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.