Monthly Archives: July 2013

Roast pumpkin and goats curd tart

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It has been a busy week. I have just finished my first week at tafe, for those of you who don’t know I am doing a certificate III in patisserie. A very big change going from a full-time stay at home mum for the last 14 years to a now full-time student, but I am loving it 🙂 this week we put our attention to pastry, puff, short, and sweet. I know sounds basic and pastry making is if you follow a few simple rules, but there is still so much to learn. I learnt how the gluten works, the best ways to roll the dough to prevent shrinkage, the different functions of different flours and so much more.

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Since I have been learning about pastry, I have taken home my new knowledge and made a rough puff pastry for the base of this delicious Roast pumpkin and goats curd tart. I found this delicious recipe in my Gourmet traveller annual cookbook from 2012, and having bought 3 gorgeous butternut pumpkins straight from the farmer on the way home from Canberra, this delicious tart just had to be made :-).

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There is a little bit of work involved in making the pastry but it is most definitely worth it. You can make the pastry well ahead of time, as it will keep well in the fridge for a good week or more, or alternatively you can freeze it for up to 3months.

This tart is delicious for dinner, and works perfectly as a packed lunch, hell its even great for a snack.

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RECIPE:

  • 750g pumpkin
  • 50ml olive oil
  • 6 thyme sprigs, plus extra to serve
  • 150 goats curd, coursely crumbled
  •  40g butter
  • 3 leeks, white part only thinly sliced
  • 150 dry white wine
  • 1 egg lightly beaten , for egg wash

Parmesan rough puff pastry

  • 225g plain flour
  • 40g finely grated parmesan
  • 1 Tsp thyme leaves
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 225g butter, coarsely chopped

METHOD:

  1. for the pastry, sift flour and a pinch of salt onto a work surface, add parmesan, thyme and fennel seeds, mix to combine
  2. add butter, cutting it through with a pastry scraper, until mixture resembles very coarse crumbs
  3. make a well in centre, add 100ml cold water and mix with pastry scraper until dough just comes together form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest about 20 minutes
  4. roll onto a lightly floured surface to a 1.5cm-thick rectangle, fold shortest ends together to meet in centre, then fold in half again to form a book fold.
  5. wrap in plastic wrap, refrigerate (20 minutes) to rest, then repeat twice. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until required
  6. meanwhile, preheat oven to 180ºC
  7. scatter pumpkin in a single layer on an oven tray lined with baking paper, drizzle with olive oil, scatter with thyme leaves, season to taste and roast until just tender (30-35 minutes) set aside to cool
  8. heat butter in a large frying pan over medium heat, add leek, stir occasionally until tender (10-12 minutes)
  9. add wine, stir occasionally until evaporated, season to taste, set aside to cool
  10. roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface to 5mm thick
  11. cut a 25cm diameter circle, place on an oven tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate to rest (30minutes) \score a 1cm border halfway through the pastry, prick inside border with a fork
  12. spread leek mixture onto pastry leaving the 1cm border clear, scatter with pumpkin, crumble over goats curd, season to taste
  13. roll edges slightly to contain filing,brush with egg wash and bake until golden and cooked through (25-30 minutes),cool scatter with extra thyme and serve with a bitter leaf salad
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Cabbage Rolls (Golabki) and a family reunion

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I have just recently made contact with my Nanna after 27 years, the last time I saw her I was 10 years old…..I know a long long time. Seeing my Nanna after so many years was both exciting and nerve racking, so many emotions rushing through me. Hubby and kids came with me, I proudly got to introduce her to her great grandchildren and my fabulous hubby, so many years of lost contact, but still we are family, and there is something very special about family. Family is something you belong to, part of who you are, where you have come from and it gives you a sense of worth. It is nice to know you belong somewhere, are a part of something.

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My Nanna is an immigrant from Germany and she told us her story of coming to Australia with my Pop who sadly passed away 5 years ago. She told us some lovely stories, one I especially loved was about her and my pop (who is Polish) meeting  during the war, a real love story. She is a sweet, lovely, kind strong and independent woman and at the amazing age of 90 still living on her own.

I have some early childhood memories of my Nanna, I remember Mum taking my sister and I to her cute little cottage to see her and Pop. Every time we visited my Nanna would always make Cabbage rolls, potato salad and cucumber salad, I loved it and it was one of my favourite meals and nobody could make it like Nanna.IMG_1350

After seeing my Nanna I of course had to make Cabbage Rolls, now unfortunately I do not have her recipe, and although it was not exactly the same it was still delicious.

I find it amazing how foods, tastes and smells can bring back memories and feelings. When I was eating this meal if I closed my eyes I could see myself sitting at her kitchen table, I could hear the chatter between my mum and Nanna, the chickens clucking outside, I can see my pop in his overalls sitting opposite me calling me his little munchkin. Nice memories they bring a smile to my face and warm my heart.

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So having shared all this with I will now share my cabbage rolls, which I have adapted from several different recipes on the internet.

RECIPE:

  • 1 large savoy cabbage
  • 1/4 cup rice
  • 1 Tsp oil
  • 11/2 Tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme, leaves removed from stems and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 250g pork mince
  • 250g beef mince
  • 1 bottle passata
  • 1 tsp hot paprika (optional)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed

METHOD:

  1. bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil over medium high heat
  2. add cabbage and simmer for 5 minutes, then turn cabbage over and simmer for another 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit for 10 minutes, using a slotted spoon carefully remove cabbage from saucepan and let cool
  3. heat oil in fry pan over medium-low heat gently sauté onion, once onion is soft add garlic,sauté for 1-2 minutes
  4. add paprika, thyme, rice, pork and beef mince ,using a wooden spoon breaking up the lumps as you go cook until mince is brown
  5. season to taste with salt and pepper
  6. gently remove leaves from the cabbage
  7. place 1 leaf on work bench, using a sharp knife remove the thickest part of the stem
  8. place 1-2 Tsp of mince mixture onto cabbage leaf, fold in ends and roll up firmly to enclose filling, repeat with remaining leaves
  9. heat oil in a large saucepan add garlic and paprikas and sauté for 1-2 minutes
  10. add passata, stir to combine and season to taste
  11. gently place cabbage rolls in sauce seam side down, cover with lid and simmer gently for 40 minutes, checking occasionally making sure sauce is not sticking

 

Espresso cupcakes with Mocha cream cheese icing

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Have you ever had one of those days? well yesterday was one of those days for me!!!!!!!!!

We were invited up to my sisters for dinner, and since we were away on her birthday I decided to take up some cupcakes for a belated Happy Birthday. Well the cupcake making went along fine, I was really happy with these espresso cupcakes, if you love coffee then you will definitely like these coffee flavoured cupcakes. The icing also went along smoothly, cream cheese mocha icing yum yum yum. I swear I could just sit up and eat a bowl of it on it’s own, sure I would probably feel sick and blah but my gosh this is a yummy icing.

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Photograph time, now here is where it all begins to go to S#*#. The weather is pretty ordinary, the sky is grey the wind is blowing and all in all it’s pretty crap for an outside photo shoot, and I really wanted to take photos of these babies as they really are delish……..So I just had to suck it up and manage with the ordinary lighting situation inside. I set up inside to take my photos, I wasn’t very happy with them so I may or may not of started to get a little GRUMPY ( just a little). My oldest son Aden came over to give me a hand and started moving the cakes around saying you should photograph them like this mum and then SPLAT!!!!! two cakes take a dive from the table and land upside down S#*#!!!!! (I may have started yelling……). Then as I am picking up my SPLATTED cakes my backing board falls forward, falls where you might ask well of course it falls straight on top of my remaining cupcakes. I may or may not of swore?

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Now you might think oh well thats not too bad, but the story doesn’t end there. Driving up to my sisters I’m carefully nursing the cupcakes on my knee, when hubby brakes it’s like a slow motion scene from the Matrix, cupcakes go catapulting everywhere…. there is now mocha cream cheese icing all over the dash board the gear stick, my jeans and of course upside down cupcakes sitting on my beautiful lime green handmade handbag. Laugh or cry????? I resurrected the cupcakes as best I could and continued holding them for the remainder of the trip.

But wait there is more, yes more…………. standing on the front porch at my sisters house I begin to tell her why her cupcakes are looking rather mangled and sad:-( when SPLAT another cupcake falls from the cake plate and lands upside down on her front porch…………I scrape up the cake, walk inside dump the cake plate which is holding what can only be explained as a cake massacre onto the kitchen bench, I then proceed to pour myself a generous glass of red wine. Now let us never speak of this again….

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RECIPE: Cupcakes

  • 100g butter, softened
  • 1 cup (220g)caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 11/4 cups (190g) plain flour, sifted
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup (30g) hazelnut meal
  • 11/2 tsp instant coffee, dissolved in 1 Tsp boiling water

METHOD:

  1. preheat oven to 160ºC
  2. place butter, eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder, hazelnut meal, and coffee mixture into a bowl
  3. combine using an electric mixer on low speed, then increase speed to high until just smooth
  4. spoon into muffin tray and bake for 25 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.

RECIPE Cream cheese mocha icing

  • 250g block cream cheese, softened
  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 1 Tsp instant coffee
  • 2 Tsp cocoa powder
  • 100g melted dark chocolate

METHOD:

  1. combine butter and cream cheese in electric mixer until smooth and combined
  2. add icing sugar,cocoa and coffee, mix to combine
  3. stir in melted chocolate, then refrigerate until ready to use

Espresso cakes are a Donna Hay recipe from the cookbook, Donna Hay simple essentials chocolate

Mocha cream cheese icing is a In Proscuitto of perfection original recipe

Peanut butter chocolate slice

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So I have had an amazing start to this week, and that is the reason it has been a little while since I have written a post. We are away on a family holiday and although I had great intentions of keeping up with my blogging, family and fun have just taken up all my time. We have been staying in Canberra catching up with family, the kids are having a great time with their cousins and I love seeing them all together it is so nice. We then all headed off to the snow and spent two nights in Jindabyne which is only a short drive to Perisher were the kids had a great time tobogganing.

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But the title of this post is not My Family Holiday, its Peanut butter chocolate slice. I made this slice just before we left to go on holidays and to quote the kids “mum this is the best slice EVA”. Now I’m not sure if it is the best slice ‘EVA’ but it really is pretty darn good.

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The bottom of the slice is very much like a chocolate brownie and the peanut butter topping is perfect. I will be honest and say that I didn’t quite know what to expect with this slice but the combination of the peanut butter icing sugar and lemon really works. It is not too peanut buttery, not too sweet its just right and the slice in all is perfectly balanced and yummy. I will definitely been making this slice again YUM YUM YUM…..:-)

RECIPE:

  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups smooth peanut butter
  • 1¼ cups icing mixture
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 200g milk chocolate
  • ¼ cup toasted peanuts, chopped

METHOD:

1 Preheat oven to 160°C. Combine the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring until just melted. Add the eggs and sugar and beat until smooth. Sift in the cocoa and flour, then spoon into a lined 20cm square cake tin and bake fro 40 minutes, until just set. Cool in the tin.
2 Combine the peanut butter, icing mixture and lemon juice in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour over the cooled chocolate slice, then refrigerate for 2 hours, until set.
3 Melt the milk chocolate gently and spread over the peanut butter layer. Sprinkle with chopped peanut, refrigerate for 1 hour, then cut into bars and serve.

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This is a Fast Ed recipe :http://www.fast-ed.com.au/peanut-butter-slice/

Chilli Chocolate Brownies

IMG_1295What is a Brownie, a Cake?, a Slice?, a Biscuit?

Well after a little research I discovered that the Brownie is a cross between a cake and a biscuit.

One of and the most popular myths to the creation of the Brownie is that a housewife did not have baking powder and improvised with this new treat. It was said that she was baking for guests and decided to serve these flattened cakes to them. This became our beloved treat of today.

Brownie [ˈbraʊnɪ

a square piece of dense, chewy cake, usu. chocolate with nuts.

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If you read my post white chocolate and macadamia nut brownies I commented on how I don’t make Brownies often enough, well that has changed and playing around a little I came up with this recipe for Chilli Chocolate Brownies. I warmed these brownies up and served them for dessert with my Avocado ice-cream, the chilled creaminess of the avocado ice-cream work amazingly with hit of the chilli in these brownies.

I think that Chilli and chocolate are an amazing match, I love when you bite into a chilli/chocolate combination, at first you get that sweet, smooth creamy chocolate texture and then just as you are savouring this your tastes buds jump to attention with the explosion of the firey chilli ‘awesome’ :-). Now don’t be afraid you can control how much chilli hit you get by the amount and type added, so you can make to suit. So if you haven’t tried this go on give it a go its amazing.

Chilli-chocolate lovers swear it is the ultimate gastronomic experience! Quote from World of Chillies

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RECIPE;

  • 200g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 Tsp water
  • 100g buter, chopped
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup  plain flour, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp chilli powder (add more or less depending on your taste)
  • 100g dark chill chocolate, roughly chopped ( I used a great brand from my local mexican supply shop called black widow but you can use any brand)

NB: you can add both chocolate ingredients or leave one out. You can use plain dark chocolate if you like with chilli powder or hold back with the chilli powder and just use chilli chocolate.

METHOD;

  1. preheat oven to 160º
  2. place butter and chocolate into a saucepan over low heat and stir until smooth
  3. allow to cool slightly
  4. place sugar, eggs, cocoa, flour and baking  powder in a bowl
  5. add chocolate mixture, mix till combined
  6. pour mixture into a greased and lined square baking tin
  7. bake for 30-35 minutes, or until set
  8. cool in tin

Avocado Ice-cream

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I love making ice-cream I know not really a winter dessert. But  ice-cream being an amazing dessert all on its own, also makes for the perfect accompaniment to so many desserts, even in the middle of winter.

I came across this recipe in my latest edition of delicious magazine, and always wanting to try new and interesting flavours in my ice-cream making I knew I had to make this avocado ice-cream. I have heard of this flavoured ice-cream before but have never tried it until now, and just let me say it does not disappoint :-). The texture of the avocado is perfect for ice-cream and put together with the cream and lime juice AMAZING!!!!.

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RECIPE:

  • flesh of 4 avocados
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 300ml thickened cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

method;

  1. blitz avocado and lime juice in a food processor until a smooth puree
  2. beat sugarand cream with electric beater to combine
  3. add avocado and vanilla, whisk until well combined
  4. place into ice-cream machine and churn as per machine instructions

nb (I like to refrigerate my mix for several hours or overnight before churning in the ice-cream machine)

Poached pears in red wine

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So as promised here is the poached pears in red wine recipe that I mentioned in my post Mascarpone and cinnamon ice-cream.

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I would love to say that this is my recipe, but it came from a great food blog I follow night quite Nigella. This dessert is De-lish, rich syrupy spiced red wine covering soft but not too soft beurre bosc pears, the ideal pear variety for poaching.

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The Mascarpone and cinnamon ice-cream match these pears beautifully, carrying through with the cinnamon, and the ice-cream being subtle enough not to take away the star of this desert that is the poached pear.

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Make sure that you use a good quality wine what’s that saying “if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it” (or something along those lines). I really think that analogy is really important in this recipe as the wine really is the main flavour ingredient, and then whats left in the bottle well you may as well drink that, then maybe open up another bottle :-). Nothing like a good full bodied red wine to warm the soul in winter :-).

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RECIPE;

  • 5 large beurre bosc , firm
  • 2.5 cups red wine
  • 1 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 inch piece of mandarin or orange peel or zest
  • 2 inch piece of lemon zest


METHOD;

1. Place the red wine, sugar, cinnamon stick and zests onto the heat to boil in a pot that fits all of the pears snugly upright. Meanwhile peel the pears well making sure that you get all of the skin off (the skin that remains won’t colour). By the time you’ve finished peeling, your wine should be boiling. Add the pears and cook turning three or four times for 25 minutes  (check as it also depends on how big your pears are). Remove the pears as soon as they are done to prevent further cooking (you don’t want them to become too soft).

2. Taste the syrup and if you want it thicker, then put it back on the boil and reduce until syrupy-anywhere from 5-12 minutes.