Tuesday 31 December 2013

December 2013 - Crumbed chicken burger with cabbage slaw and coconut mayo

I has been a very long year and I am so very tired at the moment. It seems like there was no slowing down this year. I have a number of goals for the coming new year. The first is to continue on with my swimming and keep losing weight. I also want to start cooking more and eating better than I have the last couple of months. So with the increase in cooking I hope to increase my posting on here. No guarantees but it is certainly something that I am looking to achieve. I do have a heap of stuff that I have cooked over the past few months that I have just never gotten around to posting so I will post those interspersed with new stuff. 

I was a bit let down by this issue. To be honest I didn't really want to make much out of it. The cover recipe does look awesome. There are quite a few steps involved but since this is a December/January issue I will have some time to make all the components. I may get it done for the January posting.

I decided to make the Crumbed whiting burgers with cabbage slaw and coconut mayo. I couldn't get whiting and decided that instead of trying another fish, which I don't really like, I would just do it with chicken. I wasn't super impressed with the mayo. The coconut flavour didn't really seem to come through. It was just a standard egg mayo with coconut cream and toasted desiccated coconut added to it. I think a plain mayo would have been just as good. 

The recipe had the fish done in flour/egg/crumbs and then deep fried. The flour was seasoned with lemon pepper seasoning, I added this to the crumbs. I prefer to coat in natural yoghurt and then crumbs. I find it much better taste wise. Although if deep frying the yoghurt may not work. I shallow fried so it didn't really matter. 

The coleslaw was just cabbage, it was supposed to be red & green but I didn't have any red, carrot and some of the mayo. It was rather boring and as I said before the mayo didn't have any real spark to it.

Overall it was okay but I won't be rushing off to make it again any time soon. 

Thursday 21 November 2013

November 2013 - Tapas

I am not going to post any of the recipes for this tapas "feast" as I didn't really think they were that great. The romesco sauce was nice but I have had better. The patas bravas was good but really how could shallow-fried potatoes with a tomato sauce be bad? This whole thing too me ages to prepare and a lot of multi-tasking while cooking. It also cost quite a bit for all the ingredients and it really wasn't worth it. 

Served was sherry-glazed chorizo and chickpeas, squid with romesco sauce, grilled spring onions with jamon, broad beans and artichokes and patatas bravas. 

Friday 15 November 2013

Thursday 14 November 2013

Ham Glazes

The forums over on Taste.com.au are down at the moment and have been for some time. I know one person looking for one of these glazes so thought that it would be easiest to post them on here. The lovely members over at Taste forums have some fabulous recipes, fingers crossed we can get back on there one day. I will be a bit more diligent about saving after this. I will link both of these recipes back to the sources as soon as it is up and running again. 

 The first recipe is by forum member ParisLady.

PL’s Ham Glaze

Half a cup of brown sugar
Quarter of a cup of brandy (or whatever spirit you have - I used Gentleman Jack bourbon)
Third of a cup of honey
One tablespoon of seeded mustard
One tablespoon of Dijon mustard

Combine all ingredients well

Use a sharp knife to cut (in a zig zag fashion) around the shank of your ham, about 8 -10cm from the end. Run a knife under the rind around edge of ham, easing the rind off but trying to leave as much smooth fat on the ham as possible.

Score the fat in a diamond pattern and baste ham well. I don't use cloves for my ham - after one Christmas when I bit into a full clove with my mouthful of ham and I don't want to repeat the experience. (I don't think it needs the cloves or that they add anything.)

Cook in a 160 degree oven for two hours, basting every 20 minutes.

The second one is from forum member Traveller. 

Traveller’s Ham Glaze

My Christmas ham Glaze is always Coopers Oxford Seville Orange Marmalade* (1 Jar) and (Beauforts) extra strong Dijon mustard (5 generous Tablespoons, or 4 tablespoons of any Dijon Mustard and 1 of Hot English Mustard).
Combine and stir together over low heat until amalgamated, remove the skin of the ham leaving a thin layer of fat and score it in a diamond pattern, spike the interstices with a clove, then generously brush over the marinade; baste by brushing with additional glaze every 15 minutes while you "bake" the ham. 

*Forum member didn't have access to that particular marmalade and just used a regular one. 

To anyone who tries them, enjoy and let me know what they are like or pop on over to the forum when they are back online to let all of us know. 

Wednesday 13 November 2013

Baked cinnamon ricotta drizzled with honey and berries

This was super easy to make and very tasty. Lovely little morning or afternoon tea dish. The ricotta would also be fabulous for breakfast served on toast. I made half the recipe and I easily got four servings out of it. I have noticed this a lot lately, that the suggested serving sizes are massive. Most of the time I can halve a recipe and still get plenty of food out of it. If it wasn't that bit more difficult I would start quartering recipes but it takes that bit extra work and sometimes when I have taken the time to work it out the end result isn't that great. Some recipes just aren't meant to be made in such small quantities. This one probably wouldn't have been too bad. I find that recipes with eggs are the hardest. 

I would recommend making this one. I really enjoyed it and will make it again.

Tuesday 29 October 2013

October 2013 - Couscous, watermelon & feta salad with spiced lamb

Nothing to much to say. This was nice but I made a few changes. I didn't have lamb backstrap so I just used some lamb cutlets. There was no vegetables in the meal at all so I added cherry tomatoes, asparagus and snow peas. The dressing was a bit sweet for me. I doubt I would make this again. 

Couscous, watermelon & feta salad with spiced lamb

125 g Pearl couscous
1/4 c evoo
2 x 250 g lamb backstraps 
1/3 c dukkah
Zest & juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp honey
1/4 seedless watermelon, sliced
150 g marinated feta, crumbled
2 cups picked watercress sprigs

Cook couscous as per packet instructions. 
Season & cook lamb in a medium high heat. Remove from pan & roll in dukkah. 
Combine lemon zest & juice, honey and oil. Add couscous and stir to combine. 
Slice lamb & serve on top of couscous with watercress, watermelon & feta. 

Monday 21 October 2013

Peppered Beef Stir-fry

I made this for the Cooks Club Challenge over on Taste. This month it has been recipes from the 30 Minute Meals collection. There is still some time left in the month so if you are an Aussie pop on over, make a recipe and post a photo. This month the prize is a copy of the Sydney Seafood School cookbook by Roberta Muir. I am not really big on seafood but I am sure there is someone out there that would love the book.

I am going to admit to being a food magazine snob. When I search for a recipe on Taste I tend to bypass recipes from Super Food Ideas. I have found that so many of them call for a jar of this and/or a packet of that. Some of them really aren't recipes at all as far as I am concerned just combining pre-prepared items. I have found the occasional good one and this Peppered Beef Stir-fry is one of them. I actually had some char siu sauce in the fridge, who know how long it had been there, so it was definitely time to use it up. I would suggest that 1/3 cup is too much though. I think that 1/4 cup would be plenty. I also didn't put the left over marinade in as there was enough still on the meat. I used snow peas, asparagus and spinach for the vegetables and served with noodles. I really enjoyed this. The pepper came through nicely even with the strong flavours from the char siu sauce and soy sauce. It was nice and quick for a mid-week meal. I would definitely make it again. 

Monday 14 October 2013

Strawberry & Basil Ice Cream

Yes! You read that right strawberry & basil ice cream. It is strawberries this month for the Bake Club competition over on Taste. If you are an Aussie pop on over and have a look. With a copy of The Commonsense Cookery Book - The Kitchen classic up for grabs it is worth throwing something together from the collection. 

This is also a delicious mag recipe and I remember seeing it in the magazine at the time and being intrigued by the combination. It has been one of those recipes that pops up when searching for other recipes. I decided that it was finally time to give it a whirl for the competition. 

I wish that I had tried on every other occasion I have looked at the recipe as it is incredible. I really wasn't that sure about the combination but it just seems to go together perfectly. I only had blood oranges so the colour is a little deeper. It is a lower fat content ice cream so it does harden up quite a bit and even when softened I found it doesn't scoop that easily. It does have just the right sweetness, tang and herby flavours. I would definitely make this again. 

Tuesday 8 October 2013

Cheesy Pesto Mushroom Burger

It was, apparently, world vegetarian day on October 2nd. I only discovered it when I was reading one of the newspapers online. There seems to be a day for every thing now. I try to make a vegetarian dishes regularly anyway. I had planned to make a mushroom burger the day before but didn't get it made so I decided to give it a go. 

It turned out to be an interesting exercise. I had the mushroom out and turned on the oven and then the power went out and remained out for almost 12 hours. So the rest of the meal was made by torch and candle light. I spread the inside of the mushroom with pesto and then put sliced havarti cheese in it, dipped in egg and finally coated in bread crumbs. Thankfully I have a baby Q weber bbq so I was still able to cook. I was going to make chips to go with it but I didn't know how to do that on the bbq and after prepping the mushroom via torchlight I didn't feel like doing any more. I was really pleased with how this turned out. I was concerned that the crumbs would burn on the bbq but they didn't. I haven't used my weber a lot so far but now that it is starting to heat up I plan to use it a lot more. I also took the photo via torch and candle light and it turned out better than expected. 

Monday 7 October 2013

Pork Belly with Caramel Dressing

Like my last post this dish was made for the September Cook's Club Challenge over on Taste forums. The challenge was to choose a recipe from the Spring recipes collection. There was some fantastic looking recipes in the collection and there was a number of different ones that I had bookmarked to make. However this was the only one that I did get around to making. My cooking as been rather dull lately. Nothing too exciting but it is food and keeps me alive. I am hoping to get back into some more exciting food with this month's challenge, the latest delicious magazine and some of my cookbooks. The cookbooks have been languishing on the shelf so time to pull them out and cook a few things. 

The Pork Belly with Caramel Dressing recipe comes from the November 2010 issue of delicious magazine. I love pork belly and have often looked at this recipe while browsing through the pork belly recipes on Taste. So when it came up in the collection I decided it was the recipe to make. It was so good. I ended up cooking it for closer to 2 hours but my piece of belly was a bit bigger. I ended up turning the grill on at the end to finish off the crackle. What made it for me was the dressing. The flavours were just wonderful. It was beautifully spiced with the star anise and the sweetness partners so well with the pork. I don't think that I reduced it quite enough. I think it would be better if it had been a bit more syrupy and it just didn't get there for me. I served with steamed broccolini and rice to which I added mint. I highly recommend this dish. 

Sunday 6 October 2013

Moroccan orange blossom and cardamom yoghurt cake

Over on Taste forums there is monthly cooking and baking competitions, if you are an Aussie pop on over and have a look at the challenges for this month. Last month it was any recipe from the Morning & Afternoon Tea collection. I wanted to make something a little different so and chose the Moroccan orange blossom and cardamom yoghurt cake. It seemed like such an unusual combination but it was wonderful. The lemony cardamom combined beautifully with the orange blossom water. It was rather sweet but I think that little bursts of pomegranate served with it would cut that a bit. I couldn't get any pomegranate so served with some chopped pistachios. I would definitely make this one again. 

Friday 4 October 2013

Haloumi French Toast with Chorizo & Mushrooms

This is a once a year, or maybe decade, breakfast. I found the recipe over on taste.com.au and I knew that I just had to make it. It was stunning. So much flavour going on in there. Incredibly rich and ridiculously filling. It was ever so good though and I would definitely recommend trying it. Chorizo and haloumi are natural companions. I use them together regularly. The only thing I did find was that it was a bit salty. I think that would depend on the brand of cheese. Like feta the brand seems to make a difference in the saltiness of the cheese. I think some cherry tomatoes thrown in the pan with with chorizo and mushrooms would be excellent. I didn't have any almonds so didn't worry about them.

Thursday 3 October 2013

Cake Decorating

I have done a few cakes since I posted one. The first was a repeat on Peppa pig. My god-daughter was going to have a princess party until I was showing her mum photos of the Peppa Pig cake which said little girl saw too. Her mum said that for the next two weeks she went around telling everyone she was having a Peppa Pig party. lol

The next was a quick cake for a friend's daughter. I had to make this one for the weekend after being away for a week. I made the cakes before I went away and froze them. I decided to try something new and used buttercream and did the ombre look. It is a lovely cake and really wasn't hard to do but I much prefer working with fondant.

For the same weekend I made this little cake topper for a friend of a friend. Nice little quick one using leftover coloured fondant.

Finally, I made another Skylanders cake for the same little boy as last year. I was sent a screen cap of a cake by text and asked if I could replicate it. I have tried to find the source photo but have been unable to. I would love to be able to credit the person so if you know who did a similar cake design (with handmade figurines which I didn't make) please let me know. This one was lit up with lights again. Flickering again only this time the lights were green and purple. When I was asked if I could do them coloured I had no idea how I was going to do it. I ended up colouring them in with texta. It worked really well. However my lights are now permanently purple and green. If anyone else wants a lighted cake it will be purple and green. lol

Video of the lights

Monday 23 September 2013

September 2013 - Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate Cookies

All of the recipes I wanted to make from this issue were sweet things. I have talked before about limitations on baking since I live on my own. I do give some away to friends but even so I can't give them everything. 

The first thing I really wanted to make was the little strawberry galettes. These look so easy but they had marzipan in them and I just hate marzipan and I wasn't really sure what to replace that with. They are stunning looking and the strawberries are so good at the moment so I might find a way to make something similar. 

I really want to try the Watermelon & rose layer cake. I never would have thought about including watermelon in a cake. It certainly isn't a cake that would keep for any length of time given how wet watermelon is. I think that it would quickly send the cake soggy. It is a very interesting combination though so I hope to get an opportunity to make it some time. 

In the end I decided to make the Peanut butter & dark chocolate cookies. The picture in the magazine they looked really good. The recipe sounded great. I ended up with a very loose dough and it was very difficult to roll into balls. I also found that mine spread out a lot more than the photo in the magazine showed. They still tasted great and everyone I shared them with loved them. Very tasty recipe but I am not sure I would make them again. 

Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate Cookies 

100 g unsalted butter, chopped
200 g dark chocolate, chopped 
1/3 c (100g) crunchy peanut butter
2/3 c caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/4 c (185 g) plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped 

Pre heat oven - 180 C

Combine butter & 100 g chocolate in a bowl over simmering water and stir until melted. Remove from heat. 
Stir in peanut butter, followed by sugar & egg. Sift over flour, bicarb and cocoa and fold in. Fold half remaining chocolate. 
Combine remaining chocolate and nuts. 
Roll dough into balls, flatten slightly and press on some of the nut mixture. Bake 12 - 15 min or until cooked but still soft in the centre. 

Sunday 22 September 2013

Asado in Black Sauce with Chocolate

I haven't bought an issue of Feast magazine in a long time. I did buy the first 6 or 8 issues but found that it wasn't really my thing. I found that a majority of the recipes called for speciality ingredients that I just could not get easily or, because they were perishable, not at all. There were no substitutes offered for those speciality ingredients. The reason given for this was to encourage people to seek out the ingredients in areas they wouldn't normally go. This is fine if you are in a city but when in a regional area it is a lot more difficult and can end up very expensive. Most of the time when I would go looking for ingredients online there out be only one thing that I would want to purchase from the particular online store, or I would pad out orders to make the postage seem worthwhile. However all that ended up happening was I got a bunch of stuff in my pantry that I didn't really want. So I stopped seeking the ingredients out and then stopped buying the magazine altogether.

Occasionally a cover would catch my eye and I would flick through it but I was never struck enough to purchase. However, this time I was caught by two things. The idea on the front cover of how to make my own mozzarella and haloumi, which I haven't done yet, and the Asado in black sauce with chocolate recipe. The picture just looked fantastic and I have always been interested in how chocolate works in savoury dishes. This was really, really easy to make. I know from previous recipes that my butcher does up packs of beef short ribs so I just bought some of them instead of asking for asado. Besides the ribs all I had to do was to buy some red wine. It turned out to be an expensive trip as they had one of my favourite wines on special, 2 for $40 when they are $32 each so I bought 4...oops. Since the recipe only used 1 cup I didn't buy anything else for cooking with. The meat ended up fall off the bone and the chocolate added an amazing richness to the sauce. Just a little bit of sweetness but so much depth. I was actually surprised at just how much it added to the over all dish. I wasn't really sure what to serve with it and looked around for something to go with it. In the end though I decided to go with something simple on the side so as not to take away from the flavour of the ribs and served with steamed broccoli and corn on the cob. I highly recommend this dish and I will definitely be making this again. 

Asado in Black Sauce with Chocolate 

1 kg asado beef ribs (or short ribs) 
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped 
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper 
60 ml olive oil 
1 onion, finely chopped 
1 celery stick finely chopped 
1 large carrot, finely chopped
110 g dark brown sugar (I didn't have dark so used regular)
70 g tomato paste 
1 c (250 ml) red wine
2 c (500 ml) beef stock 
20 g 70% dark chocolate, finely chopped

Grind 3 garlic cloves, oregano, allspice, cayenne and 1/2 tsp salt into a paste. Rub all over meat, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. 

Brown on each side in batches, set aside. Cook onion, celery, carrot and the remaining garlic until softened. Add sugar and cook 2 min. Add tomato paste, cook 2 min. Return ribs with wine & stock, bring to the boil and then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 2 hours or until tender. (I think it would be good at about 160 C in the oven too). 

Remove ribs. Boil sauce until reduced 1/3. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Pour over ribs to serve. 

Thursday 5 September 2013

Fennel, Thyme & Parmesan Gratin

The Fennel, Thyme & Parmesan Gratin was a wonderful side dish. The combination was lovely. The fennel came through really well. I thought that it might have been swamped by the parmesan and thyme but it really wasn't. Also for a dish that has cream, butter and parmesan it wasn't as rich as I thought it might be. It went perfectly with the pan-fried pork chop and green beans to round out the meal. I would highly recommend this dish. The recipe is from Australian Good Taste June 2011.

Fennel Thyme & Parmesan Gratin

Melted butter, to grease
1 fennel bulb, top trimmed, cut lengthways into 3cm slices
25g (1/3 cup) fresh breadcrumbs (made from day-old bread)
20g (1/4 cup) finely grated parmesan
40g butter, chopped
6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked
125ml (1/2 cup) pouring cream
Brush a baking dish with melted butter. Cook the fennel in a saucepan of boiling water for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Arrange the fennel over the base of the prepared dish. Top with the breadcrumbs, parmesan, butter and thyme. Drizzle with cream. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden. Season with salt and pepper.

Saturday 31 August 2013

August 2013 - Roasted Root Vegetable Stew

I lost my cooking mojo a while ago which, subsequently, made me lose my blogging mojo. 

I have actually made two things from this issue. Although I accidentally deleted the photo of Curtis Stone's Sherry-braised pork shoulder with asiago mash from my camera card by accident. I thought I had already downloaded it, turned out I hadn't. Not that it was much of a loss of a photo. While the dish was fabulous with lots of flavour with a tang from the sherry and sherry vinegar. The meat was melty and oozy but it didn't really photograph well. It really looked like I had just dumped it on the plate, splat. With the mash I used a combination of potato and sweet potato and because I couldn't get asiado cheese I used their suggestion of mozzarella. I am not sure I would worry about the cheese in the mash again. It was lovely but the pork dish was already rich and since the mash was made using cream the addition of cheese was just a bit much for me. It made enough at there was plenty left over but I vac packed and froze them. I could take one out and photograph it but it would probably look worse. 

The other dish that I made was Jamie Oliver's Roasted Root Vegetable Stew with Herby Couscous. This was really good. Although I have to question the use of butternut pumpkin in something called "root vegetable" but hey, it tasted good. It also called for celeriac and on the day they only ones available were really soft, spongy and very sad looking so I bought some turnip instead. Since there was a decided lack of green in the dish I added some halved brussels sprouts when roasting. They ended up a bit dark so I think I would either do them whole next time or would add them in a bit later. The couscous went with it beautifully. This is one I would definitely make again. It was especially good after a couple of days without too many veg included with meals. 

Roasted Root Vegetable Stew with Herby Couscous

1 sweet potato, peeled & chopped 
1/4 butternut pumpkin, chopped 
2 carrots, chopped 
2 turnip, chopped 
6-8 baby brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
Splash red wine vinegar (I used raspberry) 
1 tsp dried thyme
1/3 c olive oil 
1 red onion, sliced 
1 bay leaf
1 rosemary sprig, leaves chopped 
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp tomato paste 
400g can tomatoes 
2 c (500ml) vegetable stock

1/4 c couscous
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped 
lemon juice

Combine root veg, tbsp oil, vinegar and thyme. Roast at 200 C for 40 min or until just cooked. 

In a saucepan cook red onion for 5 min over low heat. Add bay leaf, rosemary and flour and cook for a further 5 min or until onion is soft. Add tomato paste and cook for 2 min. Add tomatoes & 400 ml stock. Simmer for 20 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add roasted veg and then cook a further 10 min. 

For couscous: add couscous and remaining 100ml hot stock to a bowl and cover and stand for 5 min. Add parsley and squeeze lemon juice. 

Sunday 21 July 2013

12 hour roast lamb

I had good intentions of posting consistently this month. As you may have noticed it really hasn't happened. I have meals that I made ages ago that need to be blogged but just haven't gotten around to doing them. I think that I may have mentioned at some stage previously that I have depression and sometimes it just gets on top of me. I am really struggling with it at the moment. I usually like to "cook my way out" however even that is a struggle at the moment. Cooked meals are few and far between, well at least anything that involves any work. There has been quite a few "antipasto" plates, tins of soup and too many takeaways, mainly McDonalds.... The lack of good food contributes to the problem so it is important for me to start cooking my way out. 

Last weekend I did a pork roast which turned out really well and gave me leftovers, that I took to work for lunches. So I decided to do another roast this weekend. A couple of months ago I purchased a whole lamb, all cut up. I forgot to get the butcher to cut the leg roast in half. They are pretty big and I had been planning to save them for when I had visitors (rare) or cook and take it somewhere. However yesterday I thought that I should just cook it for myself and then I can freeze some for later. I didn't want to just do anything I wanted something a bit different. I had heard before about making 12-hour roasts and thought that this would be a perfect opportunity. All the recipes that I saw involve rosemary, which is traditional with lamb, but I really don't like rosemary. I searched all over the place but could not find a recipe for anything that I wanted to make. So I made it up as I went along. 

1 leg lamb
2 cloves garlic, sliced 
Peel from 1/2 lemon, chopped into small pieces
1 tbsp sumac
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses 
1 tbsp olive oil 
1 carrot
1 onion
1 celery stick
1 c chicken stock (some wine would be nice too) 
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses extra 

Pre-heat oven to 100 C
Pierce lamb with a knife and place pieces of garlic and lemon in the holes. Sprinkle with sumac and rub in. Combine pom molasses and olive oil brush over lamb. 
Chop carrot, onion & celery and place in bottom of baking dish and place lamb on top. Pour stock into the bottom of the pan. Cover with a double layer of foil and roast in the oven for 11 hours. 
Remove from oven, increase temperature to 200 C and place tray of mixed veg, I used pumpkin, potato, sweet potato and baby turnips, to roast. 
Drain liquid from lamb and then drizzle with extra pomegranate molasses and place back in the oven for 30 minutes. 
Skim fat off the liquid, bring to boil and reduce by half. I added some cornflour to thicken after about 20 minutes. 
Remove lamb from the oven, cover with foil and let rest until vegetables are completely cooked, another 20 - 30 minutes. 
Serve lamb with gravy, roast veg and steamed greens. 

Sunday 7 July 2013

July 2013 - Chocolate Chilli Tart

I am not going to pfaff about with what is on the inside of the front cover. There are other things to make, and I may get to those later, but to start with I just could not go past the cover recipe. I have often lamented about the glorious cover recipes with desserts on the front and wanting to make them but no one to cook for. It hasn't changed but this time around I didn't care I decided that I would just make it. I have frozen a few slices to see if that will work. I have some to go to the office and finally some to go to a friend. Although, my friend isn't keen on chilli so I am not sure how she is going to go I guess her hubby will get it all if it is too strong for her. I will suggest freezing if it has too much of a kick for her. I had thought about reducing the amount of chilli in the recipe but I really wanted to make it as it. 

Talking about that, I didn't make it completely according to the recipe as I didn't make the chilli syrup to drizzle over it. Well, that is not exactly true. I did try to make the syrup but something went horribly wrong. I wasn't really sure what it was initially. I had a jar of glucose syrup in the cupboard, which I admit, had been there a while. After I ended up with a weird lumpy mess I had a look at the jar and it was use by 1996! I knew it had been around a while but not quite that long. After tasting the tart I don't think that the syrup was really necessary anyway.

I made this recipe over two days starting with the dulce de leche ice cream that goes with this and finishing with the tart. It wasn't difficult it was just a bit time consuming. I made everything from scratch, so it added a bit to the time. I will post the ice cream recipe in a different post.

I will start out with my recipe for the dark chocolate pastry I used. I cannot get the recommended Careme pastry so I made my own.

Dark Chocolate pastry

1 1/4 c flour
1/3 c dark cocoa (I used Plaistowe from the supermarket)
1/4 c caster sugar
125 g cold butter, chopped
1 egg
1 tsp vinegar
1 - 2 tbsp water

Add flour, cocoa and sugar to Thermomix bowl (or food processor) mix 5 sec on sp 4.
Add butter 10 sec on sp 4 or until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Whisk together egg, vinegar and 1 tbsp water. Add to flour mixture, knead closed lid position for 30 sec, checking to see if further liquid required. I did add the extra 1 tbsp water.
Wrap in plastic, set aside. If hot place in fridge, if cold on the counter will be fine.
Line 23cm tart tin, place in freezer for 10 min. Remove and fill with baking paper and pie weights (or rice) and bake for 10 minutes at 180 C, then remove weights and bake for a further 10 minutes. 

Chocolate Chilli Tart
adapted from Valli Little

300 ml thickened cream
150 ml pure cream 
2 tbsp caster sugar
200 g dark chocolate, finely chopped
100 g milk chocolate, finely chopped 
Seeds of 10 cardamom pods, ground
1/2 tsp chilli powder
3 eggs, lightly beaten

Bring creams & sugar to a simmer then remove from heat and add chocolate, cardamom & chilli and stir until smooth. Cool a bit and then add eggs. Pour into tart case and bake for 20 -25 min. Cool in pan. 

I had enough chocolate custard for two ramekins and baked them too. The hit of chilli seemed stronger in them than the tart. 

Saturday 6 July 2013

Cake Decorating - Traffic Light

I was asked to do a traffic light cake for a 3 yo boy for today. Since I had done the lighted cake for Skylanders I was asked if I could light this one up as well. I talked with the friend who did the lights for the Skylanders cake and he made up the lighting rig for me.

It was really a rather simple cake to make, although I hate working with black fondant as it stains.My only problem was hiding the cables. The top was a bit rough. I should have cut them into the cake better but they fact that it lit up, oh and flashed, made up for that. Next time I know what to do. I loved doing this cake. In fact I love decorating cakes for children. 

Monday 1 July 2013

Smoky Beef Chilli Con Carne

For Sylvia, hope that you enjoy this. 

Smoky Beef Chilli Con Carne 
by Katie Quinn
from Delicious magazine June 2013

2 large dried ancho chillies 
1 kg beef chuck steak, cut into 3 cm pieces 
2 tbsp plain flour, seasoned 
2 tbsp olive oil (I would use grapeseed)
1 onion, finely chopped 
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped 
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp smoked paprika 
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper 
2 chipotle chillies in abodo sauce, chopped, 1 tbsp sauce reserved 
1/3 c bourbon
1 bay leaf 
1 L (4 c) beef stock 
2 red capsicums, seeds removed and chopped 
2 x 400 g cans chopped tomatoes 
2 tbsp tomato paste 
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
425 g can black beans, rinsed and drained
425 g can red kidney beads, rinsed and drained 
Steamed rice, sour cream, grated cheese and flat leaf parsley, to serve. 

Cover ancho with boiling water and leave for 30 min, drain remove seeds and slice finely. 

Coat beef with flour and brown using 1 tbsp oil in batches, remove and set aside. 

In remaining oil cook onion and garlic until soft, add cumin, paprika, oregano, cinnamon and cayenne and cook for 1 minute. Return beef to the pan. 

Add all the remaining ingredients except for the beans. Bring to boil then simmer, with lid ajar for 2.5 hours. Add beans and simmer for a further 30 min or until thickened. Season as required and serve. 

A long list of ingredients for what is actually a fairly easy recipe. I hope to get it made one day.

Sunday 30 June 2013

Camembert-stuffed turkey meatballs

This is a bit of a cheat as it is a throw back to the Camembert stuffed turkey meatloaf from back in 2011. I decided that I would do something similar so I made it into meatballs this time. Although I will say that the meatloaf was better at containing the Camembert as a lot of the meatballs had the cheese ooze out during cooking.

This time around I didn't put the quinoa, tomatoes or craisins in the mix. I did add some extra herbs and pepper. The sauce I made was pretty much the same except I used cranberry sauce in place of the redcurrant. It was a bit thick though, it would have been better if I thinned it down so that it was more of a sauce rather than a glaze. 

Over all, it was still just a wonderful as before and I will definitely make either the meatloaf or meatballs again. I served with roasted potato and sweet potato wedges and steamed broccoli and snow peas.

Thursday 27 June 2013

Provencal Potato Bake

I love my side dishes. I really do like to pep up a meal with a tasty side dish. When making a main that is a bit plainer, a steak or lamb chops just pan fried, I like to make the sides full of flavour. This was one of those instances. I served this with some pan-fried lamb loin chops which were just seasoned with some salt and pepper. 

I really loved this. Although I love anything that combines capers and olives. I am not keen on rosemary, I find it a bit too strong for me no matter how little I use. I had the parsley all chopped to sprinkle on top before I photographed and served but forgot about it. It didn't really matter, it still looked and tasted excellent. I loved how crispy that they ended up. 

Recipe from delicious November 2011 - Provencal Potato Bake

Tuesday 25 June 2013

AGT April 2013 - Sweet potato pancakes with bacon & maple syrup

Okay, okay, I know this is going back a couple of months now. I was going to cook from Australian Good Taste like I do delicious magazine but I haven't really been doing that. I planned to rectify this however, I received notice in the mail that Australian Good Taste is going to cease being published. The August issue will be their last. It is sad as it is a good magazine. There has been a couple of foodie magazines shut down recently. I hope that my other favourites keep going. I would be completely lost without delicious.

When I first received this issue in the post I couldn't stop staring (drooling) over the cover recipe. It just looks amazing. The combination of the chocolate cake with ganache and malted buttercream topped with the maltesers is just a stunning combination. I really wanted to make it but there really isn't anyone to cook for. It wouldn't be a cheap cake to make. I might make it the next time I get together with my friends for a bbq. 

I also have the Smoky root vegie hash with eggs and beans marked to make. It would make either an excellent lunch or easy dinner. The only root veg in it are sweet potato and potato and I think that I would probably change that. Most likely swapping out the potato for something like celeriac, although beets would work too. The smoky flavour comes from smoked paprika, I would probably use my hot smoked paprika to add a bit of a kick. 

I ended up making the Sweet potato pancakes with bacon & maple syrup for breakfast one morning. Well, brunch really. The recipe called for the sweet potato to be boiled and then mashed. There are a lot of recipes that have pumpkin, sweet potato and the like boiled or steamed before mashing for use in other recipes. I would prefer to roast and then mash since boiling and steaming adds extra water into the vegetables that usually causes problems in the final recipe. I baked in their jackets until soft then left to cool, peeled and mashed. I really liked these pancakes, they were so light and fluffy with such a great flavour. The sweetness of the roasted sweet potato really came through. Adding bacon and maple syrup just rounded it out beautifully. 

Sweet potato pancakes with bacon & maple syrup

400g sweet potato, roasted whole, then cooled, peeled and mashed
265g (1 3/4 cup) plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarb
1 tbsp caster sugar
500ml (2 cups) milk
2 eggs
40g butter, melted, cooled
Bacon, fried (or baked) until crisp
Maple syrup, to serve

Combine flour, baking powder, bicarb and sugar. Whisk together milk, eggs and butter. Add milk mixture and sweet potato to the flour and stir until smooth.
Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat (I use an electric griddle). Melt a small amount of butter in the pan.  Drop 1/3 cup batter into pan. Spread slightly. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Turn and cook for 1 minute or until golden. Transfer to a plate. Cover with a clean tea towel to keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter to make 12 pancakes.
Divide pancakes among plates. Top with bacon. Drizzle over maple syrup.