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.