orange

Cream together, top with more zest.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Bake with Garlic and Sage




Peel the sweet potato and cut into cubes. Cut cauliflower into small florets. Place in a casserole dish.


Finely chop 2 cloves of garlic, a handful of sage, a sprig of rosemary, and oregano.

In a saucepan melt 3 tablespoons of butter
Add garlic herbs and salt
Mix in ¼ a cup of flour
Cook off for about 5 minutes stirring continually

Very slowly add 2 cups of milk. Add about a tablespoon at a time, stirring well, until a smooth sauce.

Add Salt, pepper and any spices to taste.

Pour over vegetables and top with cheese a mix of cheddar and parmesan is good.

Bake at 180 for 30 minutes until vegetables are soft and top is golden brown
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