Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
It's been hot of late and yesterday was very hot. The kind of day when you don't feel like eating much. Late afternoon I made this and took myself off to a shady spot with a book.
Lassi is a yoghurt based drink popular in India. It's hard for me to say the word as my Scottish origins change it to a very broad "lassie" which changes its meaning entirely. That aside, it's cool, comforting and silky rich and there's not much exertion required. Just right for summer.
1/4 cup Greek or plain yoghurt
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 fresh mango, skin removed and cut into cubes
2 large ice cubes
Place all the ingredients in a blender and whizz until all combined. Pour into a glass to serve.
I like the thickness of the drink but you can add a little extra orange juice or milk if you prefer.
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
I’ve had this recipe for a very long time. It came from the now-defunct Hotel du Vin (south of Auckland) with no chef name attributed to it. I’ve looked at it on occasion but thought it may be too time consuming or difficult. It isn’t really. In fact it’s a very simple process that just needs some time for the layers to chill or set.
As another year draws to a close I am pleased to still be writing on this blog, perhaps not as often as I would like but that too is fine as I want to continue to enjoy baking, cooking and writing about it without every having to see it as a chore.
Thank you for reading and for all your comments. Have a very good new year x
Summer Berry Tiramisu
Sunday, December 7, 2014
It was Nigel Slater who said A pie teases us, with only a hint of what is to come under its golden crust. And there is the dilemma. What is inside the pie? I am like the fair weather sailor, only venturing on board if a calm, sunny day bids. It's the same with pies. I want to know what I'm getting before I embark on the tasting.
The easiest remedy then is to make my own so I know exactly what lurks under the golden crust. So I did. I even went as far as making my own puff pastry which was not my initial intent but I am so glad I did. If you're not in a rush, give it a go. It is at once therapeutic and satisfying (more so when it turns out fine).
When I made this some weeks ago it seemed appropriate for the weather, at times tempting with hints of summer, then blowing cold and rainy. I opted to stay in the kitchen, keeping warm. For most of the day I baked - Afghan biscuits first (see previous post), then this pie (well, there were three individual ones actually). In the process I attempted to improve my flour dusting and rolling pin techniques so that with one expert flick of the hand the board would be evenly and finely dusted and a few rolls of the pin and the pastry would be straight and even. Ah well, that was the idea but I have a long way to go...
Individual Mince & Cheese Pies
There's a lot of chilling and resting so make sure you read the recipe through and allow plenty of time.
Homemade rough puff pastry (or use shop-bought)makes about 3-4 pies depending on your individual tin size
250g high grade plain flour
1 tsp salt
250g butter, at room temperature
approx 150ml cold water
Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Roughly chop the butter into small chunks and rub loosely but not completely into the flour - you should still be able to see bits of butter.
Make a well in the bowl and pour in about two-thirds of the cold water. Mix until you have a firm dough. Cover with cling film, transfer to the fridge for 20 minutes.
Place the dough on a lightly floured board. Knead gently and shape into a rectangle. Roll in one direction only, keeping the edges straight, until the rectangle is about 20 x 50 cm. You should still be able to see butter streaks in the pastry. From the long end, fold the pastry into three (fold the top third down to the centre, then the bottom third up and over that). Cover with cling film and chill for 20 minutes. Repeat the rolling out, folding and chilling 3 times. Each time you roll, give the dough a quarter turn and roll out to the same size as before. Chill before using in the main recipe.
Filling1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
500g lean beef mince
20g (2 tbsp) plain flour
1 beef stock cube mixed in 3/4 cup hot water
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tbsp Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp each each of dried basil and oregano
salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
200g Tasty (strong cheddar) cheese, grated
1 egg (for egg wash) + 2 tbsp water
Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan and saute the onion and garlic gently for about 5 minutes until onion is translucent. Add the mince and cook until well browned, using a fork to break down any lumps. Stir in the flour and cook for about a minute. Add the beef stock and bring to the boil. Add the tomato paste, Lea & Perrins, balsamic vinegar, dried herbs and salt and pepper. Lower the heat and simmer gently for about 15-20 minutes. Turn off the heat. Stir in the fresh thyme leaves and leave to cool.
When you are ready to assemble and eat, roll out the pastry to approximately 4mm thick and cut to the size of the tin(s) you are using. You will need pastry to cover the base of the tin and a pastry lid. I used Texan muffin trays which were perfect for single serve pies. I used a small saucer as a template circle for the base and smaller circles for the lid.
Lightly grease the tins and line with the pastry base. Fill the pastry almost to the top with the mince mixture then add a small handful of the cheese.
Brush the edge of the pastry with water and place the pastry lid on top. Seal the edges, trimming off any excess pastry.
Whisk egg and 2 tbsp water together and brush over the pastry. Rest for 1 hour before baking. It was cold so I just left mine on the benchtop. If it's too hot in the kitchen, place them in the fridge to rest.
Preheat oven to 220 degrees C. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown in colour. Leave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool a little bit before eating.
Sunday, November 16, 2014
I love these little Afghan biscuits with their rich, crunchy base and chocolate topping. They are a New Zealand favourite and I find it interesting that the longer I live here the less clear I am about what "belongs" to one country as opposed to another and it all becomes just baking without frontiers. If I've only been eating these since I arrived in NZ then I've certainly missed out and have a lot of catching up to do.
Traditionally these would be topped with a walnut half, but the batch I made were being shared with the nut allergy sufferer, so I topped half with pieces of coconut chips (shaved coconut). The coconut goes well with the chocolate and I think gives a complementary look to the more traditional biscuit. Perhaps I could start a new trend?
I'm a bit fussy about the cornflakes. They have to be crushed just right. Not too crumbly, not too large. For some reason I hate seeing whole flakes jutting out the biscuit but that's just me always trying to be perfect.
I had some leftover chocolate ganache so used that as topping (which I have to say was a particularly luxurious touch and very nice) but I've given the standard chocolate icing recipe below.
Makes about 16-18 biscuits depending on size.
200g butter, softened
90g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
175g (1 1/4 cups) standard flour
35g (1/4 cup) good quality cocoa powder
55g (1 1/2 cups) cornflakes, lightly crushed
Chocolate icing1 1/2 cups icing sugar
4 tbsp boiling water
1/4 cup cocoa
Walnut halves or coconut chips to decorate.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease or line a baking tray with baking paper.
In a cake mixer, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and creamy.
Sift in the flour and cocoa and combine thoroughly. Stir in the cornflakes.
Place large tablespoonfuls onto the baking tray (I use a mini ice-cream scoop) and press each biscuit lightly with a fork to flatten slightly.
Bake for 15-20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
IcingIn a cake mixer, beat the icing sugar, butter and sifted cocoa together until smooth and ice the biscuits when they are cold. Decorate with a halved walnut or a couple of coconut chips.
Sunday, November 2, 2014
Whilst they may not have run with the scary theme, our New Zealand food bloggers did a magic job conjuring up their own potions and spells for October’s Sweet New Zealand and in no particular order, here they are.
First out the cauldron was the serene Sue from Couscous & Consciousness with an Apricot, Date & Pistachio Loaf. I am always up for a fruit loaf and Sue says this delicious loaf full of dried fruit, seeds and nuts was so good she can’t wait to make it again. I can’t wait to try it, Sue.
|Sue's Apricot, Date & Pistachio Loaf from Couscous and Consciousness|
Not one to rest on her laurels, Sue was back in the kitchen to whip up a second entry for Sweet New Zealand and I, for one, am eagerly awaiting apricot season as this Roasted Apricot Frozen Yoghurt sounds mouth-wateringly good. If, like Sue, you have a supply of frozen apricots in your freezer (why didn’t I think of that?), then what are you waiting for? Try it now – the sun is out as I speak.
|Another delicious entry from Sue at Couscous and Consciousness - Roasted Apricot Frozen Yoghurt|
Next up is Genie from a super little blog called Bunny Eats Design. Genie celebrated National Nut Day on 21st October (which along with Halloween also bypassed me) with these Sugar and Spice Candied Nuts. I love taking little bowls of snacks such as these to book club – especially when you’ve made them yourself.
If you love lemons as I do, then you will probably like lemon curd (and all its amazing possibilities). You’ll be glad then that Amanda from Move Love Eat has created a Healthier Lemon Curd that is also gluten free and paleo friendly! Lots of ticks there. It must be good - Amanda has been making triple batches to keep up with the demand.
|A healthier Lemon Curd from Move Love Eat|
Doing things a little differently is Sweet New Zealand founder, Alessandra. Whilst in Japan she developed her very own Tiramisu di Alessandra. (She’s Italian, so if anyone can mess around with an Italian dessert, she can.) Hers is made with cream, instead of mascarpone. The topping is Italian ground coffee, not cocoa and she finds a good quality whisky makes all the difference. Well of course it does. Salute!
My own entry is this Citrus & Almond Cake with Yoghurt Drizzle.
That's it from Sweet New Zealand this month. Enjoy what is left of your weekend.