Sunday, December 19, 2010

Occasion: Christmas Ham

Glazed Ham

This is the glazed ham I make each year. The recipe has slowly morphed into the one below after being altered slightly from generation to generation. It originally was passed on from my Nanny to my Dad and then to me.

1 Champagne Ham
2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
2 Cans Sliced Pineapple, Juice and Slices Separted
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar (I used dark brown sugar)
2 Oranges, Juiced
1/2 Cup Cloves (optional)
2 Cups Dried Cranberries
30 Toothpicks (approx)

This is the ham I started with this year.

1. Heat in 160C oven for approx 10 – 15 minutes until warm. Remove skin while it is war with fingers.

2. Combine all maple syrup, pineapple juice, sugar and orange juice in a bowl and mix.

3. Remove the skin of the ham by heating in a moderate oven, then peeling it off using your hands. Discard skin.

4. Score the top of the ham diagonally both ways, and press a clove into the middle of each of the diamond created. Then place sliced pineapple over in your desired arrangement and secure using toothpicks.

5. Place ham on a roasting dish and pour mixture from bowl over. Cook in a moderate oven for about an hour or until ham has a nice caramel glaze. Brush the mixture accumulated at bottom of roasting pan over ham frequently to help attain this.
6. Decant liquid from bottom of pan into a pot and heat until caramelised.

7. Place cranberries into the pot of liquid and mix until all liquid coats cranberries.

8. Allow mixture to cool, then press on to ham (the mixture should stick, due to the sticky liquid).
9. Allow to cool thoroughly, store in fridge and slice when a piece is desired.

Note: I pulled out the toothpicks on the top, and trimmed the ones on the side after this photo.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dessert: Eat Your Heart Out Bleeding Hearts

Dessert: Eat Your Heart Out Bleeding Hearts

They have a spongy dense cakey crust and a gooey chocolate centre. 

Quick to make and sooo satisfying! This is what I whip up when unexpected guests arrive. They are also a favourite of my brother, so when I was at Uni and he was still living at home, before I went back to Christchurch I would make a batch and freeze them in a silicon muffin or friand tray. He could then take them straight from the freezer and pop them in the oven (baking takes a wee bit longer...perhaps approx 15 minutes) 

I find that perhaps the full mixture makes a little much, and consumes a lot of eggs. I often make a half batch (using 4 small eggs), and this makes enough to fill 8 friand cups. However if you have more than five people perhaps making the full batch is safer (someone always wants seconds)!

250g Butter
250g Good Quality Chocolate (at least 60% Cocoa)
¾ Cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
7 Eggs
Pinch Salt
7 Tablespoons Flour

1. Preheat oven to 160C.

2. Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler. Remove from heat and allow to cool to luke warm.

3. Add vanilla sugar and salt. Then eggs one at a time and mix after each addition and then untill completely combined.

4. Add flour and fold gently in until just combined.

5. Spoon into greased and cocoaed muffin trays (or what I use are greased silcon trays as it makes it easy to get them out after baking) until each of 12 cups are 3/4 full.

5. Bake for about 10 minutes or until cooked around outside and just set on top.

6. Use a knife to run around the cups, then turn all out onto a plate.

7. Serve with cream or as desired.

Mains: Spinach and Lamb Curry

Spinach and Lamb Curry

I know it doesn't look or sound fabulous but this is my favourite curry to make and eat at home. Perhaps my favourite curry fullstop!

Its easy to make.
Can sit in fridge for the next day (in fact the flavour matures and is even better!)
Uses readily sourceable ingredients

I made the batch below to take to a friends for a casual dinner at home. Was lovely with some nice brown rice, which adds a nutty flavour to the experience.

250g Butter
4 Large Onions (White or Red), Chopped
10 Cloves Garlic
2 Tablespoons Fresh Ginger, Finely Chopped
1 Can Chopped Tomatoes
1 Teaspoon Salt
150 mL Water
1 kg (approx) Boneless Lamb, Cubed (you can chop bones out, but ideally leg or shoulder lamb is the best)
1/2 - 1 Teaspoon Red Chili Powder - don't go over board with this
1/2 Teaspoon Chili Flakes
2 Teaspoons Ground Cumin
2 Teaspoons Paprika
1 Teaspoon Turmeric
1 Teaspoon Garam Masala
1 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
300g Fresh Spinach, Washed with Stalks Removed (I just use a bunch)
Plus a Few Extra Baby Spinach Leaves or Sliced Spinach to Serve with

1. Melt butter and cook onions until translucent in heavy based pan, this should take at least ten minutes.

2. Blend onions and butter mixture in food processor, with tomatoes, water, ginger and garlic, until paste.

3. Place lamb and paste back into heavy based pan, and simmer for thirty minutes. Add paprika, cumin, chili powder, turmeric and ground coriander and mix.

4. Pulse spinach in blender and add this to curry stirring to combine.

5. Place baby spinach on top of the simmering curry allowing to cook for about 5 minutes, before gently stirring and serving with brown rice (or as desired).

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Baking: I Love You Lemon Curd Cupcakes

I Love You Lemon Curd Cupcakes

These were inspired by a trip to Marthas Pantry, which I posted about a few months ago, however never got around to giving you the recipe. They are like little Madeira cakes with a dollop of lemon curd in the centre, and smothered in lemocello cream cheese buttercream frosting.

What I like about this recipe is the ricotta makes the cake quite moist and dense. Delicious!

400g Butter
2 Lemon Zested
2 Cups Sugar
6 Eggs
2 Dessertspoons Lemoncello
150g Ricotta (light)
3 1/2 Cup Flour
3 Teaspoons Baking Powder
2 Tablespoons Milk

Lemon Curd - I make my own, but you can use good quality store bought Butter Cream Frosting with 1 Tablespoon Lemoncello folded in

1. Preheat the oven to 180C.

2. Cream butter, sugar and zest together with an electric beater. 

3. Add eggs, one at a time and beat after until thick. Fold in lemoncello, milk and ricotta, then flour and baking power. 

4. Spoon into pattycake cases and cook for approximately 15 - 20minutes, until golden brown.

5. Allow to cool and cut down into the top of the cake creating a downward facing circular pyramid shape, which can be pull out of the cake in one piece.

6. Place a dollop of lemon curd into the hole created and place the pyramid shape piece of cake back into place.

7. Ice with butter cream frosting and serve.

For the frosting, I am not very good with measurements (am lazy with them when it comes to icing)... I beat 200g softened butter with approximately 1 1/2 Cups icing sugar. Sometimes a teaspoon of boiling water is required or more icing sugar. In this case I add a good tablespoon of Lemoncello for flavour (you could perhaps add some finely grated lemon rind as well).

Note: that you want enough icing sugar in the frosting that it will set, therefore you don't want it to be extremely soft, but hold some shape when piping it onto the cakes.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sweet Treats: Cottle Christmas Fudge

Cottle Christmas Fudge

A couple of years ago Ruth Pretty sent out the Cottle Christmas Fudge recipe on her annual christmas card (which Mum still has in her clip in recipe book).

We have made it several Christmas's since and its always a hit.

It is a cross between russian fudge and a moro bar, it can be made two weeks or so previous to when required (when stored in the fridge) and still be perfect for Christmas or New Years day. This year is no exception and I have made a double batch of it ready for the big day.

100g butter (roughly chopped)
26g (2 tbsp) golden syrup
395g (1 tin) sweetened condensed milk
200g (1 cup) brown sugar
80g (1/2 cup) dark chocolate buttons
80g (1/2 cup) white chocolate buttons
160g (1 cup) dark chocolate buttons (for icing)

1. Line base of a 20cm square tin with baking paper cut to measure.

2. Place butter in a medium-sized saucepan over a medium heat and stir until only just melted.

3. Add golden syrup, condensed milk and sugar. Cook over a gentle heat, stirring continuously for 4-5 minutes, till sugar is dissolved. It is very important not to rush this stage. The mixture should now be smooth and glossy looking.

4. Simmer mixture over a very gentle heat for 14-16 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes. I like to place a simmer mat under the saucepan to ensure a very gentle heat. Maintain a vigil, as without stirring the texture will quickly change from smooth to gritty.

5. Remove saucepan from heat. The mixture should still look smooth and glossy.

6. Add first measure of dark chocolate and then white chocolate. Stir well till chocolate has melted.

7. Pour fudge mixture into prepared tin. Using your hand, push it down very firmly so it is spread into the corners. Place in fridge, chill till set, then go to the next step before fudge becomes very cold. If it does become very cold, then bring back to room temperature before proceeding to the next step.

8. Place 2nd measure dark chocolate in a bowl and, over a double boiler, melt chocolate. Do not allow water or steam to go into chocolate.

9. Pour chocolate over top of fudge. Shake tin to spread chocolate without touching chocolate. Allow to just set (about 30 minutes). 

10. Remove fudge from tin and, if you enjoy precision, mark cutting lines with a ruler and cut fudge into 2.5cm squares. Wipe knife as you go, but don't wet or heat knife in between cuts.

11. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator till required. Best eaten at room temperature within seven days.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Baking: Marsden Slice

Marsden Slice

This has been made over and over for many occasions. It takes only moments to prepare, and I have often taken it to someones house and popped it in the fridge to finished setting when I get there.

This is from the "a taste of Marsden" cookbook which was a fundraiser for my secondary school Samuel Marsden Collegiate School in Wellington (links are provided and if anyone does decide to buy one please list your house as "Johnson" as this was my house when I was at school).
NOTE: I have been caught at a before with only one packet of superwine and therefore had to use half superwine and half crispies, however I felt the coconut from the crispies was a little over powering. I have also tried other types of biscuits and would strongly recommend using only the superwine.

2 Packets Superwine Biscuits
200g Butter
1 Tin Sweetened Condensed Milk
4 Tablespoons Golden Syrup
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence
500g Hazelnut Chocolate (Almond could be used)
1. Grease and line 20 x 28cm tin

2. Melt butter together with condensed milk and golden syrup.

3. Remove from heat and milk in vanilla essence.

4. Press mixture into tin and refrigerate.

5. Break up and melt chocolate in double boiler.

6. Pour and smooth out melted chocolate over refrigerate base and place back in fridge until chocolate is just set. 

7. Slice and cut into small squares before storing in the fridge.  

It makes a fab late night nibble with a cup of tea

Baking: Carmel's Christmas Cake

Carmel's Christmas Cake

This recipe was given to my Mum by one her best friends (my god mother) years ago. I have never converted the measurements as I don't feel the need to (my scales measure both metric and imperial).

I made the cake below about a month ago, so ensure it is aged when Mum slices it open later this week.  

8oz Butter
8oz Sugar
6 Eggs
12oz Flour
3lbs Mixed Fruit
1 Apple Grated
1 Carrot Grated
1 Teaspoon Lemon Essence
1 Teaspoon Almond Essence
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence
1 Tablespoon Brandy
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cloves

2 Tablespoons Brandy Extra

Packaged Almond and Royal Icing from Supermarket
3 Teaspoons Marmalade + 1 Teaspoon Boiling Water to thin it down

1. Preheat oven to 140C.

2. Line base and sides of 23cm square tin with two thickness of paper and wrap a few layers of newspaper around the outside of the thin (use string to hold it in place).

3. Cream butter and sugar together using a electric beater.

4. Beat in eggs and essence, one at a time (beating after each addition).

5. Sift flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves over he mixed fruit, apple and carrot.

6. Add egg mixture and fold in.

7. Lastly fold in brandy.

8. Bake at 140C for 1 1/2 hours , then turn it down to 130C and bake for another 1/2 hour.

9. Pour extra brandy over top seal with tinfoil and leave to cool wrapped in a towel for up to 24 hours.

10. Ice with a layer of almond icing and then a layer of royal icing using marmalade to stick them together.  

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

New Fav Recipe Book

One of my new favourite recipe books is Ottolenghi, which I purchased with my customer rewards from the University Bookstore. I was inspired to buy it by the Manley's but also it was in one of the weekend papers magazines.  

It is fabulous! So far I have made:
  • Fried scallops with saffron potatoes, asparagus and samphire - Really nice
  • Roast chicken with saffron, hazelnuts and honey - REALLY AMAZING
  • Roast chicken with sumac, za'atar and lemon
  • French beans and mangetout with hazelnut and orange
  • Pistachio shortbreads - Needed more sugar (I made it with 2 x Icing Sugar, Corn flour instead of Rice flour and 1 - 2 Teaspoons of Vanilla Bean Paste and it was beautiful. The cardamon makes it that little bit different)
  • Cauliflower and cumin fritters with lime youghurt - Nice

    My second attempt at the shortbread was down to this within 24hrs of being in the cookie jar!

And the sweet recipes which are on the "too make list over the next month" are below:
Pistachio and Rosewater Meringues
White Chocolate and Cranberry Biscuits
Blueberry Crumble Muffins

Witcoulus and Borders do not stock it, therefore perhaps buy it off line or at More Wilsons. However I will share a picture and recipe or two with you next time I make something.