Thursday, March 25, 2010

Daring Bakers March - Orange Tian

The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.

For the Pate Sablee:

Ingredients U.S. Imperial Metric Instructions for Ingredients
2 medium-sized egg yolks at room temperature
granulated sugar 6 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon; 2.8 oz; 80 grams
vanilla extract ½ teaspoon
Unsalted butter ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams ice cold, cubed
Salt 1/3 teaspoon; 2 grams
All-purpose flour 1.5 cup + 2 tablespoons; 7 oz; 200 grams
baking powder 1 teaspoon ; 4 grams

Put the flour, baking powder, ice cold cubed butter and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
In a separate bowl, add the eggs yolks, vanilla extract and sugar and beat with a whisk until the mixture is pale. Pour the egg mixture in the food processor.
Process until the dough just comes together. If you find that the dough is still a little too crumbly to come together, add a couple drops of water and process again to form a homogenous ball of dough. Form into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.
Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface until you obtain a ¼ inch thick circle.
Using your cookie cutter, cut out circles of dough and place on a parchment (or silicone) lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until the circles of dough are just golden.

For the Marmalade:

Ingredients U.S. Imperial Metric Instructions for Ingredients
Freshly pressed orange juice ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams
1 large orange used to make orange slices
cold water to cook the orange slices
pectin 5 grams
granulated sugar: use the same weight as the weight of orange slices once they are cooked
Finely slice the orange. Place the orange slices in a medium-sized pot filled with cold water. Simmer for about 10 minutes, discard the water, re-fill with cold water and blanch the oranges for another 10 minutes.
Blanch the orange slices 3 times. This process removes the bitterness from the orange peel, so it is essential to use a new batch of cold water every time when you blanch the slices.
Once blanched 3 times, drain the slices and let them cool.
Once they are cool enough to handle, finely mince them (using a knife or a food processor).
Weigh the slices and use the same amount of granulated sugar . If you don’t have a scale, you can place the slices in a cup measurer and use the same amount of sugar.
In a pot over medium heat, add the minced orange slices, the sugar you just weighed, the orange juice and the pectin. Cook until the mixture reaches a jam consistency (10-15 minutes).
Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge.

For the Orange Segments:

For this step you will need 8 oranges.
Cut the oranges into segments over a shallow bowl and make sure to keep the juice. Add the segments to the bowl with the juice.
For the Caramel:
Ingredients U.S. Metric Imperial Instructions for Ingredients
granulated sugar 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
orange juice 1.5 cups + 2 tablespoons; 14 oz; 400 grams
Place the sugar in a pan on medium heat and begin heating it.
Once the sugar starts to bubble and foam, slowly add the orange juice. As soon as the mixture starts boiling, remove from the heat and pour half of the mixture over the orange segments.

Reserve the other half of the caramel mixture in a small bowl — you will use this later to spoon over the finished dessert. When the dessert is assembled and setting in the freezer, heat the kept caramel sauce in a small saucepan over low heat until it thickens and just coats the back of a spoon (about 10 minutes). You can then spoon it over the orange tians.

[Tip: Be very careful when making the caramel — if you have never made caramel before, I would suggest making this step while you don’t have to worry about anything else. Bubbling sugar is extremely, extremely hot, so make sure you have a bowl of ice cold water in the kitchen in case anyone gets burnt!]

For the Whipped Cream:

Ingredients U.S. Metric Imperial Instructions for Ingredients
heavy whipping cream 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
3 tablespoons of hot water
1 tsp Gelatine
1 tablespoon of confectioner's sugar
orange marmalade (see recipe above) 1 tablespoon
In a small bowl, add the gelatine and hot water, stirring well until the gelatine dissolves. Let the gelatine cool to room temperature while you make the whipped cream. Combine the cream in a chilled mixing bowl. Whip the cream using a hand mixer on low speed until the cream starts to thicken for about one minute. Add the confectioner sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high. Whip the cream until the beaters leave visible (but not lasting) trails in the cream, then add the cooled gelatine slowly while beating continuously. Continue whipping until the cream is light and fluffy and forms soft peaks. Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl and fold in the orange marmalade.
[Tip: Use an ice cold bowl to make the whipped cream in. You can do this by putting your mixing bowl, cream and beater in the fridge for 20 minutes prior to whipping the cream.]

Assembling the Dessert:

Make sure you have some room in your freezer. Ideally, you should be able to fit a small baking sheet or tray of desserts to set in the freezer.
Line a small tray or baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone sheet. Lay out 6 cookie cutters onto the parchment paper/silicone.
Drain the orange segments on a kitchen towel.
Have the marmalade, whipped cream and baked circles of dough ready to use.
Arrange the orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter. Make sure the segments all touch either and that there are no gaps. Make sure they fit snuggly and look pretty as they will end up being the top of the dessert. Arrange them as you would sliced apples when making an apple tart.
Once you have neatly arranged one layer of orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter, add a couple spoonfuls of whipped cream and gently spread it so that it fills the cookie cutter in an even layer. Leave about 1/4 inch at the top so there is room for dough circle.
Using a butter knife or small spoon, spread a small even layer of orange marmalade on each circle of dough.
Carefully place a circle of dough over each ring (the side of dough covered in marmalade should be the side touching the whipping cream). Gently press on the circle of dough to make sure the dessert is compact.
Place the desserts to set in the freezer to set for 10 minutes.
Using a small knife, gently go around the edges of the cookie cutter to make sure the dessert will be easy to unmold. Gently place your serving plate on top of a dessert (on top of the circle of dough) and turn the plate over. Gently remove the cookie cutter, add a spoonful of caramel sauce and serve immediately.

Monday, March 22, 2010

10 Things to Do with Mince

Sometimes, we all have to resort to the cheap and filling. When you think cheap meats mince comes to mind. But there are only so many times you can eat the same 4 dinners without a revolt. So here are a few different meals, that we're eating over the next two weeks.

Keema with Couscous

To freeze layer the Keema on the bottom of a thick and deep baking tray. Top with couscous. Cover completely with tin foil. Then freeze. When desired, place in a warm oven at 170 and allow to defrost and heat. This will take around 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

Pasta Bake

A classic, to freeze simply cover pan with tin foil and place in freezer. When desired, place in a warm oven at 170 and allow to defrost and heat. This will take around 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

Warm Noodle salad

To make this more filling I added thin rice noodles tossed through the salad. Delicious fresh and low fat.


We always add lots of finely chopped salad vegetables (tomatoes, cucumber, avocado)to our Tacos, and serve plain yogurt on the side. The only difficult part is fitting it all in.

Savory mince and Garlic Rice

I first had this in Ecuador. It's such a simple, cheep dish, but with so much flavor, that I keep coming back to it.

San Choy Bow

I fell in love with wrapping meat in lettuce in Korea. The fresh crispness of the lettuce contrasting with the warm spiciness of the meat. Yum. I usually add rice or noddles to bulk out this meal.

Chilli Con Carne

The fantastic thing about chilli is it gets better with age. So I make huge portions separate and freeze. You can have it on it's own, with cornbread, topping a baked potato, with rice, stuffed in pastry or vegetables. The options are endless.


Make up enough for four or five dinners, portion and freeze. Great for grabbing on the way out. Get some buns a bit of salad and wala.

Mince in Filo

An easier way to make a pie. Can be frozen just wrap firmly. Heat from frozen. For roughly 40-60 minutes

Pizza's (sort of)

Fun for the whole family, everyone can top their own.

Really with Mince you can do anything, as long as you change the texture and taste, no one will mind it making a regular appearance at the table.

A few more ideas:

Cottage Pie, meatballs, Lamb Koftas and Pastitsio.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Daring Cooks March - Risotto

The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf

I can't eat risotto due to an unfortunate food poisoning incident. So I followed every instruction bar stirring, which is what gives the creamyness. I made a beet and roasted garlic rice. For some excellent recipes please check out the D.C site. Here are a few of the standouts:


The Chocolate Bunny



Friday, March 12, 2010

Banana Cake with Marshmallow Frosting

I found this frosting a little sweet, but everyone else loved it. It has a nice lemony tang and is fairly robust. In the future I would only use it on cupcakes, as it gets on everything you touch. The cake is much lighter then usual banana cake, very moist with a lovely banana flavor.

Banana Cake

1 ½ cups ripe bananas (mashed)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 cups sefl-raising flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup butter (softened)
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs separated
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups Milk

Pre-heat the oven to 160 Grease 2, 8” round baking pans.
In a small bowl mash bananas, set aside. In a medium bowl sift flour and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl cream ¾ cups butter and 2 1/8 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks one at a time. Stir in vanilla extract. Mix together lemon juice and baking powder, quickly beat into mix. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk. Stir in banana mixture. Whip egg whites to soft peaks and gently fold in.

Evenly pour batter into 2, 8” round baking pans. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Between those times keep checking on the cake with a toothpick to see if it’s done. Cool completely.

Marshmallow frosting

4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
Juice and zest of one lemon
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
In a heatproof bowl of an electric mixer, place egg whites, sugar, vanilla and lemon. Set over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk the mixture constantly until the egg whites are warm to the touch and the sugar is dissolved, 3 to 4 minutes.
Transfer the bowl to electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high, beat until the mixture is stiff and glossy peaks form (5 to 7 minutes).
Use immediately, as the marshmallow frosting will continue to stiffen

Sunday, March 7, 2010



250g of lean mince meat
1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of pepper
2 tablespoons of BBQ sauce
1 onion finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced

Combine well and roll into small balls. Place on an oil baking tray and bake for 10 -20 minutes until brown and crisp. Set Aside


1 onion finely chopped
3 tomatoes roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
2 cups of mushrooms chopped
a handful of fresh parsley and one of basil
a jar of roasted vegetable pasta sauce
Salt and pepper

Saute the onion, garlic and tomato in a thick based pot for around 30 minutes. This will eventually turn into a thick liquid. Once at that stage add the mushrooms salt and pepper. Continue until mushrooms are cooked then add parsley and sauce. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add meatballs and serve. Sprinkle with fresh basil and cheese.
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