Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dessert: Peach Tarte Tartin

Peach Tarte Tartin

This only serves four if your lucky. In my family we are all fighting over who gets the largest piece. It is also compulsory to serve this with ice-cream or at least cream.

3 Peaches
1 Sheet Flaky Puff Pastry
1/2 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste

1. Preheat oven to 180C

2. Place sugar, water and vanilla bean paste in a saucepan which can also go in the oven.

3. Place peaches face down in saucepan and spoon over syrup over them for approx 5 minutes.

4. Quickly place the puff pastry over peaches and "tuck into sides", then transfer into oven and bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown.

5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes, before turning out onto plate (i.e pastry should be on the bottom as shown in picture above)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Lunch or Easy Dinner: Sausage Rolls

Sausage Rolls

These sausage rolls ofter too many choices like starbux!

They could be made as:
a) Large sausage rolls (like mine) for dinner
b) Small sausage rolls for nibbles
c) One large sauage roll which could be cut at the table for dinner (somewhat like a meatloaf)
d) Small sausages wrapped in bacon rather than pastry
e) One large meatloaf covered in bacon

1 Sheet Pastry
800g Pork Mince
1 Onion, Finely Diced
2 Sprigs Thyme
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Large Carrots, Grated
1 Tablespoon Lea and Perrins Sauce
1 Tablespoon Sweet Chili Sauce
2 Tablespoon Tomato Sauce
2 Eggs
1. Preheat oven to 180C.

2. Place olive oil in a saucepan and add onion and thyme. Saute onion until transparent and put aside to cool down.

3. Combine carrot, mince, sauces, eggs and cooled down onion together in a bowl.

4. Cut roll out pastry sheet to make wider then cut in half down the middle lengthwise.

5. Spoon out a row of mixture close to both lengthwise edges.

6. Roll both rows in the remaining pastry to form two pastry covered rolls.

7. Cut rolls into individual sausage rolls, place on baking paper lined tray, brush with a little milk and bake for 15 - 30 minutes (depending on size) until golden brown.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Biscuits, Cookies and Slices: Melting Moments

Melting Moments

Often store bought melting moments or yoyos are flourly. The recipe below are nice and buttery, delivering the melt in your mouth seasation. I have samwhiched these together over the years with lemoncello, passionfruit and vanilla frosting or jam and lemon curd.

Note: Instead of vanilla you could substitue lemon or orange rind.

275g Butter Softened
1/2 Cup Icing Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste
2 Tablespoon Custard Powder
1 1/2 Cups Flour
1/2 Cup Cornflour

1. Preheat oven to 160C.

2. Cream butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy.

3. Add vanilla essence and bean paste and beat until combined.

4. Add custard powder, flour and cornflour and beat until just combined.

5. Roll teaspoonfulls of mixture into balls and place on a baking paper lined tray.

6. Press balls down with a fork and bake for 18 - 20 minutes until nice and golden.

7. Allow to cool for five minutes before removing to wire rack.

8. Once cool samwich together with some frosting.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Dessert: Full Fat Panna Cotta

Full Fat Panna Cotta

I personally like the yoghurt version as it is not too creamy and sweet, however Mum and Weston are avid fans of the full fat creamy version. These should be served with plums or another suitable fruit which offers some sourness to the Panna Cottas sweetness.

300ml Thickened Cream
600ml Cream
260g Caster Sugar
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Bean Paste
3 Sheets Leaf Gelatine

1. Heat creams and sugar over a low heat to dissolve sugar, bringing to a gentle similar before turning off the heat.

2. Place gelatine in bowl of cold water for 5 minutes. Remove from bowl and squeeze excess water out, before adding it to cream mixture and whisking.

3. Finally add vanilla bean paste and whisk to combine.

4. Pour into six 150ml dariole mould and refridgerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

5. To remove from the moulds, to serve, run a knife around the inside of the mould, then place in a bath of hot water. This should allow the Panna Cotta to slide out easily when turned onto a plate.

Dessert: Rosewater and Vanilla Yoghurt Panna Cotta

Rosewater and Vanilla Yoghurt Panna Cotta

This is a large recipe (which is how I make it, so there are some left over for the next night), however it can easily be halfed (gealtine leaves can be cut in half).

The pictures show the Pana Cotta with candied peach in a rosewater syrup.

750ml Cream
1 L Skim Low Fat Youghurt
250g Caster Sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla Bean Paste
2 teaspoons Rosewater
7 Sheets Leaf Gelatine

1. Heat cream and sugar over a low heat to dissolve sugar, bringing to a gentle similar before turning off the heat.

2. Place gelatine in bowl of cold water for 5 minutes. Remove from bowl and squeeze excess water out, before adding it to cream mixture and whisking.

3. Finally add vanilla bean paste, rosewater and youghurt then whisk to combine.

4. Pour into ten dariole mould and refridgerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

5. To remove from the moulds, to serve, run a knife around the inside of the mould, then place in a bath of hot water. This should allow the Panna Cotta to slide out easily when turned onto a plate.

Biscuits, Cookies and Slices: Macarons


Before Christmas I had a little bit of a macaroon bake-a-thon. I then placed the unfilled shells in airtight containers in which they kept perfectly until Christmas (shells last unfilled for over a month - once filled they only last up to a week).

I personally prefer the Lavender, Rosewater, Orange Blossom and Vanilla over the Chocolate and Raspberry.

My biggest problem when I first made these was that my mixture was to light and airly! I didn't combine my mixture enough, therefore I recommend that when you combine the icing sugar and almonds your combine it thoroughly! Don't be afraid it it loses alot of volume.

2 Teaspoons Dried Culinary Lavender
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste
2 Teaspoon Blue Food Colouring
1 Teaspoon Red Food Colouring

2 Teaspoons Rosewater
2 Teaspoons Red Food Colouring

Orange Blossom
2 Teaspoons Orange Blossom
2 Teaspoons Yellow Food Colouring
1/2 Teaspoon Red Food Colouring

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Bean Paste
1 Teaspoon Yellow Food Colouring

2 Teaspoons Dutched Cocoa

1 Teaspoon Raspberry Essence
2 Teaspoons Red Food Colouring

Basic Recipe (Summarised From Dish)
100g Egg Whites
Pinch of Cream of Tartar
2 Tablespoons Caster Sugar
140g Almond Meal
220g Icing Sugar

85g Butter, Softened 
175g Icing Sugar

1. Preheat oven to 150C.

2. Beat, using an electric mixer, egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.

3. Add food colouring, caster sugar and flavouring and beat until stiff peaks form.

4. Sift almond meal and icing sugar into egg white mixture and fold in until well combined.

5. Spoon into piping bag and pipe small rounds about 3cm apart on to a lined baking tray.

6. Drop trays onto a hard surface about five times (this gets rid of any excess bubbles in the mixture and also creates nice round and flat macaroons).

7. Leave for 45 - 50 minutes until a good skin has formed on top of the macaroons, then bake for 12 minutes.

8. Leave to cool for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.


Beat butter and icing sugar together with second measure of flavouring and colouring.

To assemble I just you a knife and spread dollop a little icing in the centre of a macaroon half, then place the other half on top and gently smush it down. This insures it forms a nice little circle of icing in the middle.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bit on The Side: Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd

I am not a fan of waste. Therefore whenever I make something that just contains egg whites I make either, Lemon Curd, Custard, Creme Brulees or the list goes on. My lemon curd recipe has therefore had to vary for 2 - 3 egg yolks to 5 - 6, therefore my measurements have become quite approximate.  

I use lemon curds in pastry cases to serve as a dessert in itself, in cakes, muffins, icings and on toast. I am sure you will find many uses for it.

Note: Passionfruit curd can be made using passionfruit pulp instead of lemon juice and reducing the sugar to 3/4 cup.

3 - 4 Eggs Yolks (Depending on size)
100g Butter
1 Cup Sugar
2 - 3 Lemons, Juiced

1. Combine butter, sugar and lemon juice in double boiler until sugar is dissolved.

2. Remove from heat allowing to cool slightly before whisking in egg yolks (to ensure you get no scrambled egg through your curd) and returning to heat.

3. When mixture coats the back of a spoon, pour mixture into sterilised jars to store in fridge.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Baking: Herritage Azores Cake (Island Cake - Bolo da ilha)

Heritage Azores Cake (Island Cake - Bolo da ilha)

My Nannys (grandmothers) family originally came from the Azores (Portuguese island inbetween Portugal and the USA). This cake originates from there (I found it as part of an ancestry project when I was at high school) and has become a cake i make about once or twice a year. The original icing recipe was not quite right, so that has been adapted but apart from that it is quite authentic.

5 Eggs
3/4 Cup Sugar
Just under 1 Cup Flour
2 Dessertspoons Dutched Cocoa
2 Tablespoons Honey
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 150C.

2. Beat eggs and sugar together until pale and fluffy.

3. Add honey and beat until combined.

3. Add flour, cocoa and cinnamon and mix fold into mixture.

4. Pour into a greased and floured pan and back for 35 minutes.

5. Allow to cool.

6. Cut cake in half (through the middle), and fill centre with half icing.

7. Place top of cake back on and ice top of cake aswell.

250g Butter
1 Cup Icing Sugar
2 Eggs
2 Tablespoons Honey
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
100g Chocolate, Melted

Beat all ingredients together until pale and fluffy.

We ate this for a treat after lunch one very hot day while on holiday (hence why it melted).

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Biscuits, Cookies and Slices: White Afghans

White Afghans

200g Butter, Softened
2/3 Cup Brown Sugar
1 1/4 Cup Flour
1 Cup Cornflakes

1. Preheat oven to 180C

2. Cream butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.

3. Add flour and beat until combined.

4. Then add cornflakes and again beat until combined.

5. Use a teaspoon to get spoonfuls of mixture, and rolling it into small balls and placing on a baking paper lined tray.

6. Gentley press the balls down using a fork (or your clean hand) and bake for 15 minutes.

7. Leave them to cool on tray for at least 5 minutes before moving on to cooling rack.

Baking: Marbled Chocolate Tart/Slice

Marbled Chocolate Tart/Slice

This recipe could be very easily made gluten free by either not having any pastry and cooking it as a cake or by using gluten free flour in the pastry (or using store bought gluten free pastry). This is a very rich chocolate tart/slice

300 g Dark Chocolate (Energy Chocolate)
150g Butter
1 Teaspoon Instant Coffee
1/2 Cup White Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence
2 Tablespoons Almond Meal
4 Small Eggs

Vanilla Cream Swirl
250g Low Fat Cream Cheese
1/2 Cup Sugar
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Essence
2 Small Eggs

1. Preheat oven to 180C.

2. Roll out pastry and line a 20 x 30 cm tin (I line mine with baking paper), and blind bake pastry for 10 minutes.

3. Melt butter and chocolate using a double boiler, and add remaining filling ingredients apart from the eggs while the mixture is cooling down.

4. Combine vanilla cream cheese swirl mixture ingredients in a bowl until smooth.

5. When the mixture is at room temperature, add eggs and mix until thoroughly combined.

6. Pour chocolate filling into the pastry case and then spoon in cream chesse mixture, using a knife to then swirl it through. 

7. Bake for 40 minutes until cooked, then allow to cool.

8. After cool cut with a clean knife the slice into squares.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Desserts: Mary's Minimal Fuss Chocolate Sauce

Mary's Minimal Fuss Chocolate Sauce

This is Mary Bollard recipe. She seems to have a nack of collecting recipes which require few ingredients and minimal effort for the favour they deliver. This recipe can be made with ingredients from just about any pantry. Even most boys flats (perhaps without the vanilla essence)!

1 Cup Sugar
3 Tablespoons Cocoa
1/2 Cup Boiling Water
1/2 Teaspoon Butter
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence

1. Place sugar, cocoa and water in a medium sized pot and boil for 5-10 minutes without stirring.

2. When mixture is reduced and thick and syrupy, add butter and vanilla. Mix thoroughly and serve over ice-cream, fruit or as desired.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Biscuits, Cookies and Slices: Vanilla Bean, Cardamon and Pistatio Shortbread

Vanilla Bean, Cardamon and Pistachio Shortbread

These are similar to the Ottolenghi style shortbread, however his were not quite to my taste. I, unlike the Greeks etc., enjoy a sweet shortbread. His I must say, lacked the essential sweetness which I love. I also have added vanilla bean paste because I love the way in which it takes you one taste pathway and the cardamon then leads you down another. "A taste adventure" 

200 g Unsalted Butter
70g Icing Sugar
10 Cardamon Pods (must be fresh, if have been sitting in the cupboard for a while use 12 - 14 depending on their age)
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Bean Paste
50g Cornflour
210g Flour
1 Small Egg, Lightly Beaten
70gish (a large handful) Pistachio Nuts, Chopped in blender so some of them form a finely chopped green powder and others a chunky

1. Cream butter and icing sugar together, until pale and fluffy.

2. Crush cardamon pods in mortar and pestle. Remove pods, and grind cardamon until a fine-ish powder has formed.

3. Add cardamon powder and vanilla bean paste to butter and icing sugar mix, and beat to combine.

4. Add flours and beat or mix until just combined.

5. Turn out onto floured surface and roll into a log. Gladwrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

6. Remove log from fridge and, using a pastry brush, brush egg wash all over logs outside, before rolling log in pistachio nuts.

7. Return to fridge for another 30 minutes while the oven heats to 150C (or place log in freezer for a later date).

8. Remove from fridge and slice into 0.8mm-ish slices and place on tray (if removing from freezer remember to allow log to soften up on bench before attempting to cut it. I would recommend a few hours).

9. Bake for approx 20 minutes until lightly golden.

Baking: Lemon and Almond Tart

Lemon and Almond Tart

This is a Ruth Pretty number, which Mum and I have made many many times. We have taken it on picnics, to pot luck dinners, Toast Martinbourgh weekends, the list goes on. I believe it even featured on Mum's 50th birthday menu. This tart would be lovely topped with lots of blueberries or raspberries and perhaps a drizzle of lemon curd.

3 Eggs
Just over 3/4 Cup Caster Sugar
3 Lemons (Zested and Juiced)
1 Cup Ground Almonds
140g Butter

1 Recipe Sweet Almond Pastry, rolled out into a 24cm tart tin (unbaked) and refridgerated for at least 30 minutes.

1. Place all ingredients (not including pastry) in food processer until nice and smooth.

2. Pour lemon filling into the unbaked tart shell and bake for 25 - 30 minutes at 200C. 

3. Serve with yoghurt/cream and berries.

Basics: Sweet Almond Pastry

Sweet Almond Pastry

Normally I would give all flour/sugar etc. measurements in Cups, Tablespoons, Dessertspoons and Teaspoons, however with pastry and bread it is much easier to use weight. Small pastry cases of this could be filled with lemon curd or chocolate ganche and toped with a strawberry.

160g Flour
50g Caster Sugar
35g Almond Meal
Zest of Lemon (Optional)
Pinch of Salt
115g Butter, Diced
1 Egg
1 Teaspoon Brandy or Rum
1 Teaspoon Milk

1. Whiz flour, sugar, almond meal, lemon, salt and sugar in the food processor (fitted with metal blade)

2. Whisk egg, brandy and milk together. Ppour into food processor feeding tube, and whizz together until just combined.

3. Remove from food processor bowl, roll into large ball, gladwrap and place in frige for at least an hour.

4. Roll out with a little flour to line tin, pie dish etc.

5. May be required to blind bake for 10 minutes depending on filling.


My favourite part of party food, is enjoying the leftovers (it seems so much tastier as a leftover). This is simply because after the event, there is time to enjoy the food without distraction.

May I just say that the B&B Brulee, unbruleed straight from the fridge is delious for a midnight snack (these were leftovers from our New Years Day BBQ and last for approx a week). The recipe calls for raspberries, but blueberries, plums or any other berries or soft fruit does the trick nicely (with larger fruit, serve on the side instead of in the custard).

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Mains: Noodle Stir Fry

Noodle Stir Fry

I make this for myself in the flat, as well as for the family at home. It is one of the familys favourite quick mix meals. I make this so often I have never taken a photo of it, but I will next time I make it and update it. :)

4 Pieces Beef Scienzel, Sliced (or Chicken Breast/Thighs)
1 Tablespoon Seseme Seed Oil
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Large Onions
1 Teaspoon Brown Sugar or Maple Syrup
2 Tablespoons Soya Sauce
1 Teaspoon Kea Cap Manis (optional)
1 Beef Oxo Cube
1 1/2 Tablespoon Chili Sauce
1 Teaspoon Ginger, Grated
4 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
1/2 Tablespoon Fish Sauce
1 Tablespoon Cumin Powder
1 1/2 Large Tablespoon Peanut Butter
1 Lemon, Juiced
1 Chili, Chopped, washed and deseeded
1 Red Pepper, Sliced/Diced
1 Carrot, Shredded
1/2 Cup Frozen Vegetables (optional)

1. Heat a wok containing oils over a moderate heat, add beef (or chicken) and lightly brown.

2. Add rest of ingredients in order listed, stirring after each addition.

3. Once all are added and sauce has lightly coated vegetables, serve with rice or noodles and enjoy.

Lunch or Easy Dinner: Chicken Burgers

Chicken Burgers

Mum used to make these for Weston and I when we were little. These chicken rissoles are great with some tomato relish however I love them in a bun with some satay vegetables. I use the same satay sauce as for my Noddle Stir Fry. If making your own Noddle Stir Fry sauce is to much of an effort on a cruisey Tuesday night, peanut satay is readily available in the refrigerated section at your supermarkert (or Moore Wilsons).

300 Grams Raw Chicken Minced
1 Small Onion finely chopped
4 Tablespoons Crushed Pineapple
½ Teaspoon Chicken Stock Powder
2 Tablespoons Chopped Parsley

1. Dry toasted Breadcrumbs to bind.

2. Mix all ingredients together in food processor.

3. Make into Rissoles.

4. Fry rissoles until cooked thoroughly through and crispy on both sides.

5. Serve in buns with vegetables (such as satay vegetables) / or relish and lettuce

The satay vegetables are easily made by adding onions, chopped carrots, broccoli, mung bean sprouts, etc. as well as "Noodle Stir Fry Sauce" and sauteing for a few minutes (this will be posted in a latter post).

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Bit on the Side: Mustardy Garlicy Aioli

Mustardy Garlicy Aioli

I love to keep this in the fridge, as it is so versatile. It is perfect with ham or with shoe string fries or even to season bread crumbs!

5 or 6 Small Egg Yolks
3 Cloves Garlic, Blanched
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Sea Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
3 Teaspoons Wholegrain Mustard
Juice 1 1/2 Lemons
400 mL Rice Bran Oil
100 mL Olive Oil

1. Place all ingredients but oil in food processer and blitz.

2. Add approx 50 mL oil and turn food processer on.

3. Leave on and very slowly pour, in a continuous stream, the left over oil into the food processer via the feeding tube. The mixture should thicken.

4. Spoon mixture into a jar and store in fridge for up to  a week.