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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Marsala and Almond Biscuits



Here are very different flavoured biscuits that send you to Italy and back. Made with an Italian wine "Marsala" and slivered almonds creates the perfect combination for that time with a cuppa. I lightly dusted the biscuits with icing sugar but they are just as sweet without. Hope you enjoy them.

Ingredients

250g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar
6 eggs
1 cup Marsala (wine)
200g slivered almonds
6 cups self raising flour
2 cups (approx) icing sugar (mixture)

Method

1. Preheat oven at 180oC (170oC fan-forced). Line 3 oven trays with baking paper and set aside.
2. Cream butter with electric beaters until smooth. Add caster sugar and continue to beat until well combined.
3. Beat in eggs into butter mixture one at a time until well combined.
4. Add 3 cups self raising flour, stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate slightly and then add ½ cup marsala, stir again to combine.
5. Add the other 3 cups of self raising flour, stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate slightly and then add the other ½ cup of marsala, stir again to incorporate well.
6. With your hands shape mixture into small balls (size of a walnut), cover the balls with the icing sugar and continue to roll the icing sugar around the balls with the palm of your hands. Place a few centimeters apart on the baking trays.
7. Lightly press each ball with the back of a fork to flatten slightly.
8. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
9. Remove from oven and immediately sift icing sugar all over the biscuits. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before placing each biscuit on a wire rack to cool.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Kashmiri Chicken (Slow Cooker)


I am just enjoying using my new slow cooker. I have made a few new dishes that I just prepare in the morning, pour everything into the slow cooker, lid on, switch to low and forgot about it for 6 - 8 hours. Here is a chicken dish that everyone in my family enjoys (except Matthew of course). The flavours are curry based and the chicken is so tender. I use a pestle and mortar to form the onion mixture into a paste and then fry for more flavour but I believe most dishes cooked in the slow cooker don't need this step. If time is a problem, just throw everything in, add the liquid and your done.

Ingredients
3 Chicken Marylands, cut into drumsticks and thighs cut in half)
2 tab plain flour
4 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 large Onion or 2 small Onions, chopped
3 cloves Garlic, grated
4cm piece Ginger, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon Fennel Seeds
½ teaspoon Chili Flakes or 1 small Red Chili, chopped
1 ½ teaspoon Coriander
½ teaspoon Turmeric
1 teaspoon Garam Masala
1 teaspoon cumin
1 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoon Tomato Paste
2 cups boiling Water mixed with 2 teas chicken stock
Basmati Rice to serve

Method
1. Place flour in a large freezer bag, add chicken pieces and turn all around to coat with flour.
2. In a medium frypan on medium heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and when hot fry the chicken pieces until browned. Remove and place in the slowcooker.
3. In a pestle and mortar place onions, garlic, ginger, fennel seeds and chilli, pound lightly until a paste forms.
4. In the same medium frypan, add another 2 tablespoons olive oil, allow to heat up and add coriander, turmeric, garam masala, and cumin. Allow to fry up and mix with the oil. Then add the onion paste and cook a few minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine. Add the water mixed with the chicken stock. Add the cinnamon stick. Allow to boil for 1 minute and then pour this over the chicken in the slow cooker.
5. Cook on low for 6 – 8 hours.
6. Serve on basmati rice

Sticky Date & Chocolate Pudding


You know that comfy feeling of having a dessert with warm caramel sauce, well this pudding just does that. Serve the cake at room temperature, make sure the caramel sauce is served warm over your cake and if you like, finish it off with ice-cream and more sauce on top. This cake is also lovely made into cupcakes, so moist and packs well. The addition of cocoa gives it a slight chocolate taste.

Serves: 8

Ingredients

250g pitted dates, chopped
1 cup water
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp vanilla
150g butter
1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 ¼ cups self raising flour, sifted
3 tbsp baking cocoa, sifted
Caramel Sauce
225g brown sugar
180 ml cream
180g unsalted butter

Method

Sticky Date Pudding:
1. Place dates and water into a small saucepan. Bring to the boil, uncovered over a medium heat, turn heat down and allow to simmer 10 minutes or until dates are soft and liquid has been absorbed. Cool and stir in bicarbonate of soda and vanilla.
2. Preheat oven 180oC. Grease and line 28cm x 18cm lamington tin with non stick baking paper.
3. Using an electric mixer, cream butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Fold in date mixture and combined mixture of sifted flour and sifted caking cocoa. Spread evenly into prepared tin. Bake 30 – 35 minutes, or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool slightly before removing from tin.
4. Serve warm drizzled with caramel sauce, extra dates whipped cream.

Caramel Sauce:
Put all sauce ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, stir until smooth, then boil for 3 minutes. Keep warm.

If you make the sauce in advance, keep covered in the fridge and reheat over low heat to serve.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Amira's Flourless Whole Orange Cake (Gluten Free)


Here is an orange cake with a difference, made with a whole orange, skin and all! No need to boil the orange or use the zest and juice alone, just cut it up, remove the pips and wizz in the food processor, how easy is that. And better still no butter or oil is used because the orange provides enough juice/moisture. This cake can be enjoyed by all (except those that have a nut allergy) and provide another alternative to wheat as it's made with almond meal.

Ingredients

1 large orange (approx 230g)
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 cups almond meal
1 teas baking powder
Icing sugar to serve

Method

1. Preheat oven at 180oC (170oC fan forced). Bottom line a 22 cm springform pan with baking paper, grease the sides with cooking spray.
2. Cut the unpeeled orange into segments, remove any pips and place in a food processor. Process until finely chopped.
3. Add eggs and process again.
4. Pour the orange mixture into a large bowl, add sugar and almonds and baking powder. Stir with a rubber spatula until combined.
5. Pour mixture into pan and bake for 50 minutes.
6. Allow to cool in pan before removing. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Cholee (Pakistani Chick pea curry)


So many friends have asked for this recipe. If you like a good vegetarian curry this is a great recipe. Not too hot and served with Basmati rice completes the meal. You might like to serve it on top of fish, chicken or beef or as a side dish accompanying your mail meal. Either way it good for you and tastes great too. ENJOY!

Ingredients:
2 tins chick peas
2 onions finally chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, grated (or 1 Tbsp paste)
2 cloves garlic crushed (or 1 Tbsp paste)
½ tsp chili flakes or 1 green or red chili, sliced
425g tin tomatoes
3 Tbsp oil
salt
1 tsp cumin powder (or seeds)
1 tsp mustard seed
1 1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp chat masala (optional)
handful fresh coriander
1 tsp garam masala
pinch aesofida (optional)

Method:
Fry onion. ginger, garlic, & chili in oil, add spices & fry several seconds. Add tomatoes & drained chickpeas. Simmer till tomatoes are pulpy. Garnish with coriander.

Chocolate Strawberry Tart (Gluten Free)


Here is another sweet I made for Christina's 21st. It was so so yummy and the strawberries completed this dessert in taste and looks. I have amended the orginal recipe to suit my taste (as detailed below) and I'm sure you and your guests will be impressed as were many at the party.

** Recipe inspired by AWW “Gluten-Free & Allergy-Free Eating” cookbook

Ingredients

Hazelnut Crust
1 ½ cups (150g) Hazelnut Meal
1/3 cup (75g) Caster Sugar
¼ cup (35g) Cornflour
125g cold Unsalted Butter, chopped
1 egg yolk

Filling
1/3 cup (110g) Strawberry Jam
½ cup (160ml) Cream
25g unsalted butter
150g Dark Chocolate
150g Milk Chocolate
8 Strawberries

Method

1. Make Hazelnut Crust: Place hazelnut meal, caster sugar, cornflour and unsalted butter into food processor and process until crumbly; add egg yolk and pulse the mixture until it comes together. Remove from food processor and form into a small disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge for 1 hour.
2. Grease 23cm round loose-based flan tin. With your fingers ease hazelnut dough into tin evenly covering the base and sides. Place in the freezer for ½ hour or until frozen.
3. Preheat oven at 180oC (170oC fan forced). Remove pastry from freezer and place in oven for 25 minutes or until brown. Spread with strawberry jam and return to oven for 2 minutes. Cool completely.
4. Make Filling: Place cream in glass jug and place in microwave for 30 seconds until very hot; stir in butter and chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Pour chocolate mixture into crust. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Just before serving top tart with strawberries.

Storage: Tart can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Meringue Cup Cakes (Gluten Free)




On Sunday we celebrated Christina's 21st Yeah Yeah !! She asked me to make these cupcakes which are gluten free and I was so excited to give them a go. At the start they seemed like a challenge BUT I was so impressed with them in the end, the picture shows why. If you would like to make them they are best made on the day they are served. The lime curd can be replaced with lemon curd and if you don't have mint leaves in the garden just leave them out and dust lightly with icing sugar.

** Recipe inspired by AWW “Gluten-Free & Allergy-Free Eating” cookbook

Makes approximately 27 small cupcakes

Ingredients

Meringues:
2 egg whites
Pinch of Cream of Tartar
½ cup (110g) Caster Sugar
2 teaspoons Pure Icing Sugar
Fresh Mint Leaves
Icing Sugar for dusting

Lime Curd:
2 Eggs, beaten lightly
½ cup (110g) Caster Sugar
90g dairy-free spread
1/3 cup (80ml) Lime Juice
2 teaspoons finely grated Lime Rind
Green Food Colouring

Method
1. Make cupcakes: Preheat oven at 180oC (170oC fan forced). Line very small cupcake tins with paper cupcakes cases
2. Beat egg whites until foamy, gradually add the sugars a tablespoon at a time, beating until sugar dissolves after each addition.
3. Place mixture into piping bag and pipe into the paper cupcake cases. Using the back of a small spoon, make a small indentation to create a small hollow.
4. Place cupcakes in oven, reduce oven temperature to 120oC and bake for 1 hour. Cool in oven with door ajar.
5. Make lime curd: Beat eggs in small saucepan, stir in sugar, spread and juice; stir over medium heat until mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Strain mixture through a sieve into a bowl, allow to cool slightly and place in the fridge to cool completely, stirring every 10 minutes or so. Stir in rind and green food colouring. Cover, refrigerate 1 hour or until thick.
6. Once cupcakes are cooled, top with lime curd, a small mint leave and dust with icing sugar.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Amira's Carrot Cake (updated 8/11/11)





A quick, simple and delicious carrot cake for lunchboxes and the like. I made this today as we were all hanging out for a homebaked cake and what better one than carrot cake, another one of Nando's favourite. You might like to ice the cake with lemon cream cheese "Philly" icing, so so yummy as you can see in the photo. ENJOY.

Makes a small loaf cake 11cm x 21cm
or double the recipe for a 20cm cake with cream cheese topping

Ingredients:

1/3 cup sunflower oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups grated carrot (about 1 1/2 carrots)
1 cup self raising flour, sifted
1/2 teas bicarbonate soda
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
¼ cup sultanas (optional)
a small shake of cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla essence

Method:

1. Set oven at 180oC
2. Combine together oil, eggs, sugar, whisk with a balloon whisk
3. Add all other ingredients and mix well, do not over mix
4. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake at 180oC for 40 mins or until cooked.
5. When cooked let sit for 5 minutes before removing from pans and allowing to cool on cake rack.
6. When cool dust with icing sugar and serve.

Philly Icing

125g Philadelphia cheese, softened
40g margarine
1 ½ cups icing sugar
Lemon juice
Sprinkle cinnamon for topping

Beat Philadelphia cheese until soft and creamy, add margarine and beat again. Sift icing sugar into cheese mixture and beat on low speed, add lemon juice to taste and desired consistency. Spread on top of cake and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Anthony's Chocolate Tarts


Anthony has been baking AGAIN ! This time he made the most yummy melt-in-your mouth chocolate tarts. Easy to make and a lovely dessert after dinner. Keep them at room temperature for a soft filling or straight from the fridge for a slightly harder choco bite. Anthony made 8 tarts using 10.5cm tart shells or you can make 1 x 23 cm tart. You may like to dust with cocoa and serve with cream and strawberries for that special occasion.

** Pastry inspired by Home Beautiful Magazine.
** Chocolate filling inspired by recipe book Jamie Oliver The Naked Chef - Simple Chocolate Tart

Tart Shell/s

250g plain flour
125g pure icing sugar, sifted
1 pinch of salt
180g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
2 drops iced water
1. Place the plain flour, icing sugar and salt in a bowl and stir to combine. Using your fingertips, rub the butter through until the mixture resembles course breadcrumbs. You can use a food processor for this. Add the water and mix until the dough comes together in a ball. Shape the dough into a round, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Roll out onto a lightly-floured surface until 3mm thick.
2. Press into a greased or non-stick 23cm tart tin and prick the pastry with a fork. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 200oC. Line the chilled pastry with baking paper and add baking weights or rice. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the paper and weights. Bake for another 10 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and crisp.
4. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before pouring in the chocolate filling.

Chocolate Filling

150ml thickened cream
1 tab caster sugar
the smallest pinch of salt
50g butter, softened
225g best-quality cooking chocolate, broken up
50ml milk
cocoa powder for dusting, cream and strawberries for serving

Place the cream, sugar and pinch of salt in a pan and bring to the boil. As soon as the mixture has boiled, remove from the heat and add the butter and chocolate. Stir until i t has completely melted. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, stirring in the cold milk until smooth and shiny. Allow to cool down a bit more and whisk in a little extra cold milk until smooth. Scrape all the mixture into the cooked and cooled pastry shell with a spatula. Shake the tart to even it out and to cool for around 1 - 2 hours until it is at room temperature or place in fridge for a hard setting filling. To serve dust with cocoa powder, a dollop of cream and strawberries(optional).

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Pumpkin Scones




What a lovely treat on a cold night, warm and just out of the oven. All you need to serve with these is a spread of butter. They are even nice the next day at room temperature and why not have them for breakfast yummy !

1 cup cold mashed pumpkin
2 – 3 cups self-raising flour
½ cup Castor Sugar
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 egg

1. Preheat oven 180oC. Butter and flour a small cake pan.
2. Beat butter and sugar until creamy and then add egg.
3. Add pumpkin and flour and mix by hand.
4. Place dough onto floured surface and knead slightly into a round disk about7mm thick. Cut round shapes and place onto cakepan.
5. Bake at 180oC for 15 – 20 minutes until cooked.
6. Enjoy hot from the oven with a spread of butter.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Coffee Sponge Cream Cake






NANDO'S Birthday cake - we celebrated Nando's birthday tonight and it was so nice to see our beautiful family again and get together with everyone. The cake itself was made over 3 days, the decorating took a couple of hours this afternoon but Anthony and I perservered and we were very happy and enjoyed just being creative together. It's a sponge cake soaked in coffee and Tia Maria liquor then filled with layers of vanilla and chocolate pudding, top and side covered with cream and decorated with chocolate shards and ganache. ENJOY !

INGREDIENTS

Cake

6 eggs (61g)
1 ½ cups white sugar
1 ½ cups self-raising flour, sifted

Filling
2 pkts vanilla pudding
700ml full cream milk
700mls x 2 thickened cream
150 mls thickened cream, extra, whipped
3 tab “Cadbury” chocolate drinking powder, sifted

9 coffee cups Italian coffee
(made with 1 x 6 Italian Coffee Machine and 1 x 3 Italian Coffee Machine)
2 tab sugar
1 ½ capful Tia Maria Liquor

Decorations
As preferred using dark and white chocolate

METHODS

Cake – 1st Day
Start the cake 3 days before require. Preheat oven at 180oC. Butter and flour a 23 cm cake tin and set aside. Separate egg yolks from white. Place egg whites in bowl of electric mixture and beat until soft peaks form. Add egg yolks all at once along with the sugar and beat again with electric mixer until incorporated. Stir flour in batches (3/4 cup at a time) with a wooden spoon stirring slowly but thoroughly in the same direction as beaten by mixer. Pour mixture into cake tin and slowly place in oven. Bake at 180oC for 53 mins. Turn oven off and leave in oven for 5 minutes before removing from oven. Allow to sit for a few minutes before inverting the cake onto a cake rack. Allow to cool completely and place in air tight container until the next day for filling.

Filling – 2nd Day

Cut the cake into 2 parts giving you 3 layers. Place bottom layer onto serving plate. Place a bottomless springform cake tin on top of cake and clip in place. This will allow the cake to set within the cake tin and will be removed after the cake has been set and just before decorating which is on day 3. Set aside the other 2 cake layers until required.

Make Italian coffee and pour into medium bowl. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Allow to cool to room temperature and add the Tia Maria. Divide the coffee into 3 glasses to allow even soaking between layers. Set aside.

Assembling Cake
Pour 350ml milk and 350ml cream into bowl of electric mixer. Sprinkle contents of 1 pkt of vanilla pudding onto the milk mixture. Beat with electric mixer until stiff. Mixture will stiffen even more upon sitting. Take 2 large tablespoons of the mixture and place into a small bowl and set aside (this will be used for the last layer). Sprinkle the drinking chocolate onto the vanilla pudding and stir to combine – this will make the chocolate pudding. Set aside.

Using one glass of coffee and with a spoon pour coffee mixture evenly over bottom layer of cake. Spread the chocolate pudding evening over this 1st layer.

Place the 2nd layer of cake onto the chocolate pudding and repeat the coffee soaking using the 2nd glass of coffee.

Pour another 350ml milk and 350ml cream into bowl of electric mixer. Sprinkle contents of 2nd pkt of vanilla pudding onto the milk mixture. Beat with electric mixer until stiff. Mixture will stiffen even more upon sitting. Take another 2 large tablespoons of the mixture and place into the bowl with the other 2 tab vanilla pudding and set aside (remember this will be used for the last layer). Take the vanilla pudding and spread evenly over the 2nd layer of cake.

Place the 3rd layer of cake over the vanilla pudding and repeat the coffee soaking using the 3rd glass of coffee.

Finally, spread the vanilla pudding in the small bowl (which has 4 tab of vanilla pudding in it) over the 3rd layer of cake.

Cover with “Gladwrap” and place in fridge overnight.

Decorations – 3rd Day

Unclip the springform pan and spread the sides and top with cream (extra). Decorate as desired.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Moist Chocolate Cake (updated 27/2/14)




It's Nando's birthday and I've been so busy baking and will continue to bake over the next few days, so stay tuned. I made this cake for him to take to work and it was thoroughly enjoyed by all, so for those who requested the recipe here it is. ENJOY - it is such an easy peasy cake ! (There's a story why we wrote Merri instead of Happy and a prize to those who guess.)

Ingredients

250g self raising flour, sifted
2 cups Caster Sugar
75g Cocoa, sifted
2 teas Baking Powder
1 teas Bicarbonate Soda
½ teas Salt
1 cup milk
1 cup cold strong coffee
100 ml vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teas vinegar

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180oC (170o fan forced) and line a 22cm springform pan with baking paper, grease spray the sides of pan.
2. In a large bowl combine: flour, caster sugar, cocoa, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
3. In another bowl whisk together with balloon whisk: milk, coffee, oil, eggs and vinegar.
4. Pour milk mixture into flour mixture and with balloon whisk stir to combine.
5. Pour into prepared pan and bake at 180oC (170oC fan forced) for 1 hour.

Filling

540ml thickened cream

Beat cream with electric or handheld beater until stiff. Cut cake in half and spread cream to sandwich cakes together.

Topping

¼ cup (60mls) thickened cream
75g milk chocolate buttons
75g dark chocolate buttons

Put cream in a small bowl and place and microwave until hot about 1 min. Remove from microwave and quickly add all the chocolate. Set aside for ½ minute than stir to combine allowing the chocolate to melt in the hot cream. Set aside to thicken and then pour over top and sides of cake.


Special Note re Cream

Buy a 600ml cream and use ¼ cup (60mls) for the topping and the rest (540mls) for the filling.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Koulourakia (Greek Biscuits)



Have a go at making these yummy Greek biscuits, I DID ! They are the best "dip-it-in milk biscuits" for young and old. They remind me of having breakfast in Italy, we just had hot milky coffee with biscuits. This batch makes lots so you needs a helping hand. ENJOY !

250g unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups caster sugar
5 eggs
2 teas vanilla essence or 1 pkt vanilla sugar
1 x 300ml cream
1 tab Brandy or 1 Orange or Lemon rind
6 cups of S/R Flour, sifted
1 egg beaten, extra
¼ cup sugar, extra

Preheat oven 180oC (170oC fan forced) and line oven trays with baking paper. With electric beater, beat butter and sugar until well combined. Add eggs one at a time and beat between each addition until creamy. Add vanilla essence or vanilla sugar and beat again. Add brandy and beat again. With dough attachment on your mixture, mix through 4 cups of the flour until well combined, adding the other 2 cups if required. Shape dough into 22cm x 5mm strips, bring together to form a twist and place on lined trays. Brush tops of biscuits with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 180oC (170oC fan forced) for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Amira's Banana Muffins


You know how some muffins come out dry and ordinary, well these are different. For a lovely moist muffin, make sure your bananas are very ripe and when you mix all the ingredients together you need to mix until just combined, DON'T OVER MIX. What a lovely treat anytime of the day, breakfast or afternoon tea or pop them in the kid's lunchboxes. As you can see from the picture, to some of the mixture I added crushed walnuts for a different treat. They'll be gone in no time. Makes about 16 large muffins.


2 cups S/R Flour, sifted
2 teas Bicarb Soda, sifted
1 teas cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1 cup coconut
1/2 cup milk
3 over ripe medium bananas
4 eggs
1/2 cup canola or vegi oil
handful of crushed walnuts, (optional)

Preheat oven at 180oC (170oC fan forced). Line muffin tin with paper cup cakes.
Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl (except for walnuts). Mash bananas with milk and stir to combine. Add to dry ingredients. Beat eggs with oil and add to flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Do not over beat. Take a quarter of the mixture and add the crushed walnuts.

Bake at 180oC for 20 minutes.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Apple Tart



This apple tart has a pastry base that doesn't need to be blind-baked! Just make the base, line it in your pie dish, add the apples and then grate more pastry on top. How easy is that and you can even alter the filling and add peaches and sultanas. We shared this with friends twice this week and couldn't resist last night while watching the Masterchef Grand Finale. So easy to make and it's a taste sensation.

Ingredients

125g unsalted Butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups Plain flour
2 teas baking powder
1 teas vanilla essence
1/4 cup sultanas (optional)
800g can "Ardmona" Pie Fruit Apples Sliced
or
400g can Apples, sliced
400g can Peaches, sliced


Method

Preheat oven at 180oC (170oC fan forced). Grease with spray oil a large pie pan and set aside.

1. With electric beaters cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat again, add vanilla essence and beat again.

2. In another large bowl sift flour and baking powder. Add butter mixture to flour mixture and beat with electric beaters until it forms a crumbly dough. With your hands bring the mixture together to form a ball of dough. Remove a small handful of dough, the size of a large orange, and wrap this in clingfilm and pop in the freezer. This will be the dough that will be grated on top. Press the rest of he dough on the base of the greased pan.

3. Squash the apples with the back of a fork and add all the apples in the greased pie dish. Remove the ball of dough from the freezer and with the large hole grater, grate the pastry over the apples.

4. Place tart in oven and bake at 180oC for 40 minutes or until browned.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Cream Dream Cupcakes




Hi everyone - I found this recipe in the Country Women's Association Cakes Cookbook that I borrowed from the library a few days ago. Everytime I go to the library, that's all I seem to borrow Cookbooks! But I learn so so much and am inspired everytime. Well I just had to make these cupcakes. I always make cupcakes with butter and milk BUT this recipe calls for just CREAM ! They were sensational, fluffy and light and with the addition of the strawberry icing, the best my family have tasted. Grab one now or just come by sometime for a cuppa and I'll make them again.

** Cupcakes inspired by Country Women’s Association Cakes Cookbook

Makes 12 Large Cupcakes

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup cream
1 ½ cups self raising flour, sifted
1 teas vanilla essence

With the K beater on the Kenwood, beat eggs and sugar on medium speed until double in volume and creamy about 2 minutes. Pour in the cream, vanilla essence and flour.

Fill cupcake cases ¾ full. Bake at 200oC (fan forced) for 20 minutes or until golden. Turn around at half time. Switch off oven and leave in oven to cool slightly with oven door ajar.

Amira’s Strawberry Icing

Icing will cover 8 cupcakes

2 tab margarine (“Meadow Lea”)
1 ½ cups pure Icing Sugar, sifted
2 teas milk
2 drops of strawberry oil (from cake decorating shops)
Red food colouring or Red food paste

Place margarine and icing sugar in a small bowl and beat with a handheld electric beater until it all comes together. Add milk and beat again. Add red colouring and strawberry oil. Continue to beat until the icing becomes creamy and fluffy, adding a tiny more milk if required. Be very careful not to add too much milk or else the icing will be too soft to pipe.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Korberba (Kibbeh)



I just gotta continue to cook with my mum and discover all the Arabic recipes that I ate when we were young. I had no idea how to make Korberba (that's what we called it in our family (it is known as Kibbeh in Lebanese), finally mum showed me and it is so easy. An extra pair of hands would help to speed up the process as it is time consuming. So a couple of days ago we had time over the school holidays and Anthony helped. We learned the art of making the balls, stuffing and patting the Korberba together, we laughed and we had fun but best of all we were together doing what gets handed down from generation. We cooked them and ate them the best way you can - snap bang off the hot oil. They're so yummy - ENJOY one or four at a time. Burgul (cracked wheat) is found at all middle eastern nuts shops and for this dish you need to use the "fine" grain.

INGREDIENTS

Filling
500g minced meat (beef)
1 tab olive oil
1 onion chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt/Pepper

Burgul/Mince Meat Mixture
1 kilo fine Burgul (cracked wheat)
500g minced meat (beef)
Water to soak
Salt/Pepper

Vegetable Oil for frying

METHOD

Filling
In a fry pan add olive oil and when hot add onion and fry until fragrant, add garlic and continue to fry for 1 minute. Add mince meat, salt and pepper. Break up mince with back of fork and cook mince until brown. Set aside to cool.

Burgul/Mince Meat Mixture
In a large bowl place burgul and pour cold water to cover with 1cm over. Set aside for 1/2 hour for the burgul to absorb the water. Once all the water has absorbed you can start to mix the mince meat with the burgul as follows:

In a food processor place a handful of burgul and 1/4 handful of mince, pulse in bursts until mixed together, remove and place in another large bowl. Continue like so with the rest of the burgul and mince and place in bowl until all the burgul and mince is mixed together. Once all mixed through add salt to the mixture and mix/knead with both hands until all incorporated. This requires a lot of muscle work.

To make the Korberba: Take about two walnut-size of the mixture and form into a ball. Hold the ball in your left hand and with your right finger/pointer make a long hole through the middle of the ball. As you continue to hold the ball with your left hand, turn the ball round your finger to make the long hole wider. With a teaspoon add some of the filling (cooked mince meat) into the hole and then close the whole. With your hand you can now form the croquette shape of the korberba (see picture above). Continue with the rest of the burgul and mince meat until all used up. You might find that you have some cooked minced meat left over which you can use for another dish. Now it's time to fry the Korberba.

Add oil to fry pan about 3cm deep, place over medium flame and when hot add the Korberba one at a time to fry in hot oil. Once brown on one side, turn over to cook the other side. When done, remove from oil and place on absorbent paper. Repeat with the rest of the Korberba until all cooked, adding more oil to fry pan, as needed and between each batch. The Korberba can be cooled and placed in the fridge for another day and warmed again in the oven, until crisp and hot. Enjoy as an accompaniment to meat or chicken dishes or just as a snack.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Amira's Scones



After we watched Masterchef tonight, Anthony wanted to make scones, don't know what inspired him as the "BAKE OFF" on Masterchef is tomorrow night. I think he was just hungry. I was tired after a busy day, but how can you knock back your child's request especially with his enthusiasm and mouth-watering plea...I wanted to eat some myself also. So out came the bowl, flour, cream and milk and we produced the most fluffy scones you can imagine. The trick is not to over mix the mixture and ensure the mixture is still moist in the centre. Give it a go and if Matthew gave me a 9 out of 10 that says it all.

3 cups Self Raising Flour
150 mls thickened cream
1 ¼ cups full cream milk

Preheat oven to 210 degrees. Place flour in bowl, pour in cream then pour in milk with a knife make “cut through” strokes through the mixture. Tip out onto floured board and knead very, very lightly until it comes together, patting as you go with floured hands. Cut out desired size and place on greased and floured baking tray. Place tray on top shelf of oven and bake at 210 degrees for 12 – 15 minutes.

Enjoy with jam with cream.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Amira's Carrot & Orange Cake




With oranges a plentiful this time round I thought what better way to put a different twist on the traditional carrot cake. If you love the taste of orange cake and carrot cake alone this combination tastes so yummy together. With the addition of walnuts, almond meal and cinnamon, you'll be asking for another slice. A dusting of icing sugar completes the cake. ENJOY !

Makes 2 loaves or 1 large Bundt cake

Ingredients:

2/3 cup vegi oil
Juice and rind of 1 orange
1½ cups brown sugar
4 eggs
3 cups grated carrot
2 cups self raising flour, sifted
½ cup almond meal
¾ cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Method:

1. Set oven at 180oC
2. Combine together oil, eggs, sugar, juice and rind of orange.
3. Add all other ingredients and mix well
4. Line 2 pans measuring 12.5cm x 11cm with baking paper and spray sides of pans with oil. Or use a large bundt pan sprayed with oil (pan with hole in the middle).
5. Pour into prepared pan/s and bake at 180oC for 40 minutes or until cooked.
6. When cooked let sit for 5 minutes before removing from pans and allowing to cool on cake rack.
7. When cool dust with icing sugar and serve.

Yummy yum !!

Note: You can half the recipe to make just one small 21.5cm x 11cm loaf cake.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Jam & Sour Cream Biscuits




You have just gotta make and eat these. They are so yummy and irresistible, one is not enough. Seb and I made these with her mum yesterday. You can double the recipe but you'll need help as the three of us did together. Dust with icing sugar for an eye catching biscuit. ENJOY - the photo looks great but the taste is sensational !

Jam & Sour Cream Biscuits

Ingredients

4 eggs
1 cup Caster Sugar
1 sachet Vanilla Sugar
250g sour cream
250g unsalted butter, softened
1 kg Self-Raising Flour
1 cup approx, Self Raising Flour, extra
800g jar Jam, Strawberry or Apricot
Icing sugar for dusting

Method

1. Preheat oven 200oC and line 3 – 4 biscuit trays with baking paper. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl beat together sugar, eggs and vanilla sugar with electric mixture until well combined. Add sour cream and beat again.
3. In another large bowl sift flour and add softened butter. Rub butter into flour with your finger tips until well combined.
4. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix well by hand until it all comes together into one dough. Pull apart a large handful of the mixture and roll out to 2mm thin. You will need to lightly sift the extra flour on your work bench to stop the dough from sticking. Using a small serrated dough wheel cut 5cm x 5cm squares.
5. Place a teaspoon of jam in the middle of the square dough, bring over one corner to the middle of the square to cover the jam and then bring over the other corner on top of that (see picture of finished biscuit). Be careful not to overfill your biscuits with jam or the jam will ooze out during baking.
6. Place your biscuits on the biscuit tray and bake for approx 10 – 12 minutes until lightly brown.
7. When cool place in air tight container.

These biscuits do not keep for very long because of the high fat content. Place in freezer for longer keeping. But they won’t last for long – your family and friends will love them.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Amira's Chocolate Chip Cookies



A friend of mine gave me this recipe and I've altered a little to my preferred taste. You might like to drizzle chocolate over these once cooked and cooled, that would give a "cafe" look to these biscuits. Cook for 10 minutes for a fudge cookie or for 12 minutes for dunking into your coffee/tea when no one's watching. Half the mixture for a smaller batch. Thanks Sebastiana for the cookie tin, a beautiful birthday gift !

250g unsalted Butter, softened
3/4 cups White Sugar
3/4 cups Brown Sugar
1 teas Vanilla Essence
2 Eggs
3 1/2 cups Self Raising Flour
125g Dark Chocolate Buttons
125g Milk Chocolate Buttons

Method

Preheat oven to 180oC (170oC fan forced) and line 3 large baking trays with baking paper. In a large mixing bowl with electric mixture beat together butter, white sugar and brown sugar until light and creamy, add vanilla essence and then eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift the flour and add to the butter mixture. Using a sharp knife and chopping board, chop both kinds of chocolate into tiny pieces and add to the mixture. Beat all ingredients together until well combined. Form 24g balls of mixture and place on baking trays, press lightly with fork and bake for 10 minutes for a fudge cookie or 12 minutes for a more crunchier cookie.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Snowflakes



These are delicious meringue biscuits with a hint of vanilla essence and crushed almonds, so many people have said they are the best biscuits they have eaten. So light and crunchy, you've gotta try them.

2 Egg Whites
1/4 teas Cream of Tartar
100g Caster Sugar
1/2 teas Vanilla Essence
60g Cornflour
250g slivered almonds or crushed almonds or a mixture of both

Preheat oven to 180oC (170oC fan forced).

Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy, slowly add sugar a tablespoon at a time until stiff peaks form, fold through vanilla essence, stir through the cornflour and almonds.

Drop tablespoons of mixture onto tray lined with baking paper. Reduce oven temperature to 120oC (110oC fan forced) and bake for 40 minutes. Switch oven off and leave Snowflakes in oven to completely cool.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pizzelli



Here is a recipe handed down by my mother in law, they are so popular with everyone, and a traditional recipe from her home town in Italy. You can use a hot waffle iron on the gas stove top or an electric waffle maker. You can just eat them as they are or sandwich together with custard. They are the best and they're always at the table at just about every celebration we have together as a family. Some like them soft and some like them crunchy, take you pick or try make both.

(Makes 16 – 20)

Ingredients

3 eggs
Zest of 1 lemon
6 tab sugar
1 tab liquor (brandy)
6 tab plain Flour
6 tab olive oil

Method
1. Beat eggs
2. Add Sugar and mix
3. Add olive oil and mix
4. Add liquor and mix.
5. Add flour and mix with a spoon until thick.

** SPECIAL NOTE **

If you would like the Pizzelli to be crunchy and hard, just add an extra tablespoon of flour.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Amira's Beef Curry (updated)



This is what we had for dinner tonight. I bought the "Screaming Seeds" spice mix called Kashmiri Krush at a small gift shop in Red Hill, Victoria while on holidays in January this year. I added a teaspoon of the spice mix to the curry and it gave a lovely medium heat, just enough for my family's taste. If you don't want to use this, leave it out and just add a sprinkle of flaked chilli. Lovely to have on a cold winters night. ENJOY.

Recipe inspired by "Screaming Seeds Spice Co." recipe leaflet. You can visit the company's website to order the spices and view more recipes on line. http://www.screamingseeds.com.au/

(For those of you who have already viewed this post, please note there was a mistake in the cooking time. I have made the change and it is now correct.)

Ingredients

2 teas Olive oil
2 Onions, chopped
4 Garlic Cloves, grated
1 tab fresh Ginger,grated
1 teas Kashmiri Krush spice blend (by “Screaming Seeds Spice Co. ©”)
3 tab tomato paste
4 tab Curry Powder
1 kilo chuck steak or casserole steak, cut into 3 cm pieces
3 cups hot water
1 Cinnamon Stick
120 mls coconut milk

Method

1. Heat olive oil in large heavy based pan, add onion and cook until soft and transparent. Add garlic and ginger and continue to cook until fragrant.
2. Add “screaming seeds ©” and mix to combine. Add curry powder, mix and then add the tomato paste. Stir thoroughly, you can add a tablespoon of water at this stage to help keep it moist.
3. Add the meat and stir to combine. Add the water and cinnamon stick. Stir. Lid on and cook for 1½ hours.
4. Add coconut milk, stir through and then lid on again for ½ hour.
5. Switch off heat, leave lid on and allow to rest for a 1 hour or so.
6. Just before serving remove lid and continue to cook until thickened to your liking.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Almond Jam Cookies



Those of you who know Anthony, know that he loves to bake and here is an example of just that, he is an inspiration to me especially because he just gets on with it without striving for perfection! He made them this morning, they are so scrumptuous and are great with a cuppa, just the right size to have one, no hang on...one's just not enough!

Inspired by Australian Women's Weekly "Home Baked"

Ingredients

185g unsalted butter, soften and chopped
1 teas vanilla essence
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup almond meal
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 teas baking power
4 tablespoons strawberry jam, approximately

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180oC (170oC fan forced).
2. Beat butter, vanilla essence, sugar and egg yolks in medium bowl with electric mixer until just combined.
3. Stir in almond meal, flour and baking powder; mix well. Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls; place about 5 cm apart on baking paper lined oven tray.
4. With the back of a teaspoon press a hollow into each ball about 1cm deep and 1.5cm wide.
5. Carefully spoon a little strawberry jam into the hollow of each ball.
6. Bake at 180oC oven about 20 minutes or until cookies are browned lightly; cool on trays. Store in air tight container. Makes about 30.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Amira's Lemon or Orange Poppy Seed Cake (updated 29/6/11)




This is one of my most popular cakes! Guests always have a second or third piece. It is tangy, light and tarty and the poppy seeds burst with tiny crackles under your teeth. The icing just hits the spot with extra tangy flavour. I chose this time to make orange poppy seed cake (above). ENJOY !

Ingredients

1 cup sugar
Rind of 2 lemons or oranges
3 eggs
¾ cups canola oil
1 cup yogurt
4 tab lemon or orange juice
2 cups Self Raising flour
1/3 cup poppy seeds

Mix sugar and rind together with fork, add eggs and oil and mix again. Stir through yogurt and juice. Lastly add, sifted flour and poppy seeds. Stir through gently until just combined. Bake in preheated oven at 160oC (150oC fan-forced) for approx 50 minutes.

Icing

1 cup Pure Icing Sugar
1 teas margarine or unsalted butter
Juice of approx ½ lemon or ½ orange
Poppy seeds or shaving of orange or lemon for sprinkling

Pour boiling water in sink. Place small bowl on water to allow the bowl to heat up. In the bowl add sifted icing sugar, add margarine, squashing it against the side of bowl to soften and stir through. Slowly add juice as needed to form a soft spreadable consistency. Pour icing over cooled cake and sprinkle lightly with extra poppy seeds or shavings of orange or lemon.
Yummy Yum.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Julie's Chocolate Cake





This is a "have to eat", super-moist, dense and rich chocolate cake, you'll know why from the ingredients. We shared this after our Mother's Day lunch. One slice after lunch was perfect!

Chocolate Cake

250g unsalted butter
1 cup water
½ cup cocoa
2 cups Plain Flour
2 cups caster sugar
2 beaten eggs
½ cup Yoghurt
1 teas Bicarbonate of Soda
½ teas cinnamon
1 teas vanilla essence

Chocolate Ganache

¼ cup cream
75g dark Chocolate
75g milk Chocolate

Method

Preheat oven 180oC and grease a bundt tin or 20 cm baking tin.
In a small saucepan bring to boil butter, water and cocoa, boil for 3 minutes. Take off heat and allow to cool down to warm. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl add flour and caster sugar and mix to combine. Then add the butter mixture, beaten eggs, yogurt, bicarbonate soda, cinnamon and vanilla essence. Stir gently with a wooden spoon until all combined. Pour into baking tin and bake for 40 minutes. Remove from tin and allow to cool completely on a cake rake. When cool drizzle with chocolate ganache.

Chocolate Ganache

Place cream in a small glass bowl and microwave on high for 20 seconds until bubbly and hot. Tip both dark and milk chocolate into bowl ensuring all chocolate is covered with cream. Allow to sit for ½ minute and then stir vigorously until the chocolate has melted. If chocolate ganache is too thick to pour over cake place back in microwave for 5 – 10 seconds to slight melt again.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lemon Tart




You have to try and make this, it is so delicious to eat ! ENJOY.

** Inspired by the Australian Women's Weekly and Home Beautiful Magazine

Tart Shell

250g plain flour
125g pure icing sugar, sifted
1 pinch of salt
180g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
2 drops iced water

1. Place the plain flour, icing sugar and salt in a bowl and stir to combine. Using your fingertips, rub the butter through until the mixture resembles course breadcrumbs. You can use a food processor for this. Add the water and mix until the dough comes together in a ball. Shape the dough into a round, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Roll out onto a lightly-floured surface until 3mm thick.

2. Press into a greased or non-stick 23cm tart tin and prick the pastry with a fork. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 200oC. Line the chilled pastry with baking paper and add baking weights or rice. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the paper and weights. Bake for another 10 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and crisp.

Lemon Filling

4 eggs
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
¾ cup (180ml) lemon juice
¾ cup (165g) caster sugar
½ cup (125ml) thickened cream

1. Whisk eggs, rind, juice, sugar and cream in a medium bowl. Leave to rest for ½ hour (if time allows).

2. Strain filling into cooked pastry shell.

3. Bake in preheated oven at 160oC for 30 – 35 mins.

4. Remove from oven and let rest until cooled to room temperature.

5. Place in fridge until set.

6. To serve, dust with icing sugar and serve with whipped cream.

Yummy Yum!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Pastiticio



There are so many different varieties of this dish and this is my version. Enjoy on a cold winters night with family and friends. I particularly love the taste of the bechamel sauce on top of this dish. And this is another one of my brother's favourite dishes.

Meat Sauce (Bolognaise Sauce)

2 tab Olive Oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed or grated
500 mince beef
360ml passata (tomato puree)
1 cup water
Salt & Pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in large fry pan and sauté onion until soft, add garlic and continue to fry for a minute or so. Add the mince beef and press mince with a fork to flatten and separate, fry until brown all over. While mince is cooking, in a medium saucepan add passata and water, and cook with lid on. Once mince is browned, add this to passata in saucepan and cook (no lid) on medium heat for 15 – 20 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit with lid on until you cook the pasta.

Pasta

600g tube penne (no lines)
Salt to add to boiling water
Olive oil

Fill large saucepan with water and allow to come to the boil, add salt and cook pasta until cooked. Strain pasta and drizzle olive oil to coat to avoid pasta sticking together.

Brush a large oven dish with olive oil. Pour ½ of the cook pasta on bottom of dish, pour all the bolognaise sauce over the pasta and then top with the other ½ of pasta.

Béchamel Sauce

60g butter
4 tab lain flour
2 cups Milk (full cream)
1 egg
Salt and Pepper
Grated tasty cheese and Parmesan cheese

In a medium saucepan, melt butter and then add flour, stir continuously for 1 minute allowing the mixture to bubble and mix thoroughly together. Slowly add milk stirring continuously with a balloon whisk until all milk is added. Add salt and pepper and continue stirring until mixture boils and thickens. This should take about 10 minutes. Once thick and smooth remove from heat and add the egg, give another good stir with balloon whisk. Pour and smooth this mixture immediately over the top layer of pasta, ensuring you cover the entire top. Allow the béchamel to cool slightly before grating the tasty cheese directly over the top of the béchamel sauce to cover, then sprinkle also with parmesan cheese. (At this stage you might like to cover with foil allow to cool slightly and place in the fridge for baking later.) Bake straight away in preheated oven at 180oC, no foil for 50mins to 1 hour or until golden. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Yummy Yum !!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chow Mein




We had a yummy, warm and satisfying meal last night, the nights are getting cold here and a salad just won't do. Serve this Chow Mein with lots of white rice - basmati or short grain.

2 teas olive oil
1 onion, chopped or grated
4 cloves garlic, chopped
500g minced beef
1 x 45g packet of chicken noodle soup
2 tab curry powder
2 tab soya sauce
3/4 cup frozen fresh peas
3/4 cup frozen or fresh string beans, cut into 5cm pieces
3/4 cup frozen or fresh corn kernels
2 small carrots, chopped into small pieces
1/2 small cabbage or 1/4 large cabbage, sliced thinly
2 cups boiling water

In a large pot add oil and when heated add onion, stir until slightly brown then add garlic and stir until fragrant. Add the mince and using a fork break up and cook with the onion and garlic until brown. Add the chicken noodle soup and stir. Add the curry powder and soya sauce and stir. Add 1 cup of water followed by peas, beans, corn and carrots, lastly add the sliced cabbage and the other 1 cup of water. Put the lid on and cook until cabbage wilts and softens. You might like to add more more for a more saucy dish. Serve with fluffy rice.

Monday, April 26, 2010

ANZAC Biscuits






What appropriate biscuits to make on ANZAC Day ! Yesterday was ANZAC day in Austalia (read below for definition). And Anthony was hanging out to make them - they taste so yummy - he's so clever and has a passion for baking. Make according to this recipe and they will be crunchie to bite or bake at 18OoC for 10 minutes for a chewy biscuit. You're all welcome to come by for a cuppa and enjoy with us.

* ANZAC Day commemorated and honours Australians who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. ANZAC Day was first marked in 1916. The date itself marks the anniversary of the landing of Australian and New Zealand solders on the Gallipoli Peninsula on 25 April 1915.

** Recipe inspired by Belinda Jeffery "Mix and Bake" Anzac Biscuits

1 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup dessicated coconut
1 cup plain flour
3/4 cup caster sugar
125g unsalted butter
2 tab golden syrup
2 tab boiling water
1 1/2 teas bicarbonate of soda
1 teas vanilla essence

Preheat oven 16OoC (15OoC fan forced)and line baking tray with baking paper.

In a large bowl mix together oats, coconut, flour and caster sugar. In a small saucepan melt over medium heat butter, golden syrup. Remove from heat and add boiling water and bicarbonate of soda. This will cause the mixture to froth so be careful not to allow it to overflow in the saucepan. Stir and pour directly over the oat mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon to combine. Roll int balls (20g) and place on baking paper 5cm apart to allow room to spread. Flatten slightly with a fork and baking in the oven at 16OoC (15OoC fan forced) for 16 minutes.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Amira's Stir Fry Beef with Noodles and Vegies



Hi everyone, sorry for not posting lately, my computer has been down for over a week now, got hold of another computer, so here goes. Have lots of recipes to post and photos to show off but for today I'm sharing "Stir Fry Beef", which we had for dinner tonight ! It was so yummy and we didn't think we'd get through it all but we did. Enjoy and let me know what you think. A chef's hint: the hot water mixed with the bicarb soda and added to the meat is a Chinese secret to tenderise the meat. It works, you gotta try it!

500g Beef rump steak
3 tab hot water
1/2 teas bicarb soda
2 spring onions, chopped thinly
splash of soya sauce

2 teas olive oil
5 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
1 small red chilli, sliced thinly (mild or hot)
2 splashes of fish sauce

2 teas olive oil
1 onion, sliced thinly
1/2 green capscium, sliced thinly


1 large handful string beans, chopped into 5cm lengths
6 branches broccholini, chopped into 5cm lengths
1 carrot, peeled and chopped into rings

440g Hokkien shelf fresh noodles "Kan Tong"

1/2 cup water
1 tab cornflour
1 teas sugar
2 tab soya sauce, extra
1 tab oyster sauce
1 tab plum sauce


1 hour before starting this recipe, slice the beef into thin strips and place in a bowl, add chopped spring onions. In a small bowl mix together hot water and bicarb soda. Add this mixture to the sliced beef, mix to combine and then add a splash of soya sauce. Cover with clingfilm and allow the meat to marinate in the fridge for 1 hour.

Before you begin cooking this dish, in a small bowl, mix together: water, cornflour, sugar, soya sauce, oyster sauce and plum sauce and set this bowl aside. In a wok, over high heat add about 1/2 cup water and allow to come to the boil, throw in your beans, broccholini and carrots and cook over high heat stirring all the time until crisp and cooked to your liking. Remove the vegies on a plate. Then add another 1/2cup water and add your noodles and stir to allow the noodles to soften and warm through. Remove and add to the plate of vegies. At this stage you might like to divide up the 1/2 of the noodles into each 4 serving bowls and place the other half aside with the other vegies.

In the same wok, over high heat, add the oil and allow to heat up, then add onions and capscium, stirring to fry and allow to go golden and crisp. Remove to the vegie plate once cooked.

In the same wok again, add oil and allow to heat up, then add 1/2 the sliced garlic and 1/2 sliced chilli, stirring quickly for 5 secs, then add 1/2 the meat, stir quickly and add a splash of fish sauce, once meat is cooked, remove to a plate. Repeat this with the rest of the garlic, chilli, meat and fish sauce but do not remove once cooked but add all the vegies, noodles and the other half of meat, mix all together over high heat. Lastely add the water/soya sauce mixture. Allow the whole dish to coat completely with the sauce and thicken and serve into deep bowls.

Serves 4

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Almond Bread (updated 29/11/12)



What a fabulous sweet to have with coffee or tea. No need to worry about the fat intake as there is no oil or butter in these biscuits. So quick and easy and a great way to use those egg whites after you've made custard (see profiteroles recipe below). You can also use pistachio nuts instead of the almonds or half of each. You won't be able to stop at one ! ENJOY...

3 egg whites
Pinch of Cream of Tartar
1/2 cup Caster Sugar
1 cup Plain Flour
125g whole unblanched Almonds (or more as preferred)

Preheat oven at 180oC (170oC fan-forced). Grease and bottom line 8cm x 26cm bar pan. Have egg whites preferably at room temperature and beat with cream of tartar at medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, a tablespoon at a time, beating until dissolved at each addition. Fold in flour and nuts. Spread mixture into prepared pan and bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until mixture slightly shrinks from the side of the pan. Allow to sit on the bench for 5 minutes before removing from pan. Allow tio cool on a wire rack before placing in a plastic bag to rest overnight. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut bread into 2 mm slices. Place slices in a single layer on oven trays, bake at 150oC fan-forced for 10 minutes then switch off oven and leave in oven until completely cool.  Store in sealed container...if they last that long.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Profiterols and Chocolate Eclairs





Enjoy these for after dinner dessert or with friends over a cuppa. They are not too sweet but still so yummy. Profiteroles are the round pastries with chocolate sauce and the Chocolate Eclairs are the long pastries with hard chocolate topping. The filling can either be custard or whipped cream. I made these for my brother as dessert after dinner, he loved them ! brought back memories when he made them himself at school, and I think I inspired him to make them himself, those that know him will properly say "yeah right..." Just come back for dinner again bro and I'll make them again for you.

Makes 42 Profiterols (approx)

** Choux Pastry recipe inspired by “the Margaret Fulton Cookbook” by Margaret Fulton
** Chocolate Sauce recipe inspired Australian Women’s Weekly “Dinner Party Cookbook No. 2”

Choux Pastry

1 cup plain flour
1 cup water
125g unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
4 eggs

Sift flour into a bowl and set aside. In a saucepan, over medium heat, add water, butter, sugar and salt. Stir to combine until melted and bring to a boil for ½ minute. Add flour all at once and stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate until mixture forms a ball and leaves the side of the pan. Remove from heat and place mixture into a food processor with blade attachment. Allow to cool to lukewarm. Add eggs, one at a time, and process until mixed through well. The mixture should be shiny and smooth.

Preheat oven to 200oC (190oC fan forced). Line baking trays with baking paper.

For Profiteroles - Fill piping bag with 14mm nozzle and pipe 3 cm rounds, 5cm apart onto baking trays. For Chocolate Eclairs - Fill piping bag with 14mm nozzle and pipe 8 cm long strips, 5cm apart onto baking trays. Bake immediately for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 190oC (180oC fan forced) and continue baking pastry rounds for 10 minutes. Remove trays from oven and with the tip of a knife make a small slit on the side of each pastry round. Return the pastry rounds to the oven and switch oven OFF. Leave the pastry rounds to cool in oven before filling with whipped cream or custard (recipe below) and topping with chocolate sauce (recipe below).

Custard

6 egg yolks
6 tab sugar
4 tab plain flour
1 teas vanilla essence
3 cups milk (full cream)

In a saucepan over medium heat, heat up milk until hot. Switch off Heat.

In a medium bowl, add egg yolks, sugar, flour and vanilla essence. Stir to combine using a balloon whisk. Add ½ of the milk into egg mixture and stir slowly to incorporate. Add the rest of the milk and continue stirring. Return egg/milk mixture back to saucepan and stir with balloon whisk until custard thickens, this should take around 10 – 15 minutes. Remove from heat and pour custard into a clean glass bowl. Cover the surface of custard with cling film and allow to cool to lukewarm. Then place in the fridge until required.

Chocolate Sauce (smooth & creamy)

60g unsalted butter
125g dark chocolate
½ cup icing sugar
1 cup sour cream

Place butter and chocolate in saucepan, stir over moderate heat until melted. Add sifted icing sugar, mix well. Remove from heat, add sour cream and stir until smooth and glossy. Serve warm. Can be reheated when required.

or for Chocolate Eclairs

Chocolate Topping (sets hard)

150g dark or milk chocolate
20g copha

In a small bowl put chocolate and copha and melt in microwave at 10 second intervals, stirring at each 10 seconds until smooth and melted. Dip tops of each Eclairs with chocolate and leave at room temperate to set hard or place Eclairs in fridge until ready to serve.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Lime Cheesecake




This lime cheesecake is so creamy and smooth - when you serve this cake you will find people coming back for seconds. I also made this for Easter Sunday along with the Flourless Chocolate Cake a great combination to serve the two together as chocolate and lime go so well together. A girlfriend of mine made this as the dessert after a wonderful meal and I was inspired - she was inspired by My Kitchen Rules - hence the recipe (as follows). Enjoy! And if you make it, let me know what you think...I think it's better than any other baked cheesecake I've made before (although my many friends would say nothing beats the Jamie Oliver cheesecake, which I'll post soon)...anyway you be the judge!

**Inspired by TV Show “My Kitchen Rules” Melbourne 2010)

Ingredients
3 x 250g packets cream cheese, softened
220g caster sugar
¼ teas vanilla extract (or ½ teas vanilla essence)
Zest and juice of 2 limes
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
125ml pouring cream
Fresh lime wedges and double cream, to serve

Then for the cheesecake base:
1 x 250g packet nice or granita biscuits (I used granita)
2 tab brown sugar, firmly packed
125g unsalted butter, melted

Method
1. To prepare the cheesecake base, process biscuits and sugar in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Add butter and process until combined. Line 22cm non-stick spring-form tin with baking paper. Spray vegetable oil all over the sides of the pan. Press mixture over the base of the tin. Use a palette knife to smooth the base. Place in the freezer for 1 hour or until hardened.

2. Preheat oven to 220oC (200oC fan-forced).

3. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, lime zest and juice in a bowl until just smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating until just combined. Add egg yolk and beat until just combined. Stir in cream. Pour mixture into tin over crumb base.

4. Bake on the lowest shelf for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 160oC (150oC fan forced) and bake a further 30 minutes or until mixture is almost set.

5. Cool cheesecake in oven with door slightly ajar. Once cool, cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Notes:
1. Use the base of a drinking glass to help press the crumbs over base of tin.

2. For a glamorous garnish, grate dark chocolate over top of cheesecake before serving – it has a natural affinity with lime.

3. Be careful to only remove the thin coloured part of the peel when zesting citrus fruit as the white pith underneath is very bitter.

4. Most cheesecakes are better made a day in advance. It gives the flavours time to develop and allows the texture to firm. Baked cheesecakes are best eaten at room temperature.

Flourless Chocolate Cake




Here is a gluten free recipe that uses almond meal instead of flour (wheat). I made this cake for Easter Sunday, so dense and moist and very popular, a thin slice just hits the spot. Serve with a dollop of cream to complete this delicious "eye-closing as you take a bite" chocolate cake.

** Adapted from “The Perfect Cookbook” by David Herbett

250g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
2/3 cup caster sugar
150g unsalted butter, cubed
1 tablespoon brandy
1 tablespoon strong black coffee
125g ground almonds or hazelnuts
5 eggs, separated


Preheat the oven to 180 C. Grease a 23 cm springform cake tin and line the base with baking paper.

Melt the chocolate, sugar, butter, brandy and coffee in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of hot water, stirring occasionally until smooth.

Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the ground nuts. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a separate clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form medium-firm peaks. Stir a third of the whites into the chocolate mixture to slacken it, then gently fold through the remaining whites with a large metal spoon or spatula.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 45 – 50 minutes, or until the cake is firm to the touch but still a little soft in the centre.

Allow to cool completely in the tin. The cake will sink a little as it cools. Carefully remove from the tin and serve lightly dusted with icing sugar.

Yummy Yum !!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Churros (Spanish Donuts)




We have just had a 8.30pm snack ! CHURROS (Spanish Donuts) - they were so yummy, crisp and fresh off the hot oil and showered with sugar. Wish all my family and friends lived near by so we could enjoy together. Here's the recipe if you dare to make them cause you won't stop eating them.

** Recipe Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens (TV Show Melbourne 2009)

Ingredients

100 ml milk
100 ml water
80 g butter, cubed
1 ½ tab caster sugar
Pinch salt
120 g plain flour
3 eggs
Vegetable oil for frying
Sugar, extra, for coating

Method

In a medium saucepan, place milk, water, butter, caster sugar and salt and stir over medium flame until butter melts. Bring to boil for 1 minute, while still on the boil put the flour in all at once and quickly stir with a wooden spoon until it all the mixture comes together and forms a ball, keep stirring for about 1 minute. Place the whole mixture into a food processor and let cool for 10 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, pulsing after each addition until mixed through. Heat oil over medium flame and test is oil is ready by dropping a small round piece of mixture into the oil. If it goes brown on one side within 30 seconds, it is ready. Place mixture into piping bag with small star nozzle and pipe long shapes straight into the hot oil. Turn the churros as they cook and remove from oil. Put churros on absorbent paper to soak up excess oil. Place sugar in brown paper bag and as they come off the heat pop each one individually in the bag to shake around and coat with sugar. Remove from bag and place on plate ready to eat. These are so so yummy you won’t want to stop at 10 !
(it will help if you had another helper with this recipe, one to cook and the other to coat)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Cupcakes by Georgette

ENJOY these photos - my sister Georgette baked and decorated them !