Saturday, March 26, 2011

Baking: Strawberry Frosting and Cupcakes

Vanilla Cupcakes

The girls from Lovely Wee Days bought some dried fruit powder from Fresh As. I was lucky enough to have been asked to go in with them for some strawberry and passionfruit powder. After picking it up last week I couldn't wait to try it. Therefore yesterday I made some vanilla cupcakes and smothered them with strawberry frosting (normal frosting with 1 teaspoon dried strawberry powder).

Probably some of the best icing I have ever had! Especially for the minimal fuss it required!

125g Butter
3/4 Cup Sugar
3 Eggs
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence
1 1/2 Cups Flour
3 Teaspoons Baking Powder 
1/3 Cup Milk

1. Preheat oven to 180C

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

3. Add eggs one by one, beating well after each addition.

4. Add vanilla, flour, baking powder and milk and beat until just combined.

5. Spoon into paper cases and bake for 15 - 20 minutes.

6. Place each on wire tray to cool before icing with your choice of frosting.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Kitchen Things: Pink Piggy Pancake Pan

I am very much a night owl, therefore a wee snack at 10pm or so is a treat i sometimes indulge in.

Lately one or two bite size piggy pancakes have done the trick. I think much of the satisfaction is down to the novelty factor.  I have never seen these cute wee pink piggy pancake pans (thats a lot of P's) in stores in NZ, however for my birthday this year my dear friend Lucinda brought me one back from Singapore.

The photo perhaps doesn't illustrate the little pig faces as well as seeing them in person, but you get the idea.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Little and Friday, Auckland

I have been having a blog break post quake... I think that rhymes....

Anyway getting back on track... A few weeks ago I finally got to Little and Friday, on Auckland's North Shore, for a fabulous morning tea (Note I believe they are now opening another L&F in Newmarket).

I had read reviews and seen their cupcakes in various magazines and, to be honest, I couldn't wait to try their cone shaped lamingtons to ensure they tasted as good as they looked.

On a somewhat damp Saturday morning the little neighbourhood cafe was packed. It is nestled in a somewhat shabby block of shops which back in their heyday would have been a busy spot. Its clean crisp white interior echos fashionable shabby chic, with mismatched white chairs and patterned plates as well as a milkcrate bookcase of beautifully wrapped treats to purchase.    

However first a savory treat was in order before my sweet finale. Lisa, Mum and I ordered savory pastries, topped with mushrooms or pesto and onion or encasing a mince and cheese pie filling. They were absolutely delicious, despite being eaten on a somewhat clumsy milk crate table (which I will say wasn't an easy task with flaky pastry!).

Three desserts were purchased and each taste tested. First was my chocolate lamington, second and third were two custard tarts with different fruit toppings (the apple one is pictured below). I believe mine was a real winner if you were a chocoholic, like myself, however Mum argued that hers may not have been as visually pleasing tasted divine.  

I intend to try and make my own cone shaped lamingtons (however I may tone down the chocolate rating, perhaps replacing the layers of chocolate ganche with a chocolate buttercream or replacing the chocolate cake with a traditional sponge cake).

I have added two links for you to browse and salivate over. 

If you are in Auckland I definitely recommend making time for morning tea, lunch or afternoon tea at Little and Friday even if its a quick stop in and take away.!/pages/Little-Friday/159309440759582?closeTheater=1

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mains: Piri Piri Chicken

Piri Piri Chicken

As my grandmothers family is from the Azores (islands off Portugal's coast), my family have always been interested in Portuguese cooking. This is a favourite we often have. The chicken is flattened. If you have a good butcher, he can do this for you, or if you have a sharp pair of kitchen scissors you can do it yourself.

Essentially all I do is cut either side of the  backbone and pull it out completely. I also pull out the smaller bones connected to it (ribs) for ease of cutting when cooked, and push hard down on it when it is laid out on the tray so it lies flat (you are not pushing hard enough unless you can hear a few bones breaking).

I find this meal tasty and easy to prepare with minimal ingredients. Try it yourself.

1 Large Chicken
1 Red Thai Chili, Seeded and Chopped Finely
1 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika
4 Cloves Garlic, Chopped Finely
1 Lemon, Juiced
2 Tablespoon Dried Oregano
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1. Preheat oven to 160C

2. Combine all ingredients apart from chicken in a bowl and mix together.

3. Pour mixture over chicken in a roasting tray and cook in the oven for about two hours.

4.  Baste chicken with the juices around it every twenty minutes or so.

5. When cooked allow to rest for five mixtures, before cutting into pieces and serving with a green salad and some baked potato.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Basics: Cream Cheese Pastry

Cream Cheese Pastry

This can be used as an alternative to puff pastry for quiches, pies and over savory pastry based dishes. Its great due to the fact its relatively quick and easy to make up from ingredients which normally you would have in your fridge or pantry! A family friend of ours, Jenny Parry, introduced Mum and I to this fab recipe.

This recipe is a Ruth Pretty creation.

2 Cups + 1 Tablespoon Flour
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Cup Cream Cheese
170g Unsalted Butter, Diced
2 Tablespoons Iced Water
1 Tablespoon Cider Vinegar

1. Place flour, baking powder and cream cheese in a food processor and whiz until almost combined.

2. Add butter and process until butter is size of small peas.

3. Add water and vinegar and process further until dough just beginning to come together.

4. Knead on a lightly floured board and work into a ball.

5. Wrap the ball in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight before rolling out.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mains: Chicken and Potato Mess

Chicken and Potato Mess

Quick, Easy and Tasty

1 kg potatoes - preferably new- use small potatoes or cut larger ones up
6 Chicken thighs - preferably boned but unboned is ok if it’s what you happen to have in the fridge. Chicken breast would do. Remember to adjust cooking time for different cuts.
3 Cups Cherry or 4-5 large Tomatoes, Chopped 
Basil, Large Bunch
4 T Olive Oil
2 T Balsamic Vinegar
2 Large Red Onions, Chopped
4 or 5 Cloves Garlic, Peeled
Couple Grinds of Pepper
Pinch Salt

1. Boil potatoes in water with the oxo cube until almost cooked. I like how the oxo cube adds flavor to the potatoes, but the water is ideal for later on in the recipe so do not discard.

2. In a heavy based roasting dish (with lid) over a medium heat add 3 good glugs of olive oil. Brown chicken and turn off heat. Add particularly cooked potatoes and a 1/2 cup of the water.

3. Place chicken and the rest of the ingredients in a ovenproof baking dish with a lid.

4. Bake for 40 minutes.