Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fruit Cake

  • 1kg mixed dried fruit
  • 1/2 cup red glace cherries, halved
  • 1 cup pitted dried dates, finely chopped
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 200g butter, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange rind
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2/3 cup brandy
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 3/4 cups plain flour
  • 1/4 cup self-raising flour
  • 1/4 cup blanched whole almonds
  • warmed apricot jam, to serve
  1. Place dried fruit, cherries, dates, sugar, butter, orange rind, orange juice, mixed spice, bicarbonate of soda and 1/2 cup brandy in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 8 to 10 minutes or until sugar dissolves and butter melts. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer to a bowl. Cool completely.
  2. Preheat oven to 160°C/140°C fan-forced. Grease a 6cm-deep, 22cm (base) round cake pan. Line with 3 layers of baking paper, leaving a 5cm overhang
  3. Add egg to dried fruit mixture. Stir until just combined. Sift flour over mixture. Stir to combine. Spoon mixture into prepared pan. Smooth surface. Tap pan on bench top to settle mixture. Arrange almonds around edge of mixture. Bake for 3 hours to 3 hours 30 minutes, covering with foil after 2 hours, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Drizzle over remaining brandy. Wrap pan in foil, then in a tea towel. Cool completely. Brush cake top with jam. Serve.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Home-made Wagon Wheels

Recipe adapted from tartlette

For the cookies:
250 gms unsalted butter, softened
1 cup pure icing sugar, sifted
330 gms plain flour
1/4 cup cornflour
1 egg white, lightly beaten, for brushing

For the marshmallows:
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup glucose syrup
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tbsp powdered gelatin
2 tbsps cold water
2 egg whites, room temperature
2 tsps vanilla bean paste

For the chocolate glaze:
340 gms dark chocolate
vegetable oil

For the cookies, beat butter and icing sugar with an electric mixer until pale and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add flour and cornflour, stirring until a soft dough forms. Turn onto a lightly floured surface, knead until just smooth and form into a disc. Cover with glad wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 160C. Roll out shortbread on a lightly floured surface until 5mm thick. Cut 4.5cm diameter rounds and place on baking trays lined with baking paper. Refrigerate until firm, then prick cookies with a fork and brush lightly with egg white. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes until cookies are lightly golden, remove from oven and cool completely on trays before moving to a wire rack. Dollop a small amount of raspberry jam in the centre of each cookie (about 1/4 tsp).

In a medium saucepan, combine the water, glucose, and sugar, bring to a boil until it reaches soft-ball stage, or 115C on a candy thermometer. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let dissolve. Remove the syrup from the heat, add the gelatin, and mix. Whisk the whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form and pour the syrup into the whites. Add the vanilla bean paste and continue whipping until stiff. Transfer to a pastry bag. Pipe marshmallow onto each cookie, then allow to sit at room temperature for 1 - 2 hours. You want to marshmallow to begin to set, which will make it easier to coat in chocolate glaze. 

Melt the chocolate and 1/4 cup vegetable oil together in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Add more oil as needed until glaze is as runny as desired. Adding too much runs the risk of the glaze sliding off your marshmallow peaks, not to mention your chocolate tasting oily, so add gradually and with cautio. Allow to cool for 10 - 15 mins. 

Line a tray with baking paper. One at a time, gently drop the marshmallow-topped cookies into the warm chocolate glaze. Lift out with a fork and let excess chocolate drip back into the bowl. Place on the prepared trayand let set at room temperature until the coating is firm, about 1 to 2 hours. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Gingerbread House

3 Cups Sifted All Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
3 teaspoons Mixed Spice
8 Teaspoons Ginger
1 Cup Shortening
11/2  Cup Brown Sugar
1 1/2 Cups Unsulphered Molasses
2 Eggs

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

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.
Cool on a wire rack

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.

Roll out strips of fondant and use them to anchor the house to the board and to hold the pieces together, before finishing with royal icing, makes things so much easier.

Gluten and Suger Free Banana Bread

3 eggs, separated
5 tbsp honey
4 tbsp olive oil
2 mashed bananas
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups almond flour or finely grounded almonds

Preheat the oven to 170
Cream the egg yolks and honey in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
Add the oil, vanilla, mashed banana, cinnamon, baking soda and almond flour and combine well.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Fold egg whites into the banana mixture to pull it away from the sides before gradually folding the rest of the egg whites into the mixture. 
Line a loaf tin with coconut or almond oil and pour the banana mixture into this.
Place in the oven for 40-45 mins 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

White Christmas

  • 125g good-quality white chocolate
  • 1 cup puffed rice cereal
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup pistachio nuts, toasted, chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1/2 cup roughly-chopped white marshmallows

Place chocolate in a large, heatproof, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high (100%) for 1 to 2 minutes or until melted and smooth. Add cereal, coconut, nuts, cranberries and marshmallows to chocolate. Stir to combine. Spoon onto flat tray. Allow to set. Cut into squares and Serve.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Chocolate Fudge Bar

I started out making a Raw Brownie but I didn't really like the texture, so, I added:

1/2 cup of roughly chopped walnuts
1/4 of a cup of chia seads
3 egg whites

Bake  for 10 minutes at 180
Allow to cool completely and cut into squares

Monday, October 31, 2011

Meat Pie

  • 40ml (2 tbs) vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2kg beef mince
  • 8 tbs plain flour
  • 750ml (3 cups) beef stock
  • 8 tbs tomato puree
  • 100ml (5 tbs) Worcestershire sauce
  • 40ml (2 tbs) soy sauce
  • 2 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 4 sheets puff pastry
  • 4 sheets shortcrust pastry
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Tomato sauce, to serve

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring to prevent it from catching. Add the garlic and beef and cook for a further 15-20 minutes until the meat has completely browned. Stir in the flour, then add the stock, tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and dried herbs. Partially cover and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up any lumps. Set aside to cool completely. Preheat the oven to 190°C.

Cut each pastry sheet into four equal squares, then use the shortcrust pastry squares to line the base and sides of the tart pans (you may need to stretch the pastry slightly to make sure the inside of the pan is completely covered. Add the meat filling, then top with the puff pastry squares, pressing the edges well together. Use a sharp knife to trim any excess pastry, then use your thumb and forefinger to pinch the edges together to seal. Brush each pie with the egg and transfer to 2 large baking trays. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until cooked and golden. 
Serve with tomato sauce.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Smore Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes

125g dairy-free spread
100g dark eating chocolate
3/4 cup of soy milk
3/4 cup of caster sugar
1 1/2 cups of self-raising flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 eggs

Place 12 cupcake liners in a cupcake pan. Preheat oven to 180
Melt spread,chocolate, milk and sugar over a low heat, until smooth. Take off heat and, let mixture cool for 10 minutes. Whisk in flour and cocoa. Add eggs. It will be lumpy at first but keep whisking until smooth.
Fill each cupcake liner halfway and bake for around 25 minutes.  Allow to cool and ice.

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. Pipe onto cupcakes, and lightly toast with a blow torch. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chocolate Marshmallow Pie


225g plain flour
75g caster sugar
1 vanilla bean split, seeds scraped
100g chilled unsalted butter, chopped
1 egg

Shift flour, sugar and vanilla. Add butter and crumble with your fingers until it resembles bread crumbs. Add egg and knead gently until it forms a soft ball. Wrap and set aside in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Press into pie tin, line with backing paper and weights and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool.


2 cups of marshmallows
250g or dark chocolate
1/2 cup of cream

Melt together on a low heat, until thick and creamy. Pour into pie case, and chill. Serve.


2 sheets Reduced-Fat Puff Pastry
1 tablespoon olive oil
100g of bacon chopped
125g button mushrooms, sliced
2 small zucchini, grated
350g broccoli, cut into florets
2 green onions, thinly sliced
5 eggs
3/4 cup reduced-fat milk
1 1/4 cups grated reduced-fat cheese

Preheat oven to 200°C. Place a baking tray into oven.
Line a 3.5cm deep, 23cm (base) loose-base fluted quiche pan with pastry. Trim. Prick base with a fork. Place a sheet of baking paper over pastry. Half-fill with dried beans. Place pan onto hot tray. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove beans. Bake a further 10 minutes.

Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms. Cook for 4 minutes. Add remaining vegetables. Cook for 2 minutes. Cool.
Whisk eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Spread vegetable mixture over pastry. Sprinkle with cheese. Pour over egg mixture.

Reduce oven to 180°C. Return quiche to hot tray. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until set. Stand for 10 minutes. Serve.

Orange Almond Cake

Sourced from Food Safari

2 oranges
6 eggs
250g caster sugar
250g almond meal
1tsp baking powder
Extra caster sugar for dusting before baking
Icing sugar for dusting after baking
Margarine or oil spray (for greasing the pan)

Wash oranges and place unpeeled, in a pot of boiling water for 2 hours. Drain the water and allow the oranges to cool. This can be done ahead of time.

Preheat oven to 190°C.

Break 6 eggs into a mixing bowl or blender. Add caster sugar and beat or blend together.
Place the two oranges into the egg mix. Break up the oranges and then blend together to a smooth consistency. Add the almond meal and baking powder and blend.

Grease a 20 cm spring form baking pan with margarine (or vegetable oil spray) and dust with caster sugar.

Pour batter into the pan and sprinkle caster sugar on top and bake for 1 hour to an hour and a half or until the top is golden brown.

Dust with icing sugar to serve.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Hummingbird Cake

Hummingbird Cake

Olive oil, to grease
20g (1/3 cup) flaked coconut
265g (13/4 cups) self-raising flour
200g (1 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
45g (1/2 cup) desiccated coconut
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 x 440g can crushed pineapple in natural syrup
3 small ripe bananas, peeled, mashed
185ml (3/4 cup) extra light olive oil
2 eggs, lightly whisked
Cream cheese frosting
1 x 250g pkt cream cheese, at room temperature
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
450g (3 cups) icing sugar mixture
3 tsp milk

Preheat oven to 160°C. Brush a round 22cm (base measurement) cake pan with olive oil to grease. Line the base and side with non-stick baking paper. Spread the flaked coconut over a baking tray. Bake for 5-8 minutes or until toasted.
Combine the flour, sugar, desiccated coconut, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add the pineapple, banana, extra light olive oil and egg and stir until well combined. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake in oven, covering the cake with foil if it browns too quickly, for 1 hour 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside in the pan for 10 minutes to cool before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, to make the cream cheese frosting, use an electric beater to beat the cream cheese and butter in a bowl. Add the icing sugar and beat until well combined. Add milk and beat to combine.

Place the cake on a plate. Spread the cream cheese frosting over the top and side of the cake. Sprinkle with toasted flaked coconut and serve.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Stuffed Vegetables

Low fat, low GI, high in protein and gluten free, vegetables don't get better then this.

200g quinoa
300g lean lamb mince
4 large zucchini, halved lengthways
4 large tomatoes
6 green shallots, ends trimmed, thinly sliced
75g reduced-fat feta, crumbled
1 tbs finely chopped fresh mint
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Place the quinoa in a large heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water. Set aside for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain. Place the quinoa in a fine sieve and use the back of a spoon to squeeze out any excess moisture. Return to the bowl.
Heat a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add the mince and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up any lumps, for 6 minutes or until browned. Drain off any excess fat. Set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Use a teaspoon to remove the flesh from the zucchini, leaving a 1cm-thick border around the edges. Discard the flesh. Use a small sharp knife to cut tops from tomatoes and discard. Use a teaspoon to remove the flesh from the tomatoes, leaving a 1cm-thick border around the edges. Reserve the flesh. Place the tomato and zucchini shells on the lined tray.
Add the reserved tomato flesh, mince, shallot, feta, mint, lemon rind and cinnamon to the quinoa and stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
Spoon the quinoa mixture evenly among the tomato and zucchini shells. Bake for 35 minutes or until the zucchini and tomato shells are tender and the stuffing is golden. Serve.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge - Meringue Coffee Cake

The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection
and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake

Jamie found this recipe on a piece of yellowed paper in her dad’s collection of clipped
out and hand-written recipes from the 1970’s, no source, no date, and she tried the recipe and it was brilliant!

Makes 2 round coffee cakes, each approximately 10 inches in diameter
The recipe can easily be halved to make one round coffee cake
For the yeast coffee cake dough:
4 cups (600 g / 1.5 lbs.) flour
¼ cup (55 g / 2 oz.) sugar
¾ teaspoon (5 g / ¼ oz.) salt
1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons / 7 g / less than an ounce) active dried yeast
¾ cup (180 ml / 6 fl. oz.) whole milk
¼ cup (60 ml / 2 fl. oz. water (doesn’t matter what temperature)
½ cup (135 g / 4.75 oz.) unsalted butter

For the meringue:
3 large egg whites at room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup (110 g / 4 oz.) sugar

For the filling:
1 cup (110 g / 4 oz.) chopped pecans or walnuts
2 Tablespoons (30 g / 1 oz.) granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (170 g / 6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips or coarsely chopped chocolate

Prepare the dough:
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 ½ cups (230 g) of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast. In a saucepan, combine the milk, water and butter and heat over medium heat until warm and the butter is just melted. Take off heat. Gradually add the warm liquid to the flour/yeast mixture, beating until well blended. Beat 2 minutes. Add the eggs and 1 cup (150 g) flour and beat for 2 more minutes.

Using a wooden spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that holds together. Turn out onto a floured surface (use any of the 1 ½ cups of flour remaining) and knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth,
sexy and elastic, keeping the work surface floured and adding extra flour as needed.

Place the dough in a lightly greased (I use vegetable oil) bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise until double in bulk, 45 – 60 minutes.

Once the dough has doubled, make the meringue:
In a clean mixing bowl – ideally a plastic or metal bowl so the egg whites adhere to the side (they slip on glass) and you don’t end up with liquid remaining in the bottom – beat the egg whites with the salt, first on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase
to high and continue beating until foamy and opaque. Add the vanilla then start adding the ½ cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form.

Punch down the dough and divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, working one piece of the dough at a time (keep the other half of the dough wrapped in plastic), roll out the dough into a 20 x 10-inch (about 51 x 25 ½ cm) rectangle. Spread half of the
meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2-inch (3/4 cm) from the edges.

Sprinkle half of your filling of choice evenly over the meringue (ex: half of the cinnamon-sugar followed by half the chopped nuts and half of the chocolate chips/chopped chocolate).

Now, roll up the dough jellyroll style, from the long side. Pinch the seam closed to seal. Very carefully transfer the filled log to one of the lined cookie sheets, seam side down. Bring the ends of the log around and seal the ends together, forming a ring,
tucking one end into the other and pinching to seal.

Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife (although scissors are easier), make cuts along the outside edge at 1-inch (2 ½ cm) intervals. Make them as shallow or as deep as desired but don’t be afraid to cut deep into the ring.

Repeat with the remaining dough, meringue and fillings.

Cover the 2 coffee cakes with plastic wrap and allow them to rise again for 45 to 60 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Brush the tops of the coffee cakes with the egg wash. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until risen and golden
brown. The dough should sound hollow when tapped.

Remove from the oven and slide the parchment paper off the cookie sheets onto the table. Very gently loosen the coffee cakes from the paper with a large spatula and carefully slide the cakes off onto cooling racks. Allow to cool.

Just before serving, dust the tops of the coffee cakes with confectioner’s sugar as well as cocoa powder if using chocolate in the filling. These are best eaten fresh, the same day or the next day.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

February 2011 Daring Bakers - Panna Cotta and Florentine Cookies.

The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.

2/3 cup (160 ml) (150 gm) (5.3 oz) unsalted butter
2 cups (480 ml) (160 gm) (5 2/3 oz) quick oats
1 cup (240 ml) (230 gm) (8 oz) granulated sugar
2/3 cup (160 ml) (95 gm) (3⅓ oz) plain (all purpose) flour
1/4 cup (60 ml) dark corn syrup
1/4 cup (60 ml) whole milk
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1½ cups (360 ml) (250 gm) (9 oz) dark or milk chocolate

Preheat oven to moderately hot 375°F (190°C) (gas mark 5). Prepare your baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper.
1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan, then remove from the heat.
To the melted butter add oats, sugar, flour, corn syrup, milk, vanilla, and salt. Mix well.
Drop a tablespoon full, three inches (75 mm) apart, onto your prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly with the
back of your tablespoon, or use a spatula.
Bake in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Cool completely on the baking sheets.
While the cookies are cooling melt your chocolate until smooth either in the microwave (1 1/2 minutes), or
stovetop (in a double boiler, or a bowl that fits atop a saucepan filled with a bit of water, being sure the water
doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl).
Peel the cookies from the silpat or parchment and place face down on a wire rack set over a sheet of
wax/parchment paper (to keep counters clean).
Spread a tablespoon of chocolate on the bottom/flat side of your cookie, sandwiching another (flat end) cookie
atop the chocolate.

This recipe will make about 2 1/2 - 3 dozen sandwiched Florentine cookies. You can also choose not to sandwich yours, in
which case, drizzle the tops with chocolate (over your wax paper)

Panna Cotta

1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
1 tablespoon (one packet) (15 ml) (7 gm) (¼ oz) unflavored powdered gelatin
3 cups (720 ml) whipping cream (30+% butterfat)
1/3 cup (80 ml) honey
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) granulated sugar
pinch of salt


Pour the milk into a bowl or pot and sprinkle gelatin evenly and thinly over the milk (make sure the bowl/pot is cold by placing the bowl/pot in the refrigerator for a few minutes before you start making the Panna Cotta). Let stand for 5 minutes to soften the gelatin.
Pour the milk into the saucepan/pot and place over medium heat on the stove. Heat this mixture until it is hot, but not boiling, about five minutes. (I whisk it a few times at this stage).
Next, add the cream, honey, sugar, and pinch of salt. Making sure the mixture doesn't boil, continue to heat and stir occasionally until the sugar and honey have dissolved 5-7 minutes.
Remove from heat, allow it to sit for a few minutes to cool slightly. Then pour into the glass or ramekin.
Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. Add garnishes and serve.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Best Chocolate Cake Ever

120g dark eating chocolate chopped coarsely
1 & 1/3 cups of strong coffee
180g softened butter
2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
4 eggs
1 & 1/3 cups self-raising flour
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
2/3 cup of almond meal

Preheat oven to 170 line a cake tin with baking paper
Stir chocolate and the coffee in a saucepan over low heat until smooth. Beat butter, sugar and eggs in a bowl until light and fluffy. Stir in sifted flour and cocoa, almonds and warm chocolate mixture.
Pour into pan and bake for 45 minutes. Allow to cool before removing from tin.

Simple Cheesecake


250g butternut snaps biscuits
125g unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest

2 tsp powdered gelatine
250g cream cheese, softened
110g caster sugar
1 tbs lemon juice
300ml thickened cream

Grease an 11cmx34cm tart pan with removable base
Process biscuits in a food processor until the mixture resemble fine breadcrumbs. Add butter and lemon zest, process to combine. Press mixture firmly into pan. Refrigerate until needed.

Dissolve gelatine in 2 tbls of warm water, cool.
Beat cream cheese sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Beat in cream and then gelatine. Pour into shell, and refrigerate overnight to firm.
Top to taste

Pizza Dough

Pizza Dough

1 cup warm water
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp instant yeast
2 tbsp honey
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt

Combine the water, yeast and honey in a small bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes or until foamy. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the yeast mixture and oil. Use a round-bladed knife in a cutting motion to mix until the mixture is combined. Use your hands to bring the dough together in the bowl.
Brush a bowl lightly with oil. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in the prepared bowl and turn to coat in oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draught-free place to rise for 30 minutes or until dough doubles in size.

Monday, January 10, 2011


This month brought new meaning to the word 'challange'. We've had flooding, power outages, a cyclone and empty supermarket shelves. All of which made me dish a little simpler then I had planned, but just as tasty. It's been amazing watching everyones dishes, and I'm glad for the most part, all my fellow daring cooks, enjoyed trying a new dish.

Happy New Years Daring Cooks! I’m Lisa from Blueberry Girl and I am delighted to be hosting the February Challenge.

It took me forever to decide on what dish to choose. My nearest and dearest kept urging me to choose something that reflected my background and influences, but that was the problem. I’m what’s known as a ‘Third-Culture-Kid’. I was born in Malaysia, grew up half in Australia with a foster family who introduced me to Indian food, and my Mum with a Scottish/ English background and half with my Dad in Japan. Throw in teenage years in South America, and my ‘background’ was becoming very confused. So I’ve chosen a dish that brings back memories of summer afternoons in Japan, a dish I love. It’s simple, flavorful with endless varieties, its fun, its food to share, and it’s a little bit from everywhere.

Your best preparation for this challenge is to watch this very entertaining video

Soba is a type of thin Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour. It is served either chilled with a dipping sauce, or in hot broth as a noodle soup. It takes three months for buckwheat to be ready for harvest, so it can be harvested four times a year, mainly in spring, summer, and autumn

Hiyashi Soba is a popular dish in summer. It's like a noodle salad. Restaurants in Japan serve hiyashi soba only in summer. Even if you don't have much appetite because of the heat, hiyashi soba can be appetizing. Common hiyashi soba toppings are omelette strips, ham, cucumber and grated dikon. You can also have the noodles just with the dipping sauce.

Tempura is a Japanese dish of seafood or vegetables that have been battered and deep fried. A light batter is made of cold water (sometimes sparkling water is used to keep the batter light and soft wheat flour (cake, pastry or all-purpose flour). Eggs, baking soda or baking powder, starch, oil, and/or spices may also be added.

Recipe Source: I’ve had many different versions of this dish so I’ve combined a few different recipes from around the WWW. Most notably:, http://www.justhungry.coml,, and my Japanese Stepmother.

Blog-checking lines: [To be provided by Lis/Ivonne every month.]

Posting Date: [February 14, 2011]

Note: The most important thing is not to over cook your noodles, or you will end up with a gelatinous mass. Have a bowl of cold water and ice standing by, and once you have drained and rinsed your soba place it in the water. The great thing is once that’s done you can leave it in the fridge for up to a couple of hours and it will still be nice and fresh. Take your time and complete each step all of these items work well prepared before hand, so don’t rush.

Tempura batter is traditionally mixed in small batches using chopsticks for only a few seconds, leaving lumps in the mixture that, along with the cold batter temperature, result in the unique fluffy and crisp tempura structure when cooked. The batter is often kept cold by adding ice, or by placing the bowl inside a larger bowl with ice in it. Over-mixing the batter will result in activation of wheat gluten, which causes the flour mixture to become chewy and dough-like when fried.

Mandatory Items:

As long as some form of Tempura and a cold noodle salad is made feel free to shine. Please respect Japanese cooking/eating by keeping your food, clean, fresh and simple. If anyone wants to be especially challenged feel free to make your own noodles.

Variations allowed: The great thing about this dish is it allows for so many variations. Vegans and Vegetarians just omit any of the meat toppings and let the vegetables shine. Gluten free cooks, if you can get traditional Soba noodles they should be wheat free. If not here is a great link to make your own. The Tempura works great with a standard gluten free flour, if you’re making your own, aim for the lightest possibly flour (ie: corn flour).

Preparation time:

10 Minutes for the sauce
10 Minutes for the noodles
30 Minutes for Vegetable Preparation
5 Minutes to Serve

Depending on you, I can make this meal, from walking in the door after work to sitting down to eat in under 30 minutes, so it should be pretty quick.

20 minutes vegetable preparation
10 minutes making the batter
30 minutes frying time

Again it depends how much your making and what equipment your using.

Equipment required:
• A Saucepan
• A colander
• A large Bowl
• A Knife
• A chopping Board
• A Deep pan for frying
• Small tongs or Chopsticks
• Wire rack for draining

Hiyashi Soba

Recipe from and globetrotterdiaries

Mentsuyu (Traditional Dipping Sauce)

2 cups konbu and katsuobushi dashi (This can be bought in many forms from most Asian stores and you can make your own. Click here for how.)
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup mirin


Put mirin in a sauce pan and heat gently. Add soy sauce and dashi soup stock in the pan and bring to a boil. Take off the heat and cool. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Spicy Dipping Sauce


70g/2½oz spring onion finely chopped
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon English mustard powder
1 tablespoon grape-seed oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Shake all the ingredients together in a jam jar. Once the salt has dissolved, add and shake in 2 tablespoons of water and season again if needed.

Cooking the Soba Noodles

Boil water in a large pot. Add dried soba noodles in the boiling water, gently stirring noodles with chopsticks. Turn down the heat to medium. Boil soba noodles, following the package instructions. It usually takes a couple minutes to boil soba. If it's necessary, add a little bit of cold water in the pot to prevent overflowing. Drain soba and cool the noodles in cold water. Gently wash noodles with hands under running water until the noodles have cooled, drain well place in a bowl of cold water and ice standing and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Common Hiyashi Soba Toppings:

Thin omelette strips
Boiled chicken breasts
Boiled bean sprouts
Toasted nori (Dried Seaweed)
Green onions
Wasabi powder
Finely grated daikon (Japanese radish)
Beni shoga (Pickled Ginger)

All toppings should be julienne, finely diced or grated. Prepare and refrigerate covered until needed.


Traditionally soba is served on a bamboo basket tray, but if you don’t have these, you can simply serve them on a plate or in a bowl. Divide up the noodles, laying them on your serving dishes. Sprinkle each with 1/4 of the nori. In small side bowl or cup, place 1/2 cup of dipping sauce into each. In separate small side dishes, serve each person a small amount of wasabi, grated daikon, and green onions.

The noodles are eaten by sprinkling the desired garnishes into the dipping sauce and eating the noodles by first dipping them into the sauce. Feel free to slurp away! Oishii!


Recipe from pinkbites and itsybitsyfoodies

1 egg yolk
1 cup iced water
half a cup of plain flour
half a cup of cornflour
½ teaspoon baking powder

Vegetables and seafood of your choice ie:

Sweet potato, peeled, thinly sliced, blanched
Carrot, peeled, thinly sliced diagonally
Pumpkin, peeled, seeds removed, thinly sliced blanched
Green beans, trimmed
Green capsicum, seeds removed, cut into 2cm-wide strips
Assorted mushrooms
Eggplant cut into strips (traditionally it’s fanned)
Onions sliced


Lightly beat the egg yolk and pour in iced water gradually in a mixing bowl, stirring (preferably with chopsticks) and blending well. Add flour and baking powder all at once, stroke a few times with chopsticks until the ingredients are loosely combined. The batter should be runny and lumpy.

Place the bowl of batter in an ice water bath to keep it cold while you are frying the tempura. The batter as well as the vegetables and seafood have to be very cold. The temperature shock between the hot oil and the cold veggies helps create a crispy tempura.

Heat the oil in a large pan or a wok. For vegetables, the oil should be 320 degrees; for seafood it should be 340 degrees. It is more difficult to maintain a steady temperature and produce consistent tempura if you don’t have a thermometer, but it can be done. You can test the oil by dropping a piece of batter into the hot oil. If it sinks a little bit and then immediately rises to the top, the oil is ready.

Start with the vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, that won’t leave a strong odour in the oil. Dip them in a shallow bowl of flour to lightly coat them and then dip them into the batter. Slide them into the hot oil, deep frying only a couple of pieces at a time so that the temperature of the oil does not drop.
The Tempura is finished when the outside is light brown and crispy.

Place finished tempura pieces on a wire rack so that excess oil can drip off. Continue frying the other items, frequently scooping out any bits of batter to keep the oil clean and prevent the oil (and the remaining tempura) from getting a burned flavor.

Serve immediately for the best flavor, but they can also be eaten cold.

Additional Information:

Great instructions on preparing the noodles

How to make Tempura Soba


Someone who did it well

A collection of videos on how to prepare the vegetables for Tempura


*Note: The Daring Kitchen and its members in no way suggest we are medical professionals and therefore are NOT responsible for any error in reporting of gluten-free ingredients. If you have issues with digesting gluten, then it is YOUR responsibility to research the ingredient before using it. If you have allergies, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are lactose intolerant, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are vegetarian or vegan, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. Please consult your physician with any questions before using a product you are not familiar with. Thank you! :)
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