Thursday, 24 July 2014

Coconut Scones

If I can cram coconut into a recipe I will and I make no apologies for it.

Coconut Scones
inspired by Tana Ramsay's Real Family Food
Makes 6 enormous scones

450g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
250ml buttermilk (divided), plus extra for brushing
1 egg
30g desiccated coconut
40g ground almonds
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
5 tablespoons water

Preheat the oven to 220C. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper. Set aside.

Sieve the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the salt and set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat together the buttermilk and egg. Set aside.

In a third bowl, mix together the coconut, almonds, coconut sugar and water to make a paste. Set aside.

Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Mix together until it forms a soft dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly until it is smooth. Divide the dough into 6 equal portions.

Flatten each portion into a disc and put a tablespoon of the coconut paste into the centre of each. Fold the dough over the paste and pinch the edges together to seal. Use a rolling pin to gently flatten until they are 1.5cm thick.

Place the scones on the prepared baking sheet and brush tops with a little buttermilk. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes, or until golden. Serve warm.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Chocolate Chip Chocolate Bread

This is the perfect, simple cake to slice and pop into school lunch boxes, or wrap up in a pretty bow and give to a friend, or take on a picnic, or serve with coffee when friends drop in, or to eat in your kitchen at 11am after a work out and again at 3pm with a strawberry and chia smoothie. Yup, that just about covers it.

Chocolate Chip Chocolate Bread
slightly adapted from Good Food

175g unsalted butter, room temperature
175g caster sugar
3 eggs
140g self raising flour
85g ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
100ml buttermilk
1/4 cup cocoa powder
50g dark chocolate chips
100g white chocolate, chopped for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 160C. Spray a 23cm x 13cm loaf pan with cooking oil spray or line it with a loaf pan liner (I love those things). Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium for about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, flour, almonds, baking powder, salt, buttermilk and cocoa and mix on low until just incorporated. Stop the mixer and stir in the chocolate chips with a spatula.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 - 55 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Melt the white chocolate in a heat-proof bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water. Don't let the bowl touch the water. Drizzle the white chocolate over the cool cake. Leave to set before serving.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Freekah Salad with Halloumi, Toasted Almonds, Lemon and Parsley

I like my winter salads to be big and hearty and packed with nutty grains and satisfying cheese. I like them to be able to hold their own as a one bowl meal, or next to a piece of roasted chicken. I really like to eat them cross legged in front of the TV with a glass of deep scarlet wine and with my eyes on Jax and Opie from SOA.

I nearly saved this salad for Friday just so I could say "Freekah Friday", but I thought that would be too silly.

Freekah Salad with Halloumi, Toasted Almonds, Lemon and Parsley
slightly adapted from Karen Marini's Feasting
Serves 4

300g freekah
70g dried blueberries
100ml extra virgin olive oil
juice 1 lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 red onion, finely diced
1 large bunch parsley, leaves picked
50g toasted natural almonds, roughly chopped
250g halloumi

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and add the freekah. Reduce the heat and simmer for 40 minutes until tender. Drain and place into a serving bowl.

Slice the halloumi into 1/2cm slices. Put a dry frying pan on medium-high heat and cook the haloumi until it is golden brown on both sides. This will only take a minute or two. Add this to the freekah.

Add the dried blueberries, remaining olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to the warm freekah and cheese. Throw in the onion and parsley and toss everything together gently. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and serve.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Carrot Apple and Ginger Muffins - Gluten Free

Last week my kids were disappointed when they didn't get any of these Chocolate Friands with Mocha Fudge Frosting that I made as a gift for a friend. Today I made these Carrot Apple and Ginger Muffins for another friend. I'm really getting this dashing-my-kids-hopes thing down to a fine art.

Carrot Apple and Ginger Muffins - Gluten Free
slightly adapted from My Darling Lemon Thyme
Makes 10

105g (3/4 cup) fine brown rice flour
55g  (1/2 cup) ground almonds
80g (1/2 cup) potato flour
2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
125ml (1/2 cup) olive oil
60ml (1/4 cup) honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger root
1 large carrot, finely grated
1 apple, skin on, coarsely grated
Sliced natural almonds for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 180 C. Line 10 muffin holes with paper liners

Sift the brown rice four, almonds, potato flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices into a large mixing bowl and stir them together to combine.

In a separate bowl, mix the oil, honey, vanilla, eggs and grated ginger together and pour them into the dry ingredients. Add the carrot and apple and stir until just combined.

Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared paper liners and sprinkle the tops with sliced almonds. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pans for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Spiced Chai Tea Cake

Not content to just drink my chai tea, I want to eat it as well. Happy weekend guys.

Spiced Chai Tea Cake
adapted from Perth Now

125ml (1/2 cup) boiling water
2 heaped teaspoons chai tea (I used my own blend. Recipe here.)
185g unsalted butter, room temperature
220g (1 1/4 cups) brown sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
225g (1 1/2 cups) self-raising flour, sifted
2 teaspoons mixed spice, sifted
Pinch fine salt
60ml (1/4 cup) Greek yoghurt
Icing sugar, sifted for dusting
Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease and flour a 6 cup capacity bundt pan. Set aside.

Put the tea into a teapot and add the boiling water. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Place the butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat for about 5 minutes, until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition. Add the flour, mixed spice and yoghurt. Mix on low speed until just combined. Strain the tea and add the liquid to the batter. Mix until just incorporated. Spoon into the prepared pan and bake for 32 - 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with sifted icing sugar before serving.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Tagliarini Neri with Garlic Chilli and Crab

I wonder what the men from the Night's Watch eat for dinner? I hope it's not all boiled intestines and gruel on The Wall. I'd like to think those who protect the Seven Kingdoms get to eat something delicious and appropriately black occasionally. These are the sorts of things that keep me up at night. Save me Jon Snow.

NOTE: I made tagliarini, but you can make any shape pasta that you like. 

Tagliarini Neri with Garlic Chilli and Crab
Serves 4

For the Tagliarini:
2 1/2 cups "00" flour
1/2 teaspoon fine salt (I used Pink Himalaya Salt)
3 eggs
1 tablespoon cuttlefish ink
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

For the Sauce:
2 cloves garlic, peeled
3 teaspoons sea salt flakes
1 long red chilli
200g picked crab meat
150g cherry tomatoes, halved (or quartered if large)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup parsley leaves, roughly chopped

Make the Pasta Dough:
Put the flour in the bowl of a food processor with the salt and process for a few seconds to aerate.

In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, cuttlefish ink and olive oil. Start the food processor running and pour in the liquids through the feed tube. Process for 30 to 40 seconds until a soft dough forms and gathers on the blade. If the dough does not gather and is wet and sticky, process in more flour in small additions. If it is dry and stiff, process in more water, by spoonfuls.

Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for 10 minutes until it's smooth, soft and stretchy. Press it into a disk, wrap in cling film, and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before using.

Roll and Shape the Dough:
Cut the dough into 4 pieces. Take one piece of dough and lightly flour it. Roll it at progressively narrower settings on a pasta machine until you have a long thin sheet of pasta. I took mine down to the secong narrowest setting. (Keep the other portions of dough covered in cling film to stop them drying out.)

One at a time, put the pasta sheets through the cutting roller of the machine - my machine has two cutting options Tagliatelle and Tagliarnini. Once cut, sprinkle with flour and hang them over a dowel rod, wooden spoon handle, backs of a chair or whatever you have to hand, while you cut the rest of the sheets. When all the sheets are cut, you can cook the pasta in LOTS of boiling salted water. They will only take about 4 - 5 minutes to cook. Drain the pasta well and tip it onto a large serving plate. Spoon the sauce over the pasta, toss gently to coat the pasta and sprinkle with chopped parsely.

Make the Sauce: 
Put the garlic and salt into a mortar and crush to a paste with the pestle. Add the chilli and crush again. Add the tomatoes and bruise them lightly. Add the crab meat, lemon zest and juice and the olive oil. Stir with a spoon.