Tuesday 26 March 2013

Blueberry sour cream bundt cake

I was looking for something to make to take to a bbq with friends a few weeks ago. I had some blueberries in the fridge that had been there for a little while. They were still fine but thought that I would use them up in a cake. I also had some sour cream that was marching toward its use by date so went searching for a recipe that I could use both in. I hadn't used my bundt pan in a long time so I thought that it would to give it another work out. While searching I came across Martha Stewart's Blueberry lemon bundt cake. I reduced the sugars by half and it only too about 50 minutes to cook. I made a lemon glaze to put on it. I used the new CSR LoGiCane icing sugar. I was just going to make a plain white glaze but this icing sure isn't pure white and it turned into a grey murky colour so I added in, a little too much, yellow colouring paste. 

It tasted really good, it was dense though. When I first cut into it I thought that it wasn't completely cooked but it wasn't doughy like I thought it was going to be. Several people went back for seconds and that is really the mark of how good it is right?

Monday 25 March 2013

Cake decorating - exploding hearts cake

So not literally an exploding cake. This is the first time that I have done a cake with the wires coming out of it, so the explosion. Most of the pictures of exploding cakes that I have seen online have the cashous in the middle. However I thought that if you use those then when you cut the cake they would go everywhere. I decided that I would use coloured sugar instead and it worked really well. The hearts on the cake look a bit weird. The cutter was a bit of a weird shape but that was the only one that I could get on short notice. I will have to get myself a better heart cutter. 

I had quite a lot of problems with it. The cake was really, really soft for some reason. It is normally quite dense, perhaps I beat it for too long. My ganache didn't set and then I had problems with the fondant. Everyone was really impressed with it though. I guess that we are our harshest critics.

Sunday 24 March 2013

March 2013 - Sfincione Siciliano

I don't often post more than one recipe from each issue. This month I have made three things so will post all three. I also have another couple on my list to make but haven't yet made them. Hopefully I will get them made this week although I am not sure I will also get them blogged. 

There is a Gennaro Contaldo section in this month's issue. It is an excerpt from his new book Let's Cook Italian: Favourite Family Recipes. From the recipes in this issue it looks like it would be a good book but I have decided that I am not buying any more cook books. I already have so many that I barely use. 

This looked really good and Gennaro's description said that it was a traditional focaccia from Palermo. It said that the dough was supposed to be very soft. Mine wasn't, it was hard and dense and doughy. I am not really sure what happened. I did everything according to the recipe but it just didn't turn out for me. I am going to be really lazy here and say that it is a long recipe and it didn't work for me so, sorry, I am not going to post the recipe. 

It did look good though....

Thursday 21 March 2013

Beetroot Tarte Tatin

Beetroot again, I have told you numerous times how much I love beetroot. I have only made a few tarte tatins before but each time they have been very good. I ended up using extra beetroot and a larger frying pan than the recipe called for but didn't increase the glaze/sauce ingredients. It will worked well but I think it would have been better if I had increased those ingredients as well. I loved the combination of sweet with the earthiness of beetroot is just an amazing combination. Served with a very basic salad it was a fantastic vegetarian meal. 

Beetroot Tarte Tatin

15g butter
8 small beetroot, peeled, halved
1 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 sheet frozen butter puff pastry, thawed
50g goat's cheese, crumbled (I used feta)
Preheat oven to 200C. Melt butter in a ovenproof non-stick 19cm (base measurement) frying pan over medium-high heat. Stir in the beetroot for 2 minutes. Add the sugar, vinegar and thyme. Season. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until mixture thickens. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes or until beetroot is just tender. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool. Increase oven to 220C.

Trim pastry into a 24cm disc. Arrange beetroot evenly over base of pan. Top with pastry. Fold in excess. Bake for 20 minutes or until puffed and golden. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn onto a plate. Top with goat's cheese.

Wednesday 20 March 2013

Silverbeet & cauliflower pasta bake

I mentioned in my last post about Jamie Oliver's cauliflower risotto with chilli pangratto. I have wanted to make it since I bought the March issue of delicious. magazine. I had cauliflower in the fridge but when I went to the cupboard there was no arborio rice. I have no idea how I let that situation occur and will rectify it as soon as possible! However, I wanted to use up some of the cauliflower. I also have masses of silverbeet growing in the garden so I thought that I could incorporate some of that too. I decided that instead of a risotto I would try a pasta bake. It really was very good. I think you could use a combination of broccoli and cauliflower for something a bit extra. Plus, like JO's risotto I think that the chilli pangratto, sort of a chilli breadcrumbs mixture may add some zing to it. Actually just a combination of parmesan, lemon and breadcrumbs would be nice too. Over all though I loved it. 

Silverbeet & cauliflower pasta bake

50 g butter
50 g flour 
1 tsp salt 
2 - 3 grinds of pepper grinder 
500 g milk
chunk cheddar, diced (perhaps 100 g)
1/3 c shredded parmesan
250 g macaroni, cooked 
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small florets and steamed
1 bunch silverbeet, chopped, steamed and drained
50 g feta 

Preheat oven to 180 C
Add butter, flour, salt, pepper and milk in thermomix jug. Cook for 9 minutes at 90 C on speed 4. Add cheddar and parmesan and cook for 1 minute at 90 C on speed 2. I prefer that some chunks of cheddar remain. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste.
Combine macaroni and cheese sauce. 
Spread half the macaroni mixture in the bottom of a baking dish top with cauliflower, then silverbeet and finally spread over the remaining macaroni mix. Crumble feta over the top. 
Bake for 20 minutes and then put under the grill for 10 minutes or until golden. 

Tuesday 19 March 2013

March 2013 - Slow Roast Lamb with tomato & garlic crust

So delicious. has brought their Italian issue out a couple of months early this year. I have found a lot of recipes in the issue that I want to make, in fact I have already made three, however my previous criticism still stands. It is time for an issue dedicated to and another cuisine. I would love to see an issue dedicated to something a little bit different. I am not sure exactly what but they are a talented bunch at delicious. I am sure they could work something out.

As I said there are a number of recipes that I want to make from this issue. One of which is Jamie Oliver's Cauliflower risotto with chilli pangrattato. It seems to be an unusual combination I would never have thought of putting cauliflower in risotto.

Another recipe that I am planning to try, hopefully this coming weekend, is from the month's guest chef Marie Zarro. It is her Braised pork with leek & ribiola mash. I will have to do the suggested substitute of a combination of ricotta and mascarpone in place of the ribiola as there is no possibility of getting that here but at least a suggested substitute was given. It sounds like it will be wonderfully decadent. I am also keen to make her brutti ma buoni (ugly but delicious) They are basically a meringue with hazelnuts and some cocoa powder. It reminds me of cookies that my mum used to make for me that were a meringue with chocolate chips stirred through and then dropped in tablespoonfuls and baked until crispy but the chocolate chips would still be soft and a bit oozy. I will give the brutti ma buoni a go but may also make my mum's choc-chip meringue cookies too. 

The first recipe that I made was The Food Dept.'s Slow-roast leg of lamb with tomato & garlic crust. It was wonderful. I had a smaller leg of lamb but I still made the whole amount of the crust. Instead of doing it in the oven I used my new weber bbq. I am still learning how to use the weber but it  worked well I think. Since it was smaller I cooked for less time but I think that it could have easily been done for a bit longer as it wasn't quite as 'fall apart' as I hoped it would be. The tomato and garlic crust was fabulous. The only change that I would make would be to add 1/2 to 1 tsp of sugar to the mix as the tomato paste flavour is very strong and it would cut through it well. Like always, I had problems keeping the double layer of foil over the pan. I had to move it as I had an issue with the bbq maintaining heat and it broke the "seal". I think that I am going to have to find myself a pan that has a lid which will fit in both my oven and bbq that I can use. I would still put the foil on but then the lid on top to stop the seal from being broken and letting steam escape. The roasted tomatoes that went with the roast were excellent too. 

Slow-roast Leg of Lamb with Tomato and Garlic Crust
2kg leg of lamb, trimmed
1 garlic bulb, cloves separated unpeeled
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
1 and 1/2 cups (375ml) white wine vinegar 
500g vine-ripened tomatoes, halved
1/2 bunch thyme springs
Handful fresh bay leaves
Preheat weber to high, reducing heat once up to temperature. 
Crush two of the garlic cloves and combine with tomato paste, oil and some salt & pepper and rub all over the lamb (the recipe said brush but hands are easier). Pour vinegar into the pan around the lamb. Cover baking paper, then cover with 2 sheets of foil. 
Place in the weber and oven and roast for 3- 4 hours maintaining temperature at 150 C. 
Remove the foil and baking paper add the to the pan, sprinkle over the thyme, bay leaves, remaining garlic cloves, drizzle tomatoes with oil and season. Return the pan to the weber and roast for the further 1 hour or until the tomatoes have softened. 

Saturday 16 March 2013

Pesto roasted tomato tart

So, I have a new subscription. This time to Australian Good Taste. I decided that, like delicious. magazine, I have to use it. There is no point getting the magazine if I don't use it. The best way for me to use it is to post on here that I will be cooking from it every month. See, now I am obligated, it is on the internet, it must be true. ;) 

I didn't get past the cover recipe for something I wanted to make make. Actually that isn't exactly true even if it is on the cover and is the first recipe inside. There are all sorts of things that I want to make but went with the cover recipe to start with. 

As for other things to make, I am not sure I will get them in this month. Although there is still plenty of time. However I also purchased a copy of New Zealand's Dish magazine with some amazing looking recipes. Also this month's delicious. magazine is excellent. I have done so much cooking this month but have been very lazy in regard to blogging about them. Oops, I shouldn't have admitted that, now it is out there I will have to write them won't I. 

Back to the March edition of Australian Good Taste magazine. The glazed pear & goat's cheese salad sounds really good, although it would be feta for me. I have tried hard to like goat's cheese but it is just not for me. I am happy to add feta to salads instead. I am definitely going to make the chorizo, corn & chilli streusel muffins. I can see them being the perfect accompaniment for soup, so it might be a recipe that will have to wait. Although I am sure they would be excellent brunch item too. Tobie Puttock's pesce al cartoccio looks fantastic. It is a fish dish that looks really good to me with a combination of fennel, olives and capers. As far as I am concerned anything with olives and capers is terrific. Plus with most fish dishes it is easy to reduce recipes to one serve. 

The pesto roasted tomato tart was good, although it certainly needed some seasoning. For me it was definitely missing pepper in the mix. I think that I would add more garlic and more pesto next time too. I really liked the parmesan & oregano pastry. It was wonderfully short and crumbly. I got it a bit too thick on the corners. I should probably have been rolled thinner. In fact I think that there could have been a bit less pastry. Perhaps there was a lot of pastry trimmed when they made the tart for the magazine. Overall, it was good but I think it would be great with a few tweaks. It was good cold as well as hot too. Oh, and it gave me a chance to try making pastry in my thermomix. It was so easy and an easier clean up than making it in my food processor. 

Pesto roasted tomato tart

2 tsp olive oil 
1 leek, thinly sliced 
1 garlic clove, thinly slice 
150 g fresh ricotta
50 g goat's cheese (I used feta)
1 tbsp basil pesto
10 mixed baby tomatoes 
2 truss tomatoes, thickly sliced
6 pitted kalamata olives, halved
Fresh oregano leaves, to serve 

Parmesan & oregano pastry

225 g plain flour
150 g butter, chilled & chopped 
20 g (1/4 c) shredded parmesan
3 tsp chopped fresh oregano (I probably used about a tbsp)
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp chilled water

For pastry: 
Add flour, butter, parmesan and oregano to tmx bowl and hit turbo until mix resembles breadcrumbs. 
Add egg yolk and water and mix for 5 - 10 seconds at speed 6 or until mix comes together in a ball. Turn out, shape into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and chill in fridge. 

Cook leek & garlic in oil over a medium heat until soft. Cool. 
Combine ricotta, goat's cheese and pesto. 
Pre-heat oven to 200 C. 
Roll pastry out to a 25 x 35 cm rectangle. (mine was a bit thick so would go on thickness rather than size). 
Spread with ricotta, then leeks and finally tomatoes and olives. 
Fold in the edges of the pastry and bake for 30 min or until golden and tomato soft. 

Saturday 9 March 2013

Fig, prosciutto & caramelised onion pizza

I was given a heap of figs by my grandparents a while ago. I am not too keen on just eating figs as they are so I decided to do something a little different. I had previously used figs to make a fig & goats cheese tranche before (oh what a dreadful photo back then).  It was really good. I had managed to buy 3 kgs of onions as I kept forgetting there was already some in the cupboard so I decided that I needed to cook up some caramelised onions. Since I was doing that I thought that combining those two things would work on a pizza. I am usually a very safe person when it comes to pizza so I decided that it was time to try something different.

This was so very good. It certainly was a wonderful attempt at something a bit different on a pizza. I was a little worried that with the caramelised onion and figs that it would be a bit sweet but it wasn't. I think that the prosciutto cut through the sweetness.

Caramelised onions

1 kg onions
1 tbsp oil 
1 tbsp rapadura sugar (or brown sugar)

Finely slice onions, I use a v-slicer. 
Heat oil in a large pan over a low heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are soft. Add sugar and continue cooking until onions are almost melting.

Fig, prosciutto & caramelised onion pizza

1 pizza base 
2 - 3 tbsp caramelised onions
2 slices prosciutto, torn
3 figs, thickly sliced 
4 baby bocconcini, torn
Handful rocket

Top base with ingredients in order except for rocket.
Heat pizza maker and cook pizza for 5 - 6 minutes.   (Or preheat oven to 180 C and bake until golden)
Top with rocket and serve.