Sunday, August 31, 2008
Today's quantity was in danger of not getting used at all. I had so many of them I had stowed them in the fridge while I decided what to do with them. The trouble is, as much as I love lime curd and lime cakes, it isn't exactly the healthiest fare! Plus, I know that I will end up eating it all! My solution this time was to make a cordial with it all. The recipe came from Sophie Gray's Destitute Gourmet: More Stunning Food from Small Change, this is the second book of three which I have bought of hers, they are all excellent books for making a little luxury go a long way and for homemade versions of lots of favourites, like condensed milk, drinking chocolate or homemade dairy products like buttermilk or mascarpone. They are fabulous books that I have gotten a great deal of value out of as I refer to them often. I knew I would at least leave this alone as I am not really a fan of sweet drinks although I did try it in with some Cointreau and soda with a few mint leaves, and it was VERY good. So maybe I won't be leaving it alone......Lemon/Lime squash
2 cups lemon or lime juice
750g white sugar
1 tbsp tartaric acid
1 tbsp citric acid
500 ml boiling water
grated zest of three of the lemons/limes
Add juice to the sugar, tartaric and citric acids, in a medium saucepan. Pour on the boiling water, heat gently then grate in the zest. Stir to ensure the sugar is completely dissolved then pour into bottle for storing. Store in the fridge. To serve, pour about into large glass and top with soda water or cold water, adding a few mint leaves if you like. Use a ratio of about 1 part cordial to 6 parts water. Also nice for an adults drink with vodka or cointreau!
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Okay those are the moans over with, it does taste VERY nice, the syrup makes it lovely and keeps it moist. It has a lovely fine texture and kept extremely well overnight, you could definitely make this ahead of time.Here's the recipe if you are game....
Rhubarb, Lime and Orange Cake (from NZ Cuisine mag)
120g rhubarb (thinner stems if available), cut into 3cm slices
225g caster sugar
grated zest and juice of 2 large limes
4 teaspoons baking powder
25g ground almonds
For the syrup
grated zest of 2 large limes
juice of 4 large limes
115g caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Spray a 20cm round cake tin with baking spray, and line the base and sides with a double layer of baking paper.
Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil, add the rhubarb and boil for 1 minute. Drain and leave to cool.
Peel the oranges with a sharp knife, cutting just beneath the pith, then cut each segment from its membrane.
Beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy, then beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the zest then fold in the sifted flour and baking powder, the almonds and lime juice (the mixture should be a dropping consistency). Fold in the rhubarb then spoon the mixture into the prepared tin. Place the orange segments evenly on top. Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. If the top begins to colour too quickly, cover loosely with a piece of foil.
For the syrup
To make the syrup place the zest, juice and sugar in a small saucepan on a low heat and cook until the sugar has dissolved. Do not allow to boil.
Once cooked, remove the cake from the oven and pour the syrup over. Leave to cool a little before removing from the tin.
Friday, August 29, 2008
The lasagne I made with my first failed attempt at mozzarella, which ended up looking alot like ricotta, so I whizzed it up with some spinach as a layer for the lasagne (I had tried to make the mozzarella for adorning the top but it was obviously not to be!) I also cooked and mashed some pumpkin and of course layered it with a cheese sauce. It was fabulous and again, the leftovers were packaged up for the freezer! I really love the common sense aspect of cooking like this, it is cheaper and healthier than takeaways and both those outcomes just make me feel better!
Ultimate Meat Sauce (From Taste Magazine August 08)
4 Tbsp olive oil
Heat the oil in a large heavy-based ovenproof pot, then sauté the onions, garlic, bacon and herbs for a couple of minutes or until soft.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Coby's recipe is here (and she explains it so well that I am not going to try and reproduce it here!). The nice thing is that it is wonderfully flexible, as long as you start with a tasty stock and some noodles the rest is really up to your imagination and personal taste. We followed Coby's recommendations mostly, the pork fillet was simply wonderful done this way and I did extra to use sliced up in fried rice the next day. The kids limited themselves to corn, carrot and noodles, which was just fine as it made for an 'inclusive' (and interactive!) dinner which is just what I was aiming for. Glen is not usually a fan of such dishes but happily slurped his up too. I used some lovely thin egg noodles and along with the pork I got some sugar snap peas, some corn, sliced spring onions, thin strips of celery and carrot, and some coriander. I really like this idea for an entertaining option too!
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
This recipe is a WINNER (my thighs can vouch for it!!!). Another plus is that my son Rex has mastered it and is regularly whipping it up now. Self saucing puds are a real favourite of mine, I am always trialling chocolate versions, but this butterscotch one takes some beating. It is quickly made and oh so satisfying for a filling dessert! It makes plenty of sauce to go with the light spongy top and tastes fabulous. I found the original recipe needed more flour as it seemed a little 'wet' to me, so I added about an extra 1/3 c flour. I have not adjusted the recipe that follows so see how you go....
Butterscotch self-saucing puddingIngredients (serves 6)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups (190g) self-raising flour
100g butter, melted
1/2 cup (125ml) milk
4 tbs golden syrup
1 tbs cornflour
1 1/2 cups (375ml) boiling water
Double cream or ice cream, to serve
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
I let the bread machine do the kneading (as I usually do- but the kids always enjoy the measuring part!) and actually found that this needed extra flour- but it could just have been all the moisture in the air (it feels like it has rained for months now!). We then shaped these, and fried them in the oil before dredging them in cinnamon and sugar. They were lovely and went down a treat!
They are really quite simple to make and the yeasty hit that you get when you bite into them is well worth the effort! I didn't bother with putting the jam in, doing that with kids would have totally ruined the experience, so we served jam on the side. I reckon though that it might be worth having a go at 'syringing' the jam in afterwards, that I think the kids would definitely enjoy!
Mini Jam Doughnuts (From Nigella’s Feast)
15g unsalted butter
250g bread flour
1/2 packet (1 1/2 teaspoons) easy blend or instant yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
225g caster sugar
2 tablespoons strawberry jam
vegetable oil for deep-frying
Warm the milk and butter together in a saucepan, taking it off the heat when the butter is melting. Put the flour, yeast, salt and 25g of the sugar in a bowl. Beat the egg into the warmed milk and butter and pour this into your bowl of dry ingredients, mixing it with a wooden spoon.
Either using your hands, or a dough-hook of a freestanding mixer, knead the dough until it is smooth and silky (don't worry, it will get to that stage eventually), if you're doing this by hand (which is a better option), it'll probably take about 10 minutes.
Pat the dough into a round ball and put into a buttered bowl, covered in clingfilm and leave to rise somewhere warm, it should double in size and this could take 1-2 hours.
When it gets to that stage, punch the dough down and kneed again to make the dough smooth. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 2cm thickness and cut out circles with a 4cm round cutter. You can re-roll the dough to make more circles.
Make the dough circles into flatter rounds in your hands and then put an 1/8 teaspoon jam in the centre and fold in half and carefully roll it back into a a round ball shape. Sit the doughnuts on a baking sheet as you make the rest.
If you decided not to use any sort of filling, just shaped the dough into small sized balls and place them on a baking sheet.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a deep fat fryer or a wok and then cook the mini doughnuts roughly six at a time for about 5 minutes in total, flipping them over halfway through cooking so that they brown evenly on all sides. Make sure to use a lower heat setting and watch the oil so that it doesn't overheat, this is important as it'll make the little doughnuts darken to quickly.
Put the remaining sugar into a shallow bowl and as the doughnuts come out of the fryer, dredge them in the sugar, rolling them around to get and even coating
Monday, August 25, 2008
This is one of my fallback recipes. Well, as usual, it is not really a recipe but a guide and it is probably seldom made the same twice! Which is of course why I make it so often, because it is the kind of dessert that can be tweaked to produce something a little different each time. The variations come in the kinds of fruit used (fresh or frozen) and also in what goes into the topping. I will more often than not pop oats into the topping, will experiment with different sugars (white, brown, demerara, muscovado are all good options), normal or wholemeal flour, and any kind of nut is a welcome addition here too!
Tonights version was frozen rasberries, tossed with vanilla extract and a little sugar, and topped with your bog standard crumble topping of flour, butter, sugar with oats and sliced almonds for a change! Bake at 180C till the fruit is bubbling up through the topping and the crumble is nicely browned on top. Such a quick, easy and yummy weeknight dessert!
Friday, August 22, 2008
The next dilemma was what to make with it! I thought I would make something simple so went with Nigella's Ricotta Hotcakes from Forever Summer
I have made these before with the store bought ricotta and while they were nice I didn't find them that spectacular to be honest. Well, what a difference was made by using this ricotta, these hotcakes were fabulously light and tangy -such a different flavour and texture, I am in LOVE with them! Nigella suggests serving these with strawberries but I served them with a vanilla berry syrup made with frozen berries(strawberries are a few months away yet!)
Ricotta Hot Cakes
250g ricotta cheese
125ml semi-skimmed milk
2 large eggs, separated
100g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 teaspoons oil
(strawberries on the side.)
Mix ricotta, milk and egg yolks. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat egg whites until foamy; fold into mix. Heat oil, drop heaped tablespoons of batter into pan. Cook about 1 minute per side. They should be a nice golden brown. Serve with maple syrup and strawberries.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
- To 1 gallon (4 litres) of milk (I used pasteurised, unhomogenised, whole milk, which in NZ used to be the silver top with the cream at the top. I used an organic milk) add 2 teaspoons of citric acid. Raise temperature to 88-90°F.(I popped it in a pot which I set into a sink of hot water, topping up with hot water to get it just over 'tepid' as I didn't have a thermometer! This is what the milk starts to look like as it curdles, the milk stays opaque)
- Add 1 tsp liquid rennet dissolved in 1/4 cup water. Add 1/4 teaspoon lipase powder if you want a stronger cheese. (I didn't use the lipase , I used Renco rennet, costs about $7.00 but would last for absolutely ages!Bought it at Foodtown, check the use by date though!)
- After milk has properly clotted (takes 2-3 minutes,the curds will have seperated, and the liquid will be a clearer yellowish green colour), let curds rest for 15-20 minutes and strain in muslin-type cheesecloth.
- Put curds into a microwave-safe dish and microwave on high for 59 seconds, then mash curds with a fork and put back into microwave for 15-20 seconds. Add 1 tbsp flaked salt to the mixture and begin to knead (just like bread). When mixture cools, after a minute or two, put back into the microwave for another 15-20 seconds and knead again. Back into the microwave and knead again - watch your hands - begin to stretch the curds. You can do this about four or five times, and by the end of those four or five times you should have a taffy-like consistency when the cheese is warmed; you should be able to pick it up and stretch it more than a foot. It will be glossy - when that happens and if little blisters appear as you put it into a mass (ball), it's done. What you are looking for is a smooth shiny consistency that "gets there" by the heating and stretching.
- Pinch off into small balls, drop into iced water for several minutes to cool it. Store in a plastic container in the fridge
Monday, August 18, 2008
250g/9oz caster sugar
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp natural vanilla extract
4 free-range eggs
250g/9oz self-raising flour, sifted
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
2. Grease and line the base of a deep 20cm/8in square baking tin with baking paper.
3. Beat the butter and sugar with an electric whisk until pale and creamy. Beat in the lemon zest and vanilla extract.
4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until just combined after each addition.
5. Fold in the sifted flour in two batches until well combined.
6. Spoon into the tin and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a skewer poked into the middle of the cake comes out clean (you can cover the cake loosely with foil if it is browning too quickly).
7. Cool for ten minutes before removing from the tin and turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Ice with lemon butter icing.
Lemon Butter Icing
75G/3oz Unsalted butter ( I use salted as it's usually what I have)
100G/4oz Icing Sugar
2 teasps finely grated lemon zest
2 teasps lemon juice
Beat the butter until soft and white.
Add lemon zest and juice
Gradually beat in sifted icing sugar
Spread over the cake
If making a sandwich cake you will need more of the buttercream
I add a good squeeze of lemon juice to the cake mixture too. Gives it more flavour I think
Friday, August 8, 2008
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
I had seen a recipe for poached tamarillos with coconut creamed rice, but couldn't remember where, so improvised and took another recipe I had found for poached pears in red wine (I also like this one here, but the one I used tonight is done on the stove top and is quicker) and I found a recipe for creamed rice in The Best of Annabel Langbein: Great Food For Busy Lives (revised and expanded edition) (my new favourite book!) which I adapted a little and reckoned Rex could easily make.
When Rex was instructed to stir for 20 mins, he didn't flinch, he just picked up the phone and got talking to a friend- my kind of kid!The combination of the two recipes is a match made in heaven, the tartness of the tamarillos went gorgeously with the rich creamy sweet rice, (Rex cooked it to perfection!) and we liked it so much we are going to do it again tonight!
Creamy Rice Pudding (adapted from Annabel Langbein)
6oo mls milk
400 mls coconut cream (1 tin)
1 cup short grain rice
3 tbsp honey or sugar (we used honey)
finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
generous grating of nutmeg (or pinch of ground)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/3 c sultanas or raisins (optional)
Place all ingredients in a saucepan and cook over a low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture is creamy and rice is cooked through. To microwave, place all ingredients in large microwave bowl. Cover tightly and cook at 70% power for 8 minutes, stirring twice. Reduce power to 50% and cook a further 11 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until rice is cooked and creamy. Serve hot or cold. Serves 4.
Tamarillos poached in Red Wine (serves 4)
This recipe came from the NZ Gardener special edition "Homegrown 2", a fabulous collection of inspirational ideas on how to grow/cook/use your own homegrown produce. I have read it from cover to cover and love it, have bookmarked several pages for trying, I really want a vege garden again!!!!! The editor of the magazine decided to drastically reduce her food bills and turned her inner city section into a huge vege garden and along with fruit and nut trees she is eating healthy, homegrown food and has slashed her grocery bill! Check out her blog if you want to learn more about it!
1 bottle red wine
1 1/2 c sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise flowers
2 cardomom pods
1 vanilla bean
juice of 2 oranges and zest of one
In large pot combine all ingredients (except tamarillos) and boil for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cut a cross in the ends of each tamarillo and place tamarillos in bowl of bowling water, making sure they are all well covered. Leave for 5 or so mins and then lift out and peel skin off from the cut crosses. They should peel off easily this way.
Pop peeled tamarillos whole into pot, turn down and simmer for about 20-30 minutes, turning gently and basting every so often. Lift out of liquid with a slotted spoon and place on a plate, reduce syrup down so it thickens.
To serve I put the creamed rice in the bowl with the tamarillos and lots of syrup drizzled over.