Thursday, 20 July 2017

Chocolate Pie

Two of my favourite words (and things)... Chocolate and Pie.

Chocolate Pie:
adapted from here

For the Pastry:
For the Pastry:
125g unsalted butter, plus extra for buttering
80g caster sugar
150g plain flour, sifted
50g cocoa powder, sifted

For the Filling:
1½ cups caster sugar
¼ cup cornflour
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
3 cups full cream milk
4 egg yolks
180 dark chocolate (70%), finely chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
30g unsalted butter

Make the Pastry:
Lightly butter a 22cm glass or ceramic pie dish. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes until pale. Stop the mixer and add the flour and cocoa. Turn the mixer onto low speed and mix until it resembles damp sand.

Dump the mixture into the prepared pan and press it evenly into the base and sides, making it as thin as you can. Place in the refrigerator to chill for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 190C.
Bake the pastry shell for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven.. If the pastry has slipped down the sides during baking, gently press it back up with your fingers. Leave to cool on a wire rack in the pan, until completely cool before filling.

Make the Filling:
Put the sugar, cornflour and salt into a medium saucepan and whisk to combine.  Add the milk and egg yolks and whisk until smooth.

Pop the pan over medium heat and stir until it comes to simmering point.  As soon as the mixture starts to bubble and thicken, remove it from the heat and add the chocolate, vanilla and butter.  Stir until smooth.

Pour the filling into the prepared crust and chill, uncovered in the the refrigerator, for at least 4 hours before cutting.  Serve with whipped cream.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Roasted Cauliflower and Green Pepper Soup with Blue Corn and Parmesan Taquitos

I know for some people soup is not a meal, but I'm more than happy with a bowlful of hot, thick, creamy soup and a tray of crunchy chips to dip.  I'm pretty low-maintenance really.  

Roasted Cauliflower and Green Pepper Soup with Blue Corn and Parmesan Taquitos
slightly adapted from here
Serevs 4

For the Soup:
1 large head cauliflower, broken into florets
2 large or 4 small green capsicums
2 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 litre chicken stock
1/2 cup cream

For the Taquitos:
A bag of blue corn tortilla chips
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan

Make the Soup:
Preheat the oven to 200C. Put the cauliflower florets on a baking tray. Drizzle both with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Roast for about 30 minutes, until it is tender and starting to brown at the edges.  Put the cauliflower into a saucepan.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, char the capsicums on a barbecue or directly on a gas flame.  Remove once blackend and blistered, Place in a bowl, over with plastic wrap and leave for 10 minutes.  Peel the skin off and chop the flesh.  Add it to the saucepan with the roasted cauliflower. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

Pour into a blender and blitz until smooth.  Pour it through a sieve back into a clean saucepan.  Bring back to a simmer and add the cream.  Adjust the seasoning.

Make the Taquitos:
Preheat the grill to high. Spread the corn chips onto a baking tray and sprinkle with the Parmesan.  Grill until golden brown.

Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a few taquitos.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Espresso and Hazelnut Friands

We arrived back home from a holiday in sunny Malaysia to freezing conditions... and a mountain of laundry. In KL ('cause that's what the cool kids call Kuala Lumpur), we breakfasted on the most delicious freshly made roti with bowls of dahl for dunking and large glasses of icy kopi tarik (iced coffee) in 35C heat.  The evening we arrived back in Melbourne, it was -4C!!!  One day we were sipping cold drinks in the sun, the next we were cupping hot mugs of coffee in our hands to keep warm.  Not that I'm complaining, I love breakfast no matter where I'm eating it.

Below are a few holiday snaps I took if you're interested (there are more on my IG page).  Otherwise, just scroll to the bottom for the recipe.

Espresso and Hazelnut Friands
slightly adapted from here
Makes 9

50g cacao powder
2 tablespoons cornflour
50g golden caster sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
230g ground hazelnuts
40g dark chocolate, chopped
100ml olive oil
125g honey
80ml brewed espresso
5 egg whites
Hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 180C.  Grease nine 110ml-capacity friand tins and line them with a strip of baking paper.  Set aside.

Sift the cacao powder, cournflour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl.  Add the ground hazelnuts and half of the chocolate.  Stir to combine and set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine the oil and honey and place over low heat until the honey is runny. Remove from the heat and add the espresso.  Set aside.

In a bowl, use a balloon whisk to whip the egg whites until frothy.  

Add the oil mixture and egg whites to the cacao mixture.  Gently fold to combine.  Spoon the batter into the prepared tins and sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts and remaining chocolate.

Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.  Leave to cool in tins for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Potato Chip Tortilla with Sriracha Mayo

I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to food.  I like making things from scratch, using fresh, unprocessed ingredients wherever possible.  I enjoy simple food cooked the way it's been cooked for generations... An "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" kinda thing. Having said that, I also like to try new and innovative things when they catch my eye (this does not include freak shakes or deep fried Mars bars). Which brings me to this glorious creation.  I've made my fair share of Spanish omelettes over the years using the traditional method of peeling and thinly slicing potatoes.  Drying them and frying them in copious amounts of olive oil. Draining them, mixing them with the eggs and crossing my fingers and toes, hoping that by the end the potatoes are soft and the eggs are set, but not overcooked. But that's the way I used to do it.  This new method is hands down much quicker and easier and just as delicious. It's the only way I'll be making my Spanish Omelettes from this day forward. And if it's good enough for Ferran Adrià, it's good enough for me.

Potato Chip Tortilla with Sriracha Mayo
ever so slightly adapted from here
Serves 6

For the Mayo:
¼ cup good quality mayonaise
2 tablespoons sriracha 
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

For the Omelette:
10 eggs
100ml pouring cream
250g salted potato chips
1 tablespoon olive oil
Coriander leaves, for garnish
Sriracha, for garnish

Make the Mayo:
Put all the mayo ingredients into a bowl and stir to combine.  Set aside.

Make the Omelette
Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl, add the cream and whisk until combined.  Tip in the chips and mix gently.  Set aside for 10 minutes stirring now and then.  The chips will soften and settle in the egg mixture.

Put a medium non-stick frying pan over medium heat and add the oil.  I used a 20cm pan which was perfect.  Once the oil is hot, add the omelette mixture and tamp it down with a spatula, pressing it gently onto the base and into the sides of the pan, making leveling the top.  Cook for 5 minutes, loosening the sides with your spatula as it sets.

Remove the pan from the heat, place a large plate over the pan and deftly tip the pan over so that the tortilla ends up on the plate, cooked side up.  Gently side the tortilla back into the pan, uncooked side down and return it to the heat to cook for another 5 minutes.  Turn the tortilla out onto the plate and set aside for 5 minutes before serving with dollops of the Sriracha Mayo, a drizzle of Sriracha and a scattering of coriander leaves.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Raw Vegan Peanut Butter Brownie Bites

Snackage... Seriously good, snackage.

Raw Vegan Peanut Butter Brownie Bites
slightly adapted from here
Makes 16

For the Base:
150g raw cashews
Pinch salt
100 rolled oats
15 medjool dates, pitted
20g cacao powder

For the Filling:
150g natural peanut butter (I use Mayvers Dark Roasted Smooth Peanut Butter)

For the Topping:
150ml coconut oil, melted and cooled
80ml maple syrup
20g cacao powder

Make the Base:
Line a 20cm x 20cm cake pan with baking paper.  Set aside.

Blitz the cashews, salt and oats in a food processor until they become a fine meal.  Add the dates and cacao powder and blitz again until the mixture comes together.  Add a splash of water if the mixture seems too dry.  Press the mixture into the prepared pan and stick it in the freezer for an hour.

Once the base is chilled, spread with peanut butter.

Put the oil, maple and cacao powder in a bowl and whisk until combined.  Pour the topping over the peanut butter layer.  Chill in the refrigerator until firm before cutting.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Rye Soda Bread

I had planned to bake a loaf of sourdough, but I got distracted with this and that and ran out of time and motivation.  And then there was Soda Bread... Life. Saved.

Rye Soda Bread
Slightly adapted from here

250g wholemeal flour (I use Atta flour), plus extra for dusting
100g rye flour
50g traditional oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 level teaspoon fine sea salt
1 egg
300ml buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 190C and dust a baking tray with wholemeal or Atta flour. Set aside.

Place both flours, oats, baking soda and salt in a large bowl and mix.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and buttermilk together.  

Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a fork until it starts to come together. Flour your hands and turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.  Bring the dough together and form it into a ball.  Press the ball down until it is about 3cm deep.  Sprinkle the dough with some flour, score a deep cross in the top using a serrated knife, and bake for 40 minutes.  Eat while warm, preferably slathered with the best unsalted butter you can get your hands on.