Monthly Archives: April 2013

 bagels

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My Brother-in-law and his family lived in America for two years, and when he returned, he said one of the things that they missed most was a good bagel. Unfortunately here in Australia a decent bagel can be a little hard to find, so he set about making his own. On one of his visits to our place (brother-in-law and family live in canberra and we are in Adelaide) he showed me some photos of the bagels he had been making. Well that got my  baking “mojo” going, I have always loved bagels and I love trying new things in the kitchen, although I must say I haven’t always been successful with bread making. But I say never let a few failures stop you, learn from your errors and try again 🙂 So I set out on my endeavour to make bagels.

Now I can say that with complete surprise and amazement my first attempt was a complete SUCCESS 🙂 (I was doing a little celebration dance around the kitchen like you do! don’t you ?) The family loved them. Bagels for breakfast yum yum yum, we had bagels with smoked salmon poached eggs and hollandaise sauce, bagels with cream cheese banana maple syrup and walnuts, bagels with just cream cheese, bagels with honey, the list goes on and on. Heaven forbid when we ran out of bagels. I have been making bagels for a good year now and when I do I make a double batch. I like to do a mixture of different kinds, sometimes I add cinnamon other times I add dried fruits really you can add what ever you like. With a little bit of experimenting I have found that it is best to add your extra flavours in when you a shaping them.Image

RECIPE:

  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 11/2 Tsp of granulated sugar
  • 11/4 cups warm water
  • 31/2 cups (500g) of good quality bread flour
  • 11/2 tsp salt

METHOD:

  1. In 1/2 cup of warm water sprinkle in yeast and sugar, do not stir. Let sit for 5 minutes, then stir until it all dissolves in the water
  2. Mix flour and salt in a large mixing bowl, make a well in the centre and pour in yeast mixture.
  3. Pour half of the remaining warm water into the well and mix add the remaining water as needed, you may need to add extra water depending on where you live and the weather. You want to result in a moist and firm dough .You can do this by hand or alternatively in a mixer with a dough hook attachment.
  4. On a floured bench top, knead dough for 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Try working as much flour in as possible to form a firm and stiff dough.
  5. Lightly brush a large bowl with oil and turn the dough to coat, cover bowl with a damp dish towel. Let rise for 1 hour, until dough has doubled in size. Punch the dough down , and let it rest for another 10 minutes.
  6. Carefully divide dough into 8 pieces ( I use a scale so they are all the same size). Shape each piece into a round . Now take a dough ball, and press it gently on the bench top moving your hand and the ball in circular motion to make a perfect dough ball
  7. coat finger in flour, and gently press your finger into the centre of the ball to form a ring stretch to ring out to about a 1/3 the diameter of the bagel place on a lightly oiled baking tray.
  8. After shaping balls cover with a damp dish towel and allow to rise for 10 minutes. Meanwhile , preheat your oven to, 220º( I  found 200º worked better in my oven)Image
  9. Bring a large pot of water to the boil, reduce heat. using a slotted spoon lower bagels into the water. Once bagels are in it shouldn’t take long for them to float to the top. Let sit for 1 to 3 minutes ( the longer you leave them the chewier your bagel will be.
  10. If you want to top your bagels with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, caraway seeds any topping of your choice really, do so as you take them out of the water.
  11. Once all your bagels have been boiled and topped with your choice of topping, transfer them to a lightly oiled baking tray.
  12. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown.
  13. Cool on a wire rack

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I found this to be a fairly easy, simple to read and follow recipe, for a not so experienced baker like myself. There are many different recipes out there ,some using molasses in their ingredients, which I’m still to try. I also found that there are several different ways to roll a bagel; I’ve included the one that works best for me, but have a play around with it and you will find something different might work better for you. I would love to know how you go with you bagel making, or if your experienced and have some useful tips, drop me a comment I would love to hear from you. HAPPY BAKING 🙂

This recipe is taken from http://www.sophisticatedgourmet.com

YET ANOTHER PERSIMMON RECIPE: persimmon cheesecake with a walnut crust

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I know your probably thinking not another persimmon recipe!!!!!!! Just let me say that when my friend brought me over three buckets of this gorgeous fruit they were very large buckets.  I have been making persimmon recipe after persimmon recipe, which is ok because my family all love persimmons.

Because the variety of persimmons I have, they are the astringent type (which means they have a high tannin content, making immature fruit bitter and leaving a puckered furry taste/feeling in mouth) I’m a little limited in the recipes I can make, they are all desert types as the fruit needs to be extremely ripe and soft. The fruit when ripe has a waxy thin skinned shell with a thick jelly like pulp inside it is sweet and delicious.

And as far as desserts go cheesecake has to be up there at the top. A rich smooth creamy cake so versatile in flavours your limited only by your imagination.

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I’ve gone for a baked cheesecake for this recipe, as I actually prefer them, this recipe is based off the traditional new york cheesecake . The texture of this persimmon cheesecake is smooth and creamy and not too sweet, the sour cream topping adding the final touch and balance to this delicious dessert.

RECIPE:

  • 2 cups chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tsp melted butter
  • 2 cups pureed persimmons
  • 750g cream cheese
  • 11/4 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 sour cream
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 6 eggs
  • 11/4 cups sour cream
  • 3 Tsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 170º
  2. Pulse walnuts in a food processor until fine, then mix together in a bowl with brown sugar and melted butter
  3. Press in mixture into into the bottom of a 20cm spring form pan
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes set aside to cool completely
  5. Combine persimmons, cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, cinnamon,and ginger in food processor, blend until smooth
  6. Add eggs 1 at a time mixing well between each addition
  7. pour mixture over cooled crust
  8. bake in preheated oven until mostly set centre still being slightly jiggly, 60 – 75 minutes
  9. While cheesecake is baking, whisk together sour cream, sugar and vanilla
  10. spread evenly over cheesecake while still hot and return to oven for another 10 minutes
  11. Allow to cool completely, then cover loosely with aluminium foil and refrigerate 4 to 8 hours or overnight before serving

To serve I decorated with walnuts and fresh persimmon puree.

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recipe source; allrecipes.com.au

Treat yourself to a little decadence; Chocolate Banoffee Pie

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If you are in the mood for something rich sweet and decadent then these little pies are for you. A take on the traditional Banoffee pie, this decadent desert has a crumbly chocolate and pecan biscuit base, filled with a dulce de leche  and banana filling, topped with a light delicate meringue. I make my own dulce de leche (a South American Carmel) and it is so easy. It takes just a little time but it’s well worth it. I found a great recipe for both the traditional method and also the quick method (using condensed milk) on this blog http://www.laylita.com/recipes. I used the quick method for my recipe, as did the creator of the banoffee pie (Ian Dowding, chef at The Hungry Monk restaurant in East Sussex,where he created this desert in 1972).

So if you feel like blowing off the calories for a day and spoiling yourself then give this sweet treat a go. 🙂

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RECIPE:

  • 190G plain chocolate biscuits ( I used chocolate ripple by arrnotts)
  • 90g pecans
  • 75g unsalted melted butter
  • 1 large or 2 small mashed bananas
  • 6 Tsp thickened cream
  • 150ml dulce de leche
  • cocoa powder to dust

MERINGUE:

METHOD:

  1. Lightly grease 6 small round loose bottomed tart pans
  2. Place biscuits and pecans in food processor and pulse until resembles fine bread crumbs
  3. Add butter and and mix to combine
  4. Press firmly in the base and sides of tart pans
  5. chill for 15 minutes or until firm
  6. preheat oven to 180º
  7. Place banana, cream, dulce de leche  and a pinch of salt flakes in a bowl and stir till well combined
  8. Spread filling in pie shells and bake for 15 minutes, remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes, reduce oven to 150º

FOR MERINGUE:

  1. whisk egg whites with electric beater until frothy
  2. whisking continuously on high speed gradually add sugar, whisk to stiff peaks
  3. Add cream of tartar and vinegar, and whisk until just combined
  4. Place meringue into a piping bag fitted with a small star shaped nozzle
  5. Pipe over pies
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes until meringue is golden
  7. Cool pies completely in pans, remove dust with cocoa and serve

Adapted from the original recipe of Katie Quinn Davies

ANZAC DAY: and the tradition of the ANZAC biscuit; Lest we Forget

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Anzac Day, the 25th of April is one of Australia‘s most Important occasions. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during World War I. Australian and New Zealand forces landed in Gallipoli on the 25th April 1915, where they battled Turkey for eight long months. Both sides suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. Over 8000 Australian soldiers were killed during this time. Anzac day has become a day where we as Australians and New Zealanders remember the sacrifices of those brave men who fought and died for our country in war; LEST WE FORGET.

ANZAC biscuits today are a derivative of the biscuits that Women on the home-front sent to our men in care packages during the war. ANZAC biscuits have become and iconic tradition and a reminder of the ANZAC legacy and a recipe passed down through the generations, a symbol and a reminder of our great brave men who fought for our country; WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Today is a very important day, a day of remembrance and thanks a day to pass down to younger generations, what our great men and women scarficed for our country and our freedom.

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RECIPE:

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup golden syrup
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 1 Tsp boiling water

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180º
  2. Line 2 biscuits trays with baking paper
  3. Sift flour and sugar into a bowl, add oats and coconut
  4. Combine butter and golden syrup in a small pan, sir over low heat until butter has melted and mixture is smooth remove from heat
  5. Dissolve bicarbonate soda in boiling water; add immediately to butter mixture
  6. Add butter mixture to dry ingredients, using a wooden spoon stir until well combined
  7. roll heaped tablespoons of mixture into balls, place on baking tray and flatten gently, allowing room for spreading
  8. Bake for 20 minutes  or until golden
  9. remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool

Persimmon spice cake

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I’m back with another delicious persimmon recipe 🙂

This is such a gorgeous fruit and so beautiful to photograph, we are having some stunning Autumn weather  here in Adelaide at the moment so I’ve taken the opportunity to go outside and  take photos of this pretty fruit in my garden. Photographing this exotic fruit is almost as fun as cooking with it.

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I really like the flavour in this cake, but I would be more inclined to call it a loaf. It very much reminds me texture wise of a date loaf, (one of my all time favourites).The kids have been having it for dessert served with my persimmon ice cream, but my favourite way to eat is slightly warmed or toasted and spread with butter YUM!!!!. I found this recipe on-line in my of my many google searches ( I don’t know how I survived before google:-p).The flavours just called to me, pairing persimmon with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and a dash of orange and lemon zest, a match made in heaven.

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RECIPE:

  • 1 1/4 cup persimmon pulp
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 125g softened butter
  • 220g white sugar
  • 250 plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar for dusting

METHOD:

  1. preheat oven to 180ºC
  2. blend persimmon pulp in food processor or blender until smooth 
  3. combine persimmon pulp and bi-carb soda in a small bowl
  4. in a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy
  5. then add persimmon puree to mixture
  6. sift flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves separately
  7. gradually blend the flour mixture into the persimmon mixture
  8. once flour mix has been combined fold through pecan nuts and zest, mixture will be quite stiff
  9. spoon into a greased and lined 20cm cake tin ( i used to smaller loaf tins)
  10. bake for 40-45 minutes, or until skewer comes out clean
  11. cool cake in tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack to continue cooling for another 20-30 minutes
  12. sprinkle with icing sugar and serve warm

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Sticky lime & ginger chicken

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You know those recipes that you continually go back to, the tried and tested ones that please everyone in the family, well  this delicious little gem of a dish has been added to our Family favourites list.

This meal is fast, healthy and full of flavour. I love the limes in this dish and since my Lime tree is fruiting its a perfect match (I’m so excited  about my Lime tree giving its first fruit, as it is two years old and this little tree had a hard start in life). I’m pretty good in the garden and can grow most things but citrus trees and I don’t get along so well. This is my third attempt at growing a lime tree and I had all but given up, I gave it a massive trimming and left it, I completely ignored it, then one day when I was in the back garden I saw that it had little baby shoots on it. Now I didn’t get to excited about this as it has happened before and they all died and fell of :-(. But this lime tree is a survivor and I am very much enjoying my small but home grown crop.

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I used Pak choy as my vegetable in this recipe but really you could use any asian green you fancy. The original recipe asked for gai larn but I couldn’t get my hands on it that day so pak choy it was, I also think it would be nice with a melody of vegetables.

RECIPE:

  • 1/2 Cup (80ml) honey
  • 2 tablespoons  oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 5cm piece (25g) fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1/4 cup (60ml water)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 8x125g chicken thigh fillets, trimmed and cut into strips
  • 1 lime thinly sliced
  • 600g asian green of your choice, chopped and blanced
  • shredded green onion and steamed rice to serve

METHOD:

  1. Place honey, oyster sauce, lime juice, ginger, garlic and water in a bowl, mix to combine then set aside
  2. Heat oil in a wok over high heat, add chicken and cook in batches , for 6 minutes or until cooked through
  3. Add honey mixture and lime bring to the boil, cook 2-4 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  4. Arrange asian green onto a plate and top with chicken and green onion
  5. spoon over pan sauce and serve with rice

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Original recipe is from Donna Hay.

PERSIMMONS = Smoothie time

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My very good friend recently turned up to my house with three very large buckets of freshly picked persimmons. Yum!! my mind immediately starts ticking over, persimmon recipes what can I make with these little gems. Persimmons are such a gorgeous exotic fruit, with their sweet jelly like middle, they are also rich in vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidents. They are also low in calories and a rich source of dietary fibre. There are quite a few things you can make with them and trust me there will be more persimmon blogs to follow :-).

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One of the first things I thought of to make was fruit smoothies. Smoothies are very popular in my house and the kids often have one for afternoon tea, they are wholesome, healthy and filling perfect for those hungry bellies. I made up two different fruit combinations the first being persimmon, banana and cinnamon made on almond milk , the other persimmon orange and coconut which was a much lighter combination and my favourite of the two.

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PERSIMMON, BANANA & CINNAMON

  • Pulp of 3-4 persimmons
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons honey ( you can add more or less depending how sweet you want it)
  • a pinch cinnamon
  • handfull crushed ice (optional)
  1. Place all ingredients into a blender and process until smooth

PERSIMMON, ORANGE & COCONUT

  • pulp of 3-4 Persimmon
  • juice 1 orange
  • 125ml coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey ( you can add more or less depending on how sweet you want it)
  • pinch cardamon
  • handfull crushed ice (optional)
  1. Place all ingredients in blender and process until smooth.