Saturday, 19 April 2014

Chocolate Madeleines

Just a little treat to tide us over until the Easter Bunny comes.

Chocolate Madeleines
adapted from SBS
Makes 12

40g unsalted butter, melted (plus extra for greasing)
80g cake flour
20g cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
100g caster sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk (a little extra if needed)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
Icing sugar to serve

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and sugar into a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg, milk and vanilla paste together.

Pour the egg and milk into the dry ingredients and whisk until combined. Add the melted butter and whisk again. It should be dropping consistency (the batter drops easily from the whisk). If it is a little stiff, add a little more milk. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 170 C.

Brush a madeleine pan with melted butter. Make sure the pan and indentations are well coated with butter.

Spoon the batter into a piping bag and pipe it evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for 10 - 12 minutes, or until they are slightly puffed and spring back when gently pressed. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Grilled Corn with Creamy Chipotle Dressing

My Ode to Corn (with a little help from Fatboy Slim)

We've come a long long way together,
Through the hard times and the good,
I have have to celebrate you baby,
I have to praise you like I should
                                               - "Praise You" Fatboy Slim

Grilled Corn with Creamy Chipotle Dressing
Serves 6

6 ears of corn, shucked

For the Creamy Chipotle Dressing:
1 chipotle en adobo sauce (with about 1 tablespoon of the sauce)
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons coriander leaves
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup Greek yoghurt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
Lime wedges to serve
2 tablespoons coriander leaves, finely chopped to serve

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and boil the corn for 10 minutes. Drain.

Heat a barbecue grill plate or a grill pan to high. Place the boiled corn onto the hot plate and grill until toasted on all sides. Turn often.

Make the Creamy Chipotle Dressing:
Put all of the dressing ingredients in a blender and blitz.

When the corn is toasted on all sides, place them on a serving platter, drizzle with Creamy Chipotle Dressing, sprinkle with chopped coriander and an extra squeeze of lime.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Blackberry Syrup Milkshake


I grew up with two older brothers and two younger sisters. On summer holidays, we would walk to the local swimming pool and spend our afternoons there. We spent hours in the sun, jumping off the big diving board, bombing each other and lying in the sun. My oldest brother Mark, was given some money so that we could all buy a treat from the cafe. While Mark would always choose a Choc Wedge, my other brother Geoff would get a soft drink and my two little sisters Susan and Liza would get icypoles, I would inevitably get a Pink Drink. I don't know what was in the Pink Drink, probably commercial syrup filled with artificial colours and flavours, but it was heaven to me. It was always served up icy cold and in a great big red and white striped paper cup with a thick red straw standing up in the centre of it. This is my version of the Pink Drink. When I drink it, I could be 12 years old again.

Blackberry Syrup Milkshake

Makes 1

For the Blackberry Syrup:
250g blackberries (fresh or frozen)
Juice and finely grated zest of an orange
Juice and finely grated zest of a lemon
1/3 cup caster sugar

For the Milkshake:
1 scoop vanilla ice cream (or two *wink*)
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons blackberry syrup (or more if you prefer)
Whipped cream for serving
Extra blackberry syrup for drizzling

Make the Blackberry Syrup:
Put all the ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a lively simmer and cook until the blackberries have softened and the liquid becomes syrupy and coats the back of a spoon, about 6 - 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Once cool, pour it into a blender and blitz until it becomes a puree. Push it through a sieve to get rid of the seeds and skins and then pop the syrup into the fridge to cool.

Make the Milkshake:
Put all the ingredients except the whipped cream and extra syrup into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a large glass, top with whipped cream and drizzle with extra syrup.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Apple and Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns

I made Caramel-Studded Hot Cross Buns last year and they were a big hit with my kids. Back then, both my boys were anti-dried-fruit. But when I made this No-Knead Fruit Bread with Candied Orange and Cinnamon Butter recently, my eldest son couldn't get enough of it. He ate almost half the loaf standing at the kitchen counter, in silence then asked "What's for dinner Mum?" (he's thirteen... and growing). I thought I'd risk a fruity hot cross bun this year seeing as how we've just harvested the apples from our trees and at least one of our kids might help Clint and I eat them. The other child will just have to be content with obscene amounts of chocolate. It's tough, but I'm sure he's up to the challenge.

Apple and Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns
adapted from Gourmet Traveller
Makes 20

325g golden caster sugar, divided
1 lemon (I used a Meyer lemon), cut in half and 1 half cut into small dice
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 cinnamon stick
750g "00" flour
150 sultanas
14g dried yeast (2 sachets)
31/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
Finely grated rind 1 large orange
380ml warm milk (40 - 43 C)
100g butter, melted and cooled

Line a large baking pan with baking paper. I used a 30cm round pan. Set aside.

Put 260g of the golden caster sugar, 375ml water and the juice of half of the lemon into a saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the diced apple and diced half of the lemon and the cinnamon stick and bring to the simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 20 - 25 minutes until the fruit starts to breakdown and is very soft. Strain, reserving the fruit and syrup separately. Put the fruit into a blender and blitz until you have a smooth puree. Set aside.

Put 700g of the flour, sultanas, dried yeast, 3 teaspoons of the ground cinnamon, allspice, salt. apple and lemon puree, remaining 65g of golden caster sugar and orange zest into the bowl of a electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. With the mixer on low, add the melted butter, egg and enough of the warm milk to form a soft dough. You may not need all of the milk. Mix on low 5 minutes then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead with your hands for a couple of minutes. Form the dough into a ball and place it in a buttered bowl, cover with cling film and leave it in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30 - 40 minutes.

Knock back the dough and divide it into 20 even portions. Knead each portion and shape it into a ball. Arrange the balls circles on the prepared baking pan, leaving 1cm between each to allow the dough to expand. Cover with a cloth and stand in a warm place for 30 - 40 minutes until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 220 C.

Combine the remaining 50g flour with 70ml water in a bowl and stir until it forms a smooth paste. Spoon the paste into a disposable plastic piping bag, cut a small hole in the tip and pipe crosses onto each bun.

Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 200 C and bake for a further 8 - 10 minutes, until golden and the buns sound hollow when the bases are tapped.

While the buns are baking, make the glaze by combining the reserved syrup and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon in a small saucepan and stir it over medium heat until it reduces to a syrupy consistency. Brush the glaze thickly over the hot buns, then transfer them onto a wire rack to cool.

Apple and Blueberry Shortcake

When my sister came over to my house to give me a manicure and a pedicure, the least I could do was bake her a cake... Then help her eat it.

Apple and Blueberry Shortcake
adapted from Bill Granger's Bill's Food

4 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced
150g fresh blueberries
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
125g unsalted butter
125g caster sugar
1 egg
185g "00" flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon milk, for brushing
2 teaspoons demerara sugar, for sprinkling
2 tablespoons sliced almonds for the top of the cake

Put the apples, lemon zest, light brown sugar and 2 tablespoons water into a frying pan and cook them on a low heat for about 10 minutes with the lid on. The apples should be starting to breakdown. Add the blueberries and cook until they just start to release their juices. The pan should be quite dry, not to much juice. Set aside to cool completely.

Put the butter and caster sugar into a food processor and blitz until it is fluffy. Add the egg and process again. Add the flour and baking powder and process just until it comes together. Turn it out onto a lightly floured board and bring it together with your hands. Divide the dough into 2 even sized portions. Wrap them in cling film and set them in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Roll the pastry into rounds that will fit a 24cm springform cake pan. Press one round into the bottom of the pan. Spread the cooked fruit over the dough, leaving a small boarder around the edges. Place the other round on top of the fruit and press the edges together.

Brush the top with milk, sprinkle with the dererara sugar and almonds and bake for 35 - 40 minutes. Allow the cake to cool in the tin before removing. Serve with whipped cream.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Cottage Loaf with Linseed, Sunflower Seed and Almond Meal

I can't decide whether it's laziness or the love of baking that has me baking my own bread rather than putting my shoes on to go out and buy a loaf.

Cottage Loaf with Linseed, Sunflower Seed and Almond Meal 
adapted from Good to Know

500g "00" flour
10g dry yeast
10g fine sea salt
30g unsalted butter, softened and cut into small chunks
350ml lukewarm water
1/4 cup L.S.A (Linseed, Sunflower Seed and Almond Meal)

Put the flour and yeast into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix briefly to combine. Add the butter and salt and the about 300ml of the warm water. Mix on low speed. If the dough is dry, keep adding the water a little at a time until you have a dough ball that come away from the sides of the bowl. Mix for another 5 minutes with mixer on low.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead with your hands for a few minutes. The dough should be soft and elastic.

Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with cling film, and leave it to rise for an hour in a warm place.

Knock the air out of the dough with a firm punch. The dough should deflate. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and add the L.S.A.. Knead the L.S.A. into the dough.

Cut the dough into two portions, one large than the other and roll them into two balls. Place the smaller ball on top of the larger ball. Flour your finger and make a hole in the middle of the dough, through both balls all the way through, until you can touch the the work surface with your finger. Use a sharp knife to cut lines down the sides of the loaf and place it onto a large baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover the dough with oiled cling film and leave it to rise for another hour until risen.

Preheat the oven to 220 C.

Put a large dish in the bottom of the oven and pour a little bit of water into it. This will create steam in the oven. Place the bread onto the shelf above the water and bake for 25 - 30 minutes. The loaf is ready with it is golden and risen and sounds hollow when tapped on the base.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Sunday Brunch Tacos

... now all I need is a Bloody Maria.

Sunday Brunch Tacos
adapted from Gourmet Traveller
Makes 8

For the Corn Tortillas:
125g Masa Harina (I get mine from Monterey Mexican Foods)
Pinch of salt
60ml warm water (a little more or a little less)

For the Tacos:
8 flour tortillas (as above)
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 eggs
1/2 cup coriander leaves
3 spring onions, finely sliced
2 small red chillies, finely sliced
Hot sauce and lime wedges to serve

Make the Tortillas:
Put the masa harina into a bowl with a pinch of salt and add enough warm water to make a smooth dough. Mix with your hands for about 2 minutes then form the dough into a ball. Leave the dough in the bowl, cover the bowl with cling wrap and leave for 20 minutes.

Divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Roll each portion into a small ball and using a couple of sheets of baking paper on each side of the dough to stop it from sticking, press them with a tortilla press.

Heat a dry frying pan to medium-high heat and fry one tortilla at a time, turning them a few times. They will puff up and be tinged golden brown at the edges. As you remove them from the pan, immediately wrap with in a clean tea towel to keep them warm and help them steam a little to make them soft. Repeat until you have 8 warm tortillas.

Make the Tacos:
Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the eggs, about 2 at a time, until they are done to your liking (about 2 - 2 1/2 minutes for a soft yolk).

Place the warm tortillas onto plates, top with a fried egg and finish with a few coriander leaves, a few sliced spring onions and chillies, a splash of hot sauce and a squeeze of lime.