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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Anzac Biscuits



Today is ANZAC Day and there's no better day than today to bake a batch of these biscuits.  There are many variations and this is the one I used.  Adapted from "The Margaret Fulton Cookbook, The Australian Classic".  Hope you get a chance to bake a batch today... well with this rain it's the best day to stay indoors and enjoy with a cuppa.


Ingredients

1 cup rolled oats
¾ cup desiccated coconut
1 cup plain flour
1 cup sugar (I used ½ cup)
125g butter or margarine
1 tablespoon golden syrup
2 tablespoon boiling water
1 ½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

Method

1.                  Preheat oven to 150oC (140oC fan forced) and line a baking tray with baking paper.
2.                  In a large bowl mix together the oats, coconut, flour and sugar and set aside.
3.                  Melt the butter and golden syrup over a gentle heat, and then add the boiling water mixed with the bicarbonate of soda.  Pour into the mixed dry ingredients and blend well.
4.                  Form balls from the mixture and flatten between the palms of your hands.
5.                  Place on the baking tray and bake at 150oC (fan forced) for 20 mins or until brown. 
6.                  Biscuits will still be soft when they are ready but will harden as they cool.  Allow to cool on oven tray before storing in airtight container.



Sunday, April 22, 2012

Donuts




We enjoyed these donuts after lunch today.  They do take some time as you need to allow the dough to prove twice but they are worth it.  I've been wanting to make these for a long time and so decided today was the day.

Ingredients

4 cups (600g) plain flour
2 teas bread improver (optional)
2 teas salt
2 tab sugar
2 tab yeast
300ml warm milk
100g butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Sunflower oil or Canola oil for deep frying
¾ cup caster sugar mixed with ¼ teas cinnamon powder for coating the donuts

Method

1.                  In a large bowl mix together flour, bread improver, salt, sugar and yeast.
2.                  In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and then add milk and stir until heated through and warm.
3.                  Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add the eggs, then add the milk and butter mixture.
4.                  Stir with a wooden spoon until it comes together and then tip dough onto a lightly floured bench and knead until smooth, for a couple of minutes.
5.                  Place the dough back into the bowl and allow to rest in a warm place for about 1 hour or until double in size.
6.                  Remove the dough from the bowl and knead for a couple more minutes.
7.                  Roll out to a flat disc of about 2cm and using a round cutter, cut out balls of dough.
8.                  Place the balls onto a Teflon or baking paper lined tray and allow to rest in a warm place until the balls have puffed up, about ½ hour.
9.                  Place the sugar and cinnamon in a large brown paper bag.
10.              Heat the sunflower oil in a medium saucepan until it reaches 180oC (using a cooking thermometer).
11.              Place the puffed balls in the oil, around 4 at a time, do not crowd the saucepan.  Turn when brown on each side and remove onto a plate lined with a paper towel.
12.              Place the warm donut in the sugar in the paper bag and shake the bag to coat the donut.
13.              Pipe jam or custard into the side of each donut.
14.              These are now ready to eat !
                         

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Macarons


Here is my attempt at Macarons ! And here is the recipe.


Ingredients

Macarons
3 large egg whites – about 140g
85g (2/3 cup) almond meal
150g (1 ½ cups) pure icing sugar
65g (5 tab) caster sugar
Flavouring essence

Filling
2 cups icing sugar mixture
2 tab margarine
Flavouring essence
Colour


Method

1.                  Day 1 - Before you start make sure the egg whites are at room temperature:  The egg whites should be “aged”.  This means allowing the egg whites to sit in a container on the bench for 24 hours (or less if time is limited).  If this is not possible, use the most oldest eggs you’ve got in the fridge.

2.                  Day 2 – Making the Macarons
Prepare the dry ingredients:  Sift the icing sugar in one bowl and the almond meal into another.  Resift both again and then sift together into one bowl.  Set this bowl aside.
3.                  Prepare the baking trays:  Using a round plastic milk bottle lid as a guide, draw circles on baking paper (this will line the baking trays to cook the macarons).  Set this aside until ready to pipe the macaron mixture.
4.                  Whisk the egg whites and sugar:  Place the egg whites in a large bowl and using the stand mixture or a hand held electric mixture, start beating the egg whites on low to medium speed until the egg whites are foamy.  Slowly add the caster sugar a tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated.  Continue beating until smooth and shiny and the sugar has dissolved in the egg whites.  You can test this by tasting the egg white and there’s no sugar granules present.  You can also test if the egg whites are ready by tipping the bowl upside down and that ensures the eggs are stiff enough, otherwise if it’s not it would be on the floor !
5.                  Now it’s time to add the dry mix:  Add all the almond and sugar mixture and using a rubber spatula fold the mixture together, in and around and up and down until it is thoroughly mixed through.  You will know you have mixed it well enough and ready for piping when the mixture feels like “volcano magna” or it forms a ribbon when dropped from the spatula and it stays as a ribbon for 30 seconds.
6.                  Now is the time for flavour and colouring as you prefer:  If you would like to make different colours, and flavours, divide the mixture into separate bowls and add the colours and flavours, a drop at a time.  It’s best to use colour pastes or powders for this as liquid powders can make the mixture too wet.
7.                  Pipe the macarons:  Insert a small nozzle into the piping bag and fill the bag with the mixture.  Turn the baking paper unside down so the penciled circles are underneath.  Pipe right into the centre of the circle but leave a small edge around the circle.  This will allow the macaron to spread later to the desired size.  Once you have completed piping, tap the tray a couple of times on the bench to get rid of any air bubbles.
8.                  Resting the macarons.  Allow the macarons to rest on the bench until dried.  To test touch with your finger and if it’s still sticky it needs more time but if its dry it’s ready to go into the oven.  This could take anywhere between ½ hour to 2 hours.
9.                  Preheat your oven at 150oC and when it’s reached that temperature you can place your macarons in the oven.
10.              Cook your macarons for about 15 minutes or until they are dry when you touch them.
11.              Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the oven tray.  Once cooled removed from the tray and fill with the choice of your filling.

Filling - Buttercream
2 cups icing sugar mixture, sifted
2 tab margarine
Dash of milk
Flavouring and colouring

Mix all the ingredients together to form the consistency of the filling required.

Filling – Chocolate Ganache
¼ cup cream
75g dark chocolate
75g milk chocolate

Warm the cream in the microwave then add the chocolate and stir around until chocolate is coated with the cream.  Stir with the spoon until smooth.  Allow to cool until stiff.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Homemade Pasta !

More photos !


Homemade Pasta !



Today the boys and I made Homemade Pasta. We used 10 eggs and about 10 cups of plain flour and more. The boys have been hanging out to make these for ages and finally we did. They of course had 2 large serves with butter and cheese but I like it with fresh tomato sauce that I made. There was lots of flour everywhere but it was a fun day !

Stuffed Peppers



Here is a quick recipe for stuffed peppers. You can use any hollow vegetable you like, eg eggplant, zucchini, potato or even tomato. I don't have a real recipe. My beautiful mum just came around for lunch one Sunday and as i was getting lunch ready, I sat her down at the table with all the ingredients and she just did her thing without a recipe and produced this lovely side dish for us to enjoy. Give them a try and just adjust the ingredients to suit your taste.

Ingredients

Any hollow vegetables of your choice stuffed with the following
Uncooked rice
Minced meat
Tomato sauce/passata
Parsley
Salt/Pepper

Method

Line the stuffed vegetables in an oven tray. Mix a little tomato sauce/passata together and add to the tray until the veggies are half covered. Cover with foil and place in the oven until all cooked. Remove the foil to dry up the sauce a little.

Amira's Strawberry/Nutella Swirl Scones



Here is a twist on the traditional scones with jam and cream. Enjoy with lots of kids and great now to have during school holidays. You can serve these just dusted with icing sugar or with a dollop of cream.

Ingredients

4 cups self-raising flour
2 tab castor sugar
150g cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1 ¾ cups milk (may need a little more)
Enough strawberry jam or any other jam you prefer OR Nutella to use for filling

Method

1. Preheat your oven to 200oC. Place baking paper onto large round baking pan.
2. Put the flour and sugar into a food processor and whiz them together to combine. Add the butter and process the mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs, then tip it into a bowl. (you can also do this by hand in a large bowl. Simply rub the butter chunks into the flour mixture with your fingertips.) Pour in the milk and mix it in lightly, cutting through it with a knife until it comes together. Do not overmix. Divide the mixture into 2.
3. Put one half onto a floured plastic dough sheet and roll out with a rolling pin, adding more flour to the dough and rolling pin to avoid it sticking. Roll out into a large disk until 2mm thick or approx 45cm wide all around. Transfer this large flat piece of dough onto a large baking pan and set aside. (You can do this by rolling the dough around the rolling pin and then unrolling it flat again.)
4. Repeat the process with the other half of the dough but leave it flat on the plastic dough sheet. Press the jam of your choice or the chocolate Nutella thinly onto this round disk of dough and then place the over round disk of dough on top, making it into a big sandwich. Using the rolling pin, lightly roll to press the two together enclosing the jam or Nutella.
5. From the longest end, roll the disk tightly into a swiss roll and then cut swirls about 5 cms along. Place onto lined baking pan, cut side up and about 5mm apart. Bake in moderate oven 200oC for 20 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and let it sit for 10 minutes before sprinkling with icing sugar.

Serve just as it is or with whipped cream.

YUMMY YUM - ENJOY

Kourabiethes (Greek Shortbread Biscuits)



If you love buttery, melt in your mouth biscuits, you'll love these. They're so easy to make and your can substitute walnuts for roasted almonds.

Ingredients

1 cup icing sugar
500g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
¼ cup brandy
1 cup oil (“Moro” extra light olive oil or Canola Oil or Sunflower oil)
3 cups self raising flour
3 cup plain flour
1 cup cornflour
1 ½ cups walnuts, chopped

Method

1. Preheat oven 180oC. Line baking trays with baking paper.
2. Combine butter, oil, icing sugar and brandy in a large bowl and mix with electric mixer until light and very creamy. Mix for about 5 minutes.
3. Add self raising flour, plain flour, cornflour and walnuts.
4. Mix all together and bring together flatten on the bench.
5. Cut into crescent shape and bake in oven 180oC for 20 minutes or until brown underneath.
6. When cool, coat in icing sugar.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Ma'amoul (Lebanese Easter Biscuits)



(Makes 130 – 140 biscuits approx)

A couple of us gorgeous girls got together and made these scrumptious Lebanese Easter Biscuits. It was a real community affair, we felt like we were in Lebanon with the smell of rose water and orange blossom and the kitchen table full of ingredients and nuts, a little belly dance and Lebanese music just made it feel so real. To make authentic ma’amoul you will need to purchase a ma’amoul mould available from a Middle Eastern grocer. Some of the ingredients below, eg semolina and mahelpi are also available from a Middle Eastern grocer. You will need to begin this recipe the night before and I’ve specified this in the recipe.

I hope you enjoy reading (and one day attempting) this recipe for Ma’amoul, we certainly enjoyed making them and eating them too !

Ingredients

3 kilo fine semolina
3 kilo coarse (medium) semolina
3 teaspoons ground nutmeg
3 teaspoons mahlepi
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 kilo unsalted butter, softened in microwave
2 coffee cups (Italian size) rose water
2 coffee cups (Italian size) orange blossom water
2 teaspoons dry yeast
5 - 6 cups of lukewarm water (approx)
1 kilo pure icing sugar
“old fashion” greaseproof paper (for wrapping walnut ma’amoul)
Fillings

Date Filling
1 kilo pitted dates
½ cup sugar
200g unsalted butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Walnut & Pistachio Filling
1 kilo walnuts
250g pistachio
2 cups caster sugar

METHOD

Day 1 (the night before)

1. Semolina Dough: In a very, very large bowl mix both semolina together. Add nutmeg, mahlepi and baking powder. Add butter a little at a time and mix together with your hands, rubbing between both hands and making sure all the semolina is mixed thoroughly with the butter. With your hands pattern a “sign of the cross” over the semolina dough and allow to rest on the bench over night, bowl covered with a damp tea towel.
2. Date Filling: Melt pitted, chopped dates in a medium saucepan with unsalted butter, sugar and cinnamon, mixed until soft. When soft mash together using a potato masher. Pour the date mixture into a slice pan and allow to cool over night in the fridge.
3. Walnut Filling: Crush the walnuts and pistachio and add to the large bowl. Mix together with sugar.

Day 2

1. Preheat oven 180oC. Line baking trays with baking paper.
2. Remove dates from fridge.
3. To the bowl of mixed nuts add sugar, rose water and orange blossom water.
4. Using a large mug dissolve yeast in ¾ cups of the lukewarm water, stirring with a spoon. Pour the yeast mixture over semolina mixture, across the “sign of the cross” in the bowl. Mix all together ensuring the whole mixture is coated with the yeast mixture. Continue to add more lukewarm water to the semolina mixture until a dough consistency is formed and a ball of dough can be formed (very large walnut size), holding it’s shape and without falling apart. You can also check consistency by flattening the ball of dough in the palm of your hands checking that it holds its shape readying for filling.
5. Now you are ready to fill the ma’amoul. You will grab a large walnut size piece of dough and flatten slightly between both hands. Grab either a teaspoon of date mixture or a teaspoon of nut mixture and place in the middle of the flattened dough. Close the dough together and bring together as a ball again. Place the filled ball into the ma’amoul mould and flatten to encase the mould, ensuring the pattern underneath the mould will be obtained onto the dough from underneath. Turn the mould over onto an old chopping board and bang hard on the board to release the filled dough.
6. Place the ma’amoul onto the baking sheet about ½ cm apart and baking in preheated oven at 180oC for about 20 minutes or until the underside is lightly browned.
7. Once cooked remove the ma’amoul and place on a wire rack to cool.
8. Coating the walnut filled ma’amoul with icing sugar. Traditionally this is only done to the walnut/pistachio ma’amoul. Place icing sugar in a large tray and individually coat each walnut filled ma’amoul with icing sugar until fully coated.
9. Wrapping the walnut filled ma’amoul with greaseproof paper. Take a 22cm x 24cm piece of greaseproof paper and lay flat on the bench. Turn the paper so that you can see it as a diamond shape. Take a ma’amoul and place in the middle of the diamond. Take the top point of the diamond and cover the ma’amoul. Looking at the covered ma’amoul, take the top right part of the greaseproof paper and start twisting the paper all around the edge of the ma’amoul until the whole ma’amoul is covered, tucking the end of the greaseproof paper under the ma’amoul.
10. Store the ma’amoul in an airtight container to keep fresh.