Friday, 31 October 2014

Mango and Coconut Loaf












This loaf may be a bit of a "Plain Jane" on the outside but it's Elle MacPherson on the inside. It's groovy and Boho and tropical and a bit sun kissed. It may look like a beige twinset, but it's really a sarong on the beach. Trust me, I know about these things. Have a great weekend my friends.



Mango and Coconut Loaf
adapted from here

125g unsalted butter, softened
175g (1 cup) light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs, room temperature
225g (1 1/2 cups) plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
60g (1 1/4 cups) sweetened (moist) coconut flakes
90g (1/4 cup) golden syrup
250g (1 1/4 cups) mango puree (2 - 3 large mangoes put in a blender and blitzed)

Preheat the oven to 160C. Spray a 30cm x 11cm loaf pan with cooking oil spray and line it with baking paper. Set aside.

Place the butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium for 5 minutes, until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Add it to the butter mixture along with the coconut, golden syrup and mango puree. Mix gently until just combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 - 55 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan before transferring to a platter to serve.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Oreo Mummy Pops














I'm not usually into Halloween, but when my 13 year old son came home from school with a note asking for contributions to the Halloween bake sale fund raiser, what's a Mummy to do?


Oreo Mummy Pops
adapted from here
makes 20

For the Pops:
20 Oreo cookies (I used chocolate Oreos)
2 x 375g packets white chocolate melts, melted according to packet instructions
Cake pop sticks

For the Crazy Eyes:
200g icing sugar, sifted
8g powdered egg white (I used Pavlova Magic)
2 scant tablespoons water
Food colouring (I only had brown, so my Mummys have brown eyes)

Make the Royal Icing for the Crazy Eyes:
Put the icing sugar and powdered egg white into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and mix to blend. Add the water and beat on low until incorporated. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium-high and beat for 8 - 10 minutes until stiff peaks form. Immediately transfer the icing to a sealed container, (Royal icing dries really fast, so cover it as soon as you can.)

Make the Crazy Eyes:
Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Using a disposable piping bag fitted with a #2 plain tip, use three quarters of the Royal Icing mix to pipe blobs of white icing onto the baking paper. You can make the eyes as big or small as you like.

Colour the other quarter of the icing with the colour of your choice (I used food colour paste, as the liquid stuff will change the consistency of the icing). Using a disposable piping bag fitted with a #2 plain tip, pipe small blobs of icing in the centre of the white blobs. Leave to set (this won't take long). My eyes weren't perfectly shaped or symmetrical, but that's okay, it's Halloween!

Make the Pops:
Line two baking sheets with baking paper. Set aside.

Open the Oreo cookies (they pull apart pretty easily). Dip one end of the cake pop sticks into the melted chocolate and gently press it into the Oreo filling. Replace the other half of the Oreo cookies and gently press them together again. Leave them to set for a few minutes.

Dip the cookies into the melted chocolate to completely over the cookie. Let the excess chocolate drip off then place them on the prepared baking sheets. Immediately stick on the Crazy Eyes. Chill in the fridge for about 10 minutes to set.

Put the remaining melted chocolate into a zip-lock bag and seal. Cut a small hole in one of the corners and drizzle the chocolate over the cookies to create the bandages. Chill until set.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies









 Me with a bag of mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups is a dangerous combination.


Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
adapted from here
makes 12

3/4 cup  plain flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
60g unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup smooth Peanut Butter
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 beaten egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
24 mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Preheat the oven to 190C.

Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together into a bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and peanut butter together on medium speed until smooth. Add both sugars and beat until thick and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat well. Reduce the speed of the mixer to low, add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Use a small scoop to drop balls of dough (about a tablespoon) into each muffin hole.

Bake for 8 - 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately press a Peanut Butter Cup into the centre of each cookie. Leave to cool slightly in the tin, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Maple Banana Breakfast Bundt










Whoever invented cake for breakfast gets a bear hug and a big, sloppy kiss from moi... mwah.


Maple Banana Breakfast Bundt
adapted from here

For the Cake:
3 eggs, room temperature
125g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
200g brown sugar
60ml (1/4 cup) maple syrup
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 overripe bananas, pureed in a food processor
60g (1/4 cup) thick natural unsweetened yoghurt (I used Meredith Dairy Sheep Yoghurt)
225g (1 1/2 cups) plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt

To Serve:
Thick natural unsweetened yoghurt
Strawberries, quartered
Icing sugar, for dusting

Make the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 180C. Spray a 2 litre (8 cup) capacity bundt pan with cooking oil spray and then dust it liberally with flour. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, butter, brown sugar, maple syrup and vanilla for about 5 minutes, until thick. Add the pureed bananas and the yoghurt and beat well. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the wet ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

To Serve:
Sprinkle the cake with icing sugar and serve with yoghurt and strawberries... and lots of good coffee. 

Monday, 27 October 2014

Gyozas with Homemade Gyoza Wrappers



















I keep telling my sons I make a good wrapper... then I start singing Eminems "Lose Yourself" while they roll their eyes.




NOTE: This dish is really all about the homemade wrappers, but if you haven't got the time or inclination to make them, in the words of the great Ina Garten "store bought is fine."


Gyozas with Homemade Gyoza Wrappers
Makes about 50

For the Wrappers:
adapted from here
2 cups plain flour
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup just-boiled water (more if necessary)
Potato flour for dusting

For the Filling:
adapted from here
300g ground pork
2 large cabbage leaves, blanched in boiling water for 2 minutes and refreshed in ice water, drained     well then finely chopped
3 spring onions, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated ginger
2 teaspoon sake
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Good pinch fine sea salt

For the Gyoza:
Sunflower oil for frying
Sesame oil for dressing

For the Dipping Sauce:
Equal quantities of rice wine vinegar and soy sauce
Few drops of Japanese chilli oil (La-Yu), to taste

Make the Wrappers:
Sift the flour into a large bowl. Add the salt and stir. Add the hot water and mix with a butter knife until the dough starts to come together. You may need a little more water. Add enough to make a smooth dough. Bring the dough together with your hands.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and leave to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes,

Once rested, unwrap the dough and cut it into about 25 small portions. Keep any dough you are not working on under a damp tea towel to keep it from drying out. Use some potato flour to dust a work surface and roll each portion into a ball. Roll each ball out into a thin circle. You can use a rolling pin to do this, or use a pasta machine as I did. Using an 8cm cookie cutter, cut a circle from the thin circle of dough, dusting each wrapper with potato flour as you go. Keep the finished wrappers under a damp tea towel as you finish them. Continue with the rest of the dough, gathering up the scraps and re-rolling to make more wrappers - you should end up with about 50 thin 8cm wrappers.

You can use the wrappers straight away or wrap them in plastic wrap and keep them in the fridge for a few days or freeze them for a couple of months for later use.

Make the Filling:
Put all the filling ingredients into a large bowl and mix together with your hands until really well combined and it starts to become sticky.

Make the Gyoza:
Take a wrapper and place it in the palm of your hand. Put a teaspoon of the filling in the centre of the wrapper. Dip a finger into some water and wet along the inner edge of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half, to completely cover the filling. You will have a half moon shape. Pleat the top edge evenly and press firmly to make sure the gyoza are completely sealed. Place them flat side down, pleated side up, on a baking sheet. Continue until you have made all the gyozas.

Heat a frying pan on medium heat. Add a tablespoon of sunflower oil. Once the oil is hot, add the gyozas flat side down. You will probably have to cook them in batches unless you have a monster frying pan. Add as many gyozas as fits comfortably in your frying pan and cook until the flat side is golden, about 2 - 3 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water to the pan and add 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Immediately clamp a lid on top. Cook for a further 2 - 3 minutes to steam the gyoza. Lift the lid and continue to cook until the water has evaporated and bottoms are golden. Remove the cooked gyozas and place them on a serving plate and continue cooking the rest of the gyozas. Serve with small bowls of dipping sauce.

Make the Dipping Sauce:
Mix the dipping sauce ingredients together in a bowl and divide between small dipping bowls.



Friday, 24 October 2014

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes











When I was a kid, I used to watch Sesame Street and Ernie was always going on about his delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I thought peanut butter and jelly together sounded weird, as I am Australian and that particular combination was completely foreign to me. It was years later when I tried the two spreads together in one mouthful and for the record, Ernie was right and I was wrong.




Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes
Makes 10

For the Cupcakes:
150g cake flour or plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup Greek yoghurt, room temperature
2 egg whites, room temperature
3/4 cups caster sugar
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Peanut Butter Frosting:
150g unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
450g icing sugar
2 - 3 tablespoons milk

For the Filling:
Your favourite jelly (jam) (I used Blackberry Conserves)


Make the Cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 180 C. Line a 12-hole cupcake pan with 10 paper liners. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, soft the flour, baking powder and salt together. set aside.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the yoghurt and egg white together. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and oil together for about 1 minute. Beat in the vanilla. While the mixer is onmedium speed, add one third of the flour mixture, followed by half of the yoghurt mixture. Once incorporated, add another thrid fof the flour mixture and the rest of the yoghurt mixture. Mix until incorporated and then add the final third of the flour mixture and beat until just combined.

Use an ice cream scoop to divide the batter among the paper liners.

Bake for 18 - 20 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle of a cupcakes comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the Peanut Butter Frosting:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and peanut butter together until smooth. With the mixer on low, add the icing sugar and beat until incorporated.

Add the vanilla and enough milk to give you a piping consistency. Beat for a couple of minutes to made it all fluffy and gorgeous.

Assemble the Cupcakes:
Use an apple corer to cut a hole in the top of each cupcake. Fill the hole with jelly (jam) and then pipe the frosting in swirls on top of each cupcake.