Tag Archives: Vegetarian

Classics with a twist: Chocolate Hazelnut cake

25 Aug

I have always been a person who has experimented with personal style. Not always very successfully but I have tried. I remember when much younger I went through a phase of refusing to wear matching socks. We are not talking laziness about finding two matching socks, because heaven knows my socks were always paired rolled and in the appropriate drawer…thanks Mutti. No I carefully matched, mismatching socks to my outfit. I assume this came from some American TV show and I adopted it in an attempt to be different and cool. I clearly failed to understand that cool in child world means fitting in.

As I went through my early teen years I adopted a more refined grunge look. Accessories formed a large part of this particular look. Long layered skirts and dresses with asymmetric hats and doc martens. Of course puberty put an end too this experimentation. It is truly disappointing to realise that floating hippie dresses don’t mix well with boobs and bums 😦 However in all of this experimenting I continue to claim I had a tendency towards trying to add a classic component to any current fashion trend. I now understand that no matter how much I marvel at some girl’s ability to look positively gorgeous in rolled up boyfriend jeans with high heels and a imitation Chanel jacket. I will simply look like a deranged escapee from the Salvation Army store. So I stick with classics with a twist of colour or pattern.

Chocolate hazelnut cake

This cake to me is the perfect mix of a classic rejigged. ‘How passe!’ you exclaim flourless chocolate cake..it has all been done before. Yes indeed it has…. and this version may not be entirely cutting edge, but it is a classic flourless cake with the twist of hazelnut meal. In the same way that mismatched socks represented my attempt at being fashion forward in my youth, I will happily have my current tastes defined by this cake. Classic, decadent and a little boozy and so is the cake 😉

Chocolate and Hazelnut cake

Serves 8

adapted from Donna Hay recipe for Chocolate and Pecan cake featured in Issue 69 Donna Hay Magazine

  • 350 gms dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)
  • 150 gms unsalted butter cubed
  • 6 eggs seperated
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 1 2/3 cups of hazelnut meal
  • 1 tsp of vanilla paste
  • 1 cup if brown sugar
  • cocoa for dusting

1. Preheat an oven to 160 degrees. Line and grease a 22 cm spring formed tin

2. Break the chocolate into a bowl with the butter and place into a microwave on 80% power at 40 second intervals until melted.

3. Beat egg yolks vanilla and 1/2 cup of sugar for 1 minute and then add brandy, chocolate/butter mix and the hazelnut meal mixing until it is all combined. Put this chocolate hazelnut mixture aside

4. Beat the egg whites in a seperate bowl adding the remaining sugar one tablespoon at a time.

5. Add 1 half of the beaten egg whites to the chocolate hazelnut mix beating in with a wooden spoon to loosen the chocolate mixture and then fold in  the second half of the beaten egg whites.

6. Pour the stiff mixture into the tin and then bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes 10 1 hour and 25 minutes or until the top is crisp the sides have come away for the edge. there will still be a slight wobbly in the middle  when you shake the pan.

7. Allow the cake to cool in the time before removing. (i did not do this and ended up with a crack in my cake. What can i say i am impatient)

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8. Serve with berries and cream

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Life in a bubble: Ultimate Macaroons

10 Jul

I have a tendency to live in a bubble. I call it my little world. It is a lovely place, happy, like munchkin land in the Wizard of Oz. Bright colours, jaunty tunes and maybe even a lolly pop guild. However sometimes, something intrudes into my otherwise happy world and ruins it. Usually poisonous people, not easily identified by being green and wearing a pointy hat. It is always a little soul destroying to find that some people insist on acting selfishly and manipulatively even when they know how much it hurts you. It is at times like this that a girl could lose all hope and trust in humanity. But it also at this time that people can show you their inner Glinda and make you realise that some people aren’t looking for a weak spot to exploit, but rather fiercely protect and support you. Now unfortunately my real life Glinda’s didn’t give me some shiny red shoes when they waved their protective wand over me, but they did do an exceptional job at reminding me not to lose hope.

Such kindness requires a kindness in return and so these little macaroons were made as a gesture of gratitude, for lending a helpful ear, shoulder and in one case a couple of strong cocktails. Please note these are actually macaroons not macarons. Yes I know I sound like a foodie wanker when I point out that people keep calling the French sweet delicacy by the wrong name, but I wouldn’t want to lead you astray with baking miscommunications 😉

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These are dense and coconutty yet still light enough to feel that you could easily have 2 and it wouldn’t stop you floating around in a bubble. They also keep very well in a container for a few days. They are sourced from my baking bible which I simply can never praise highly enough. Thank you Ms Lawson you are always welcome in my special world.

What do like to give as gifts of gratitude?

Ultimate coconut macaroons

Makes 12

Only very slight adapted from Coconut Macaroons by Nigella Lawson in How to be a Domestic Goddess

  • 2 large egg whites
  • ¼ teaspoon of cream of tartar
  • 100 gms of caster sugar
  • 30 gms of ground almonds
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of vanilla paste
  • 225 gms of shredded coconut

1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees.

2. Beat the egg whites until frothy with an electric beater.

3. Add the cream of tartar and keep beating until soft peaks start to form.

4. Then add the sugar 1 teaspoon at a time until the egg whites are stiff when the beater is stopped and removed it holds to the beater

5. Add the almond meal, salt and vanilla and fold into the egg whites a couple of times before adding the coconut and folding in until completely combined

6. Using a soup spoon measure out the macaroon mixture and form into balls and place on a lined baking sheet

7. Place into the oven and cook for 20 mins or until coconut is turning golden

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Home Comforts: Easy White Sour Cream Bread

4 Jul

When I went to New York I took a trip out to Ellis Island. I have always had an interest in the migration experiences of people given that I am the child of two migrants to this country. I like to think of myself as an exotic cocktail 😉

The display as you walked around the processing centres complete with photos of those seeking to migrate to the US was really touching and gave you an excellent perspective on how the people lived while they were waiting to see if they would be accepted and allowed to stay. One of the really interesting things was the food served. I can’t imagine the challenge of trying to feed all of those people with all those different backgrounds and ages. They had menus of the typical day on the walls, not an inspiring read. I bought the Ellis Island cookbook while there and then proceeded to read half of it while standing in line waiting for tickets to a Broadway show. One of the reoccurring themes was that many of the new arrivals to Ellis Island were both perplexed and besotted by some of the food they were served, including white bread and cereal or ‘morning soup’ as one arrival called it

Fresh Bread ready for buttering

Fresh Bread ready for buttering

Mutti often talks about the first time she ate white toast, something that was not served in her house, and how much she loved it. I of course was given white bread and toast as a child, but given that I more often than not have multi grain bread, white bread still affords a degree of comfort and pleasure, particularly slathered in too much butter, but we all know how much I love butter 🙂

I made this loaf on the weekend. It caught my eye while reading The Guardian online and it was easy to do and delivered an excellent soft result, particularly good when toasted. I made no real change to the recipe except to only add water as I thought I needed it and I added slightly less sugar. Served as a side to some baked eggs it was like a warming hug on a cold and miserable winters night.

Do you like white bread? What is your favourite comfort food?

Easy White Sour Cream

recipe by Dan Lepard at Sour Cream White Bread

  • 125g cold sour cream
  • 100 ml of hot water and 150 mls of cold water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1  7gm sachet dried yeast
  • 550g  white flour, plus extra for sprinkling
  • Oil, for kneading

1. Mix the sour cream with the boiling water, 100 mls of the cold water and the yeast, using a whisk or fork to combine.

2. Add the salt, sugar and flour to the cream/water mixture and use your hands to combine until a ball forms. Add the remaining 50 mls of water to ensure the dough comes together using only as much of the water as you need.

3. Leave the bread in a warm spot and cover with glad wrap and a tea towel for 10 mins

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4. Lightly oil surface with a neutral vegetable or rice bran oil and lightly knead the dough for 10 seconds. Leave aside again under glad wrap and a tea towel for a further 2x 10 min intervals with light kneading in between.

5. Then leave the bread aside for 50 -60 mins until the dough has at least doubled in size.

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6. Stretch out the dough with your fingers until 2 cm thick and then roll up tightly and place in an oiled and lined loaf tin and leave for another 60 – 90 mins under a tea towel until the dough has again doubled in size.

Dust the top with flour and place into a hot oven and bake for 40 – 45 mins. The bread should be hollow on the tops and sides when knocked.

Eggs and Toast

Eggs and Toast

The Perils of Sharing: Dried Blueberry, banana and coconut loaf

25 Jun

I am a sharer…. Ok I am often an over sharer 🙂 I think this compulsion comes from a desire to make people feel comfortable in my company and I really hate awkwardness. My sharing usually comes in the form of verbal diarrhoea, if I could force group hugs on people I would, instead I talk. I make self-deprecating jokes and even on occasions do a little comedy sketch, however my tendency to share doesn’t always connect. This disconnection occurred quite recently when meeting someone new at work. I was asked how I felt having my office so close to the Director, did I have to be really careful to be quiet and look efficient? I pointed out to my colleague that given I had no ‘inside’ voice being quiet was never going to happen. I went on to explain how the director is so focused on his work that I can tap dance right past his room and he would never even know. I then proceeded to do a little tap number complete with jazz hands…….. I was met with a completely blank face and I realised that my attempt at humour and warmth was clearly not translating well. My response, keep on talking at the person in a friendly upbeat tone until they capitulate. I am still waiting… 😦

Sharing morning tea

Sharing morning tea

Surprisingly sharing translates even worse with people I have just met in random public places. Recently I was standing next to a middle aged man at the bus stop when it was pouring with rain. He did not have an umbrella and I saw the rain literally stream down his face and down the back of his suit. In what I thought was an act of kindness and maybe even chivalry, I simply without saying anything moved my umbrella over a little so that he could get some protection from the rain. He looked at me peculiarly and I just smiled back at him and said you looked like you were getting a little wet. He didn’t respond but just shuffled a bit. We stood for a while longer cramped amongst other people waiting for the bus, not saying anything (serious self control for a person who abhors a silence) when a bus finally arrived and people started moving slowly towards the entrance of the bus. The stranger and I started to move with the crowd, I did my best in the jostling to try and continue to share the protection of my umbrella. He looked at the umbrella and at me as if I was clearly deranged and wielding the umbrella with a sinister purpose, maybe to steal his wallet or a lock of his thinning hair, finally he turned around and said’ I don’t want your umbrella’ and got himself lost in throngs of people before boarding the bus and continuously looking over his shoulder as if I might spring out and molest him with my spotted umbrella and charitable attitude.

This cake will encourage all to enjoy your generous spirit and even forgive you the occasional impromptu tap dance. I made a few modifications because of what I had in the cupboard and fridge. The cake was deliciously moist and had a host of complimentary flavours that made it a great mid morning snack with a cup of tea.

Are you a sharer? Would you have offered your to share your umbrella?

Dried Blueberry, banana and coconut loaf

8- 10 slices

adapted from Coconut and Cherry Banana Bread from Kitchen by Nigella Lawson

  • 110 gms unsalted butter
  • 15 gms of crème fraiche
  • 4 small ripe bananas
  • 150 gms caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 175 gms plain flour
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • ½ bi carb soda
  • 80 gms of dried blueberries
  • 80 gms of shredded coconut

1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees. Butter and line a loaf tin

2. Process or mash the bananas and crème fraiche together.

Banana and creme fraiche

Banana and creme fraiche

3. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Allow the butter to cool a while and then add the sugar.

4. Once the sugar is combined and dissolved in the butter, it should be a thick  mixture, add the mashed bananas and eggs.

5. Fold in the flour, baking powder, bicarb and coconut.

6. Finally lightly fold in the dried blueberries.

7. Spoon into the loaf tin. It will be a very thick.

8. Bake in the oven for 40-50 mins until skewer comes out clean and the cake has come away from the sides of the tin.

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Return to Blogging: Cheesy truffle pasta bake

17 Jun

Yes it is true I have been away for a long time dear readers.

End of last year saw me slaving away over the last of my masters degree, followed by some wrist surgery that took me out of the cooking game for a while, a lengthy trial followed and some further surgery a couple of weeks ago,  this time to remove my wisdom teeth.

While the limitations on my abilities to cook created by my wrist surgery tested my patience, the removal of wisdom teeth accompanied by the inability to eat anything not in liquid form for almost 2 weeks, was almost a killer. I could cook but I couldn’t eat it. Dante never described this level of hell.

The liquid diet has since stopped, but I am still on the softer foods until the gums are all healed. The only good to come from such severe food limitations is that you have an increased appreciation for even the simplest of things.

Macaroni and cheese is one of those classic comfort dishes and as the weather gets colder, comfort food comes calling. This isn’t the kind of mac and cheese you get out of the box, although there is always a place for that too, this is a pasta and cheese bake for a person who has glimpsed gastronomical redemption.

There are so many variations on this classic and the use of  truffle cream brie in this recipe is really just  decadent excess for the sake of it. I know I am usually so restrained 😉 The truffle  just adds a little extra depth of flavour and makes the whole dish feel more grown up and elegant, you could use truffle oil, or actual truffles if you could get your hands on them, but there are times I have just used a good creamy brie instead.

Cheesy Truffle Pasta Bake

An original recipe by The Legal Tart

Serves 2

  • 300 gms Penne
  • 80 gms truffle brief
  • 80 gms of cheddar
  • 100 gms of Mozzarella
  • 1 Tablespoon of butter
  • Plain flour
  • 100 mls cream
  • 150 mls milk (reduced fat is fine)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Breadcrumbs for topping

1. Boil the penne until just tender and then drain and put aside. Keep in mind that the penne will be baked in the oven, so you don’t want the penne too soft.

2. Put the butter in a small sauce pan and melt,  then add approximately 2 tablespoons of plain flour. Start with one tablespoon and work it in to butter and then add some more until it comes together. Cook for 1-2 mins until the flour is cooked.

Flour and butter

Flour and butter

3.Add 100 mls of milk to break up the flour mixture and use a whisk until the milk and flour is combined and then add the cream. Continue to whisk until the cream thickens and there are no lumps.

4. Add the mozzarella and whisk into the cream mixture until melted and then add the other two cheese one at a time allowing each one to melt before the other one is added.

5. Use as much of the milk as need until the cheese sauce is thinned so that it has a loose dollop consistency that will easily coat the pasta. Season with salt and pepper.

Can be eaten greedily from the pan now.

Can be eaten greedily from the pan now.

6. Toss in the penne until all the pasta is coated.

7. Put the pasta into individual ramekins of a deep baking dish and top with breadcrumbs.

8. Bake for 20-30 mins or until bubbling at the sides and browned on top.

Crunchy and cheesy

Crunchy and cheesy

Choc Chip Oat Cookies and finding purpose

19 Nov

Hello lovelies.

Yes I know you must be wondering where I have been. Well as it turns out I have been trudging through the last of my assessments for my masters degree (fingers crossed). Does this mean I haven’t cooked for the last month. Certainly not, it just means that I have been cooking to eat quickly and haven’t had time to think, plan and photograph my meals and baked goodies. In fact most of my recent food has revolved around large helpings of chocolate eaten at a computer while trying to construct sensible, analytical and compelling arguments about topics that seemed at the time of choosing them incredibly interesting, but now feel tedious.

So at last I have no new classes to attend, no more essays to write and I can cook, read and engage in other purely recreational activities without guilt…at least in the beginning. Already I can feel the apprehension building about looking down the barrel of a new year with no firm goals in mind. The Christmas festivities will guide me through the early months post purpose but then what? Yes mindfulness and living in the present are absolutely skills that elude me, except when baking.

The following recipe came off a magnet given to me by Mutti after one of her and dad’s road trips. The cookies are delicious, chewy, crispy and most importantly big and chunky. I made these the day I handed in my last essay, they are easy to make and remind you how good the simple things can be.

What are your goals? Are you good at living in the present?

Chocolate Chip and Oat Cookies
Courtesy of Long Track Pantry Jugiong

Makes 15

  • 150 gms of butter
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups of rolled oats
    1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 cup of plain flour
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp of baking powder

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees

2. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy

3. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined

4. Put all the remaining dry ingredients in to the butter mixture and fold to combine.

5. Using a spoon and your hands form the mixture into balls and place on a lined oven tray. Flatten slightly. They will spread.

6. Cook for 10 mins or until just golden.

 

Cake Castle: Strawberry and Lemon Yoghurt Cake

25 Sep

King Kong: ‘Wow did you make this?’

Me: ‘Yes of course’

A Castle of cake

King Kong peers into the cake box again ‘Wow how did you make it into that shape, that’s amazing’

Me…stifled laughter ‘Its called a cake tin’ 🙂

I love how baking a cake in a bundt pan, in fact baking in general can make you appear like an alchemist of flour and butter, even if it is not the most difficult of recipes.

Strawberries are in abundant supply at the moment and this seemed like a great way to showcase them. This cake is a lovely moist cake and I received more than the usual number of compliments even days after, so I am guessing this cake is not merely for cake lovers.

What is your favourite way to showcase strawberries?

Strawberry and Lemon Yoghurt Cake

adapted from Strawberry Yoghurt Cake

Serves 12

  • 225 gms of unsalted butter
  • 2 cups of caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 2 1/2 cups of plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda and
  • 1/2 tsp of bicarb soda
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 200 gms of natural greek yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 250 gms of strawberries

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
2. Grease and flour a bundt tin thoroughly.
3. Beat together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
4. Add the lemon juice and zest and then add the eggs one at a time waiting between eggs until combined
5. Alternate adding the flour and yoghurt in 3 parts, then add in the milk at the end and mix to combine
6. Bake the cake in the oven for approximately 1 hour or until the cake is springy to the touch and the skewer comes out clean
7. Allow the cake to cool in the tine for 10-15 mins and then remove carefully on to a rack to cook

Fathers Day Chocolate Guinness Cake with Bourbon Caramel Frosting

3 Sep

My Dad used to play basketball before we were born. We have pictures of him on the basketball court, in his tiny basketball shorts circa 1975. My Dad is also an absolute wind up merchant and stirrer. When we were kids Dad had the usual stories about walking 10 miles in the snow every day to school, a distance that seemed to increase by a mile every time he told the story, but he also had some special stories. One of his favourites was the story about when he used to play for the Boston Celtics. My brother loved the story about how Dad used to shoot hoops with Larry Bird. In a child’s head the details of the story were unimportant. In fact it seemed completely plausible after all we knew he played basketball we had seen the photos. Mum used to tell us how he was called ‘legs 11’ because that was his number and he used to live in another country. As far as we were concerned he was the font of basketball knowledge and a sporting genius.

One day we were playing at Rachel’s house and my brother proudly told her father how his Dad used to play for the Boston Celtics. Rachel’s father scoffed let out a chuckle and told my brother he didn’t think that was true. The amused expression on his face told me that clearly there was some adult knowledge here I wasn’t privy too and so instead of supporting my brothers proud boast, I kept quiet. My brother being younger and less perceptive insisted it was true and that Dad had played with Larry Bird. This claim was met with absolute laughter and by then I started hissing at my brother to stop talking. Once again his lack of perception intervened in his reasoning abilities and he continued to argue passionately with Rachel’s father, retorting the ultimate in all argument clinchers ‘he did too!’

This Father’s Day I tried to combine my Dad’s favourite flavours into one special cake to celebrate a man who could tell his children absolute whoppers straight faced and unflinchingly 🙂 The cake recipe I used suggests using a bundt pan, I however opted for a two layered cake. I paired it with the caramel bourbon frosting which was extremely yummy, even for someone like me who isn’t a great fan of caramel. The Bourbon cuts right through any sickly sweetness and makes the cake decidedly grown up. If you are concerned that the cake will taste like Guinness, don’t be. It simply adds depth and character.

Did your father tell you outlandish stories about his past lives?

Chocolate Guinness Cake with Bourbon Caramel Frosting

Adapted from  Smitten Kitchen and Creative Culinary

Serves 8 – 10

Cake

  • 1 cup of Guinness
  • 250 gms of unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup of cocoa powder
  • 2 cups of Plain Flour
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • ½ tsp if bi carb of soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup of sour cream
  • Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius

2. Grease 2 20cm cake tins with butter and line the bases

3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powders and salt in a large bowl and put aside

4. Place butter and guiness in a pan and allow the butter to melt, then add cocoa powder and whisk to combine

5. Allow the chocolate mix to cool

6. Beat eggs and sour cream together and then slowly add the slightly cooled chocolate Guinness mixture. Add the flour mixture and continue to beat until combined

7. Pour half the batter into each tin and then bake in the oven for 20 – 25 mins or until skewer comes out clean and the top of the cake is springy to the touch

9. Allow cake to cool completely before icing

Caramel Bourbon Frosting

  • 1 cup of caster sugar
  • 2 cups of icing sugar
  • ¼ cup of water
  • 8 tbsp of butter
  • ½ cup of cream
  • 1-2 tbsp of milk
  • 3 tbsp of bourbon
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract

1. Whisk the bourbon into the cream and set aside

2. Combine the caster sugar and water in a saucepan and place of medium heat. Bring to the boil shaking the pan occasionally, I find it better that you don’t stir or whisk it.

3. Once the mixture turns a caramel amber colour and then take of the heat.

4. Add 6 tbsp of butter. Be careful the butter will cause the mixture to bubble and froth. Whisk in the butter until it is melted.

5. Once the butter has melted, slowly pour the cream mixture into the caramel mixture. Once again the mixture will bubble considerably. Place the mixture on a low heat again and then mix until completely combined.

6. Put caramel in a fridge until it is cool and firmer

7. Once the caramel is cooled cream together the 2 tbsp of butter and caramel.

8. Add the icing sugar one cup at a time, alternating with 1 tbsp of milk and continue to beat until smooth.

9. Place the frosting in the fridge until it is firm enough to easily spread on the cake.

10. Place one of the cakes domed side down on the serving plate. Top with some of the frosting and then sandwich the other cake on top. Use more of the frosting to spread on the tops and the sides of the cake.

Newly Discovered Talents and Garlic and Parsely Hearthbreads

23 Aug

Anyone who has made bread will know that it requires a great deal of wrist action in the kneading process. I have been told I have excellent kneading technique. While I was of course completely flattered to be told that my kneading technique was superior, by a professional no less, it is rather disappointing to know that one of my few easily identified talents is unlikely to be much use to me in my chosen field of employment. I suppose at least I always have options if the law isn’t for me! 😉

Bolstered by the previously mentioned flattery and the fact that humiliation is a well known companion, I decided that I was going to overcome my fear of making bread. When I find myself in times of baking self doubt Nigella Lawson comes to me, bearing wisdom throughout her cook book ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’. Safe in the hands of my trusted brunette sister I embarked upon the recipe for her Garlic and Parsley hearthbreads, the recipe did not fail and I was able to produce two lovely loaves of gorgeous garlic and oil doused bread.

I can assure you if you are in anyway apprehensive about the baking of bread, this recipe will not disappoint. It is the most luxurious of garlic breads and can be scoffed while standing over the baking tray just freshly out of the oven, so even if it is not a complete success no one will be the wiser!

Who do you turn to for baking wisdom?

Garlic and Parsley Hearthbreads

Recipe by Nigella Lawson

Serves 6-8

  • 500 gms of white flour
  • 7 gms of instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp of table salt
  • 300-400 mls of warm water
  • 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (you can use regular olive oil).

Garlic and Parsley Oil

  • 3 Heads of garlic
  • Large handful of parsley
  • More extra virgin olive oil.

1. Combine the flour, yeast and table salt in a bowl and put aside.

2. In a jug or bowl place the warm water and olive oil.

3. Using a dough hook on the slowest speed add the water into the dry ingredients and mix until the dough is slightly sticky but combined and forming a ball.

4. Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. You should see real bounce back when you stretch the dough. You can do this part with the dough hook at a higher speed but I wanted to utilise my new found talent!

5. Oil a large bowl and place the kneaded dough into the bowl covering with oiled glad wrap. Place in a warm spot to rise for approximately an hour or until you can tell it has doubled in size.

6. Once risen, take the dough out of the bowl and punch it down using your knuckles to release any air.  Leave it to rest for a further 10 minutes. Divide the dough into two and roll the dough out until about 5 cms thick. Put each loaf on a lined baking tray and then try to stretch the dough a little further using your fingers.

7. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

8. Cover the trays with tea towels and put aside to allow to get puffy, this takes about 20 – 30 minutes. Use your fingers to make little dimples across the bread, the oil, garlic and parsley will pool in these little dimples.

9. Pour the garlic parsley mixture over the breads and place in the oven. Bake for 20 – 30 mins or until golden and the parsley mix is dark. Top with some Maldon salt and serve.

Garlic and Parsley Oil

1. Trim the garlic head and place on a small square of alfoil. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap the garlic in the foil and then wrap the package in another layers making sure to allow space around the garlic. Place in a preheated oven on 190 degrees and bake for 45 mins.

2. Place a good handful of parsley leaves into a food processor along with the garlic that has been squeezed from its skin and add olive oil while processing the parsley. The oil dressing should be runny and easy to pour. So just keep adding oil until you get the right consistency.

Sunshine on a Plate: Orange, Almond and Honey Syrup Cake

15 Aug

Sunshine is something occurring in a patchy fashion in Sydney at the moment and even when it does occur, the weather is still so cold that you require a few layers to brave it. Despite my love for accessorising with hats and scarves, I find the whole experience of winter depressing. Citrus reminds me of sunshine and warmth and although I tend towards lemons, my favourite of all citrus I decided to make a cake with orange. The cake was very buttery, moist and slightly aromatic.

I stumbled upon a Lemon and Honey Syrup cake recipe in the BBC Good Food Magazine Australia and flagged it for later baking. That was months ago. I played with the original recipe slightly because I wanted a denser cake redolent with spices.  With juice and rind added, the cake was filled with orange flavour and just a hint or aromatics. When you pierce the cake to see if it’s cooked you may be concerned because the skewer will have a small amount of sticky batter on it, not much, but this cake won’t pass the clean skewer test. In addition the cake seemed to have quite a few small bubbles or popped bubbles at the top. Once again this is not at all an issue given that it the cake will later have syrup poured on it. This cake keeps extremely well in a tin. 4 days later it was still moist and sticky

The cake was too good!

The first night Miss Wallflower and I had 2 warm slices of cake after dinner, it was so moreish. The following day we also had two slices although spread out during the day so as not to appear gluttonous, we are ladies with bird like appetites after all 😉 The copious cake consumption accounts for the lack of cake left in this photo.we had really hoed in and I was lucky to get a photo at all!

Are you controlled when there is cake in the house?

 Orange, Almond and Honey Syrup Cake

Serves 8

Adapted from Australian BBC Good Food Magazine August 2011

  • 1 1/2 cups of plain flour
  • 1/2 cup of almond meal
  • 1 1/2 cup of caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp of baking powder
  • 2 tbsp of grated orange rind
  • 1/2 tbsp of Orange Juice
  • 1 cup of greek style natural yoghurt
  • 250 gms of unsalted butter, chopped small and very soft
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 heaped tsp of ground cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg

Syrup

  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1 tbsp Grated orange rind
  • 1 tbsp of orange juice.

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and grease and line a loose bottomed round cake tin

2. Sift flours into a large bowl and add sugar, baking powder, spices and orange rind

3. In a seperate bowls stir together the eggs and yoghurt

4. Add the butter and 1/2 tbsp of orange juice to the flours and stir with a large spoon until starting to combine then add the egg and yoghurt mixture. Mix until well combined. There may still be some slightly unmixed portions of butter. As long as they are small and infrequent don’t worry about them.

5. Pour batter into a tin and bake for 50 mins to 1 hour or until set and the top of the cake is firm to the touch.

6. Take the cake out of the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 20 mins. While still warm but cool enough to touch the pan remove the cake  from the pan leaving the base of the pan on the bottom of the cake. Place the cake on a cooling rack.

7. You can now make the syrup

8. Heat 1/2 cup of honey with juice and rind in a pot until starting to thicken.

9. Skewer the cake all over and then pour over the syrup slowly while both the syrup and the cake are still warm.

10. Serve cake warm or cold.

A Slice of Dense Citrus heaven

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