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Monthly Archives: May 2013

Lemon Drizzle Cake with Passionfruit Icing

 IMG_5931I’m currently researching lemon cakes. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it! I love any cakes with lemon or yoghurt or white chocolate or sour cream and that incorporate a lemon syrup.

I’ve made Jamie Oliver’s Greek Semolina cake and the always wonderful Le Pirate’s Lemon White Chocolate cake recently, both with my own Quirky tweaks.

And I have been making Claudia Roden’s Middle Eastern orange cake for many years. So I made a cake which incorporated the Claudia Roden idea of cooking the whole fruit, with a yoghurt and oil based cake. Lemon drizzle syrup and a passionfruit icing gave a tangy sweetness.

Cook’s note: I have found with this cake and previous versions that you need to drench the cake with lemon syrup to make sure it’s very moist. Maybe I need to adjust my flour quantities or my cooking times? I would welcome some thoughts!

Lemon Drizzle Cake with Passionfruit Icing

Ingredients

1 lemon
1 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup Greek yoghurt
2 cups self raising flour

Method
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease a 24 cm spring form tin and line the base with baking paper.

Place the lemon in a saucepan with water and boil gently till soft- about 1 hour. When cooked, leave to cool, then blitz in a food processor until pureed.
Place the caster sugar in the food processor, blitz until well combined.  Add the eggs and oil, mix well. Stir in the yoghurt, followed by the flour.

Pour the mixture into the tin. It will be quite loose.  Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool slightly in the tin, and then turn out onto a rack.

Lemon Syrup

Combine 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1/2 cup caster sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear.

Pierce the cake all over with a skewer. While the cake is still warm, drizzle the lemon sugar syrup over the cake and allow it to soak in.

Passionfruit Icing

Place 1 cup icing sugar in a bowl with 2 passionfruit. Mix carefully to make a smooth, flowing icing. Ice the cake, allowing the icing to flow over the sides of the cake.

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Tagine of Lamb Shoulder with Apricots and Raisins, Pomegranate Couscous and Avocado Salad

Since I acquired and first used my beautiful crimson red tagine, featured in the post on Rozelle Village Markets, I have been very keen to give it a proper Road Test.

A working dinner with old friends allowed me to to give it the Top Gear treatment, and it passed with flying colours.

Pre-dinner nibbles  – toasted flatbread with rocket pesto, and tomato and green olive dip.

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The Top Gear team provided the production values. Jeremy photographed the Event,  Richard the director gave creative advice and James brought some curious items from his Man Lab to enhance the theatricality of the Event. The Stig was notable for his absence. Perhaps he doesn’t like lamb…

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Tagine of Lamb Shoulder with Apricots and Raisins

Ingredients
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon chilli powder or sambal oelek
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon tagine spice (Essential Ingredient make a fabulous blend)
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Grated rind and juice of 2 lemons
1 kg diced lamb shoulder
1 cup chicken stock
3/4 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup raisins
Pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup pistachio kernels, roughly chopped

Method

Combine spices and salt in a large bowl.  I prefer to grind my own in mortar and pestle. Add the oil, rind and half the juice and stir to form a paste. Add lamb and stir until well coated in the paste. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or longer.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Put the lamb mixture into a tagine or heavy bottomed casserole with a tight-fitting lid. Add the chicken stock and remaining lemon juice. Stir until well combined.

Cover and cook for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and stir in the dried apricot roughly chopped and raisins. Cook, covered for a further 40 minutes or until lamb is tender.
Tap half a pomegranate over the tagine to release the jewel like seeds, and scatter with a sprinkling of pistachio kernels. 

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Pomegranate Couscous

Cook your favourite couscous recipe – mine has lots of oil and butter to enrich it  – and serve with the seeds of the other pomegranate half scattered as artistically as the slippery seeds will allow!

Avocado Salad

A selection of your favourite salad greens  – on this occasion mine were rocket and baby cos lettuce – with baby Shepard avocados, and a great dressing.  Lindeman’s E.V. Olive Oil and Raspberry Vinegar worked well.

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White Chocolate and Cranberry Blondies

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This ultra rich blondies recipe (heaps of butter and white chocolate!)  I discovered while viewing Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course on Foxtel… this recipe is adapted from something I sourced on the internet, but seems to be an American version – sticks of butter are mentioned which of course is a  US measurement. I have changed the quantities to metric.

Ingredients

1 cup dried cranberries
2  x 100gms white chocolate bars
225g plainflour
226 gms butter
1 pinch of salt
300 gms sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 eggs

Method

Line a 23cm x 23cm tin with baking paper.

Melt butter, add sugar to mixing bowl. Add salt to sugar.
Add melted butter to sugar and whisk well. Add vanilla and eggs, whisk well.
Add baking powder and bi-carbonate of soda, mix well.
Whisk in half the flour. Once incorporated (no lumps), add the rest of the flour and mix well until there are no lumps.
Add the dried cranberries, changing from a whisk to a spoon.
Slice the bars of white chocolate into  thick matchsticks and mix in gently, trying not to break up the chocolate.
Spoon into baking tin (previously lined with baking paper (butter or non stick spray the tin to hold paper in place).
Spread mixture into the tin, using a spatula to make sure the mixture is even.
Bake at 180 degrees C for 35 -40 minutes.
Leave to cool, then remove from tin.
Cut into squares. Blondies will keep for a week and also freeze well.

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Rocket and Pecan Pesto Spaghetti with Avocado

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The theme is green: I needed an antidote to the “white” food I have been making…so much cake…

A simple dish that can be thrown together in minutes. The rocket and pecan pesto is lovely over any pasta, and is also great with some ricotta or yoghurt stirred through as a dip or on bruschetta.

Pesto and Pasta

Put  a couple of garlic cloves into the bowl of a food processor, with a good handful of pecans. Blitz until roughly processed. Add a cup or of rocket, blitz again.

Add a tablespoon or so of extra virgin olive oil, blitz briefly, then add a handful of pecorino cheese. Check for flavour, and add ground rock salt. Continue to dribble in the olive oil, until the pesto is of a loose consistency so that it can be swirled through pasta.

Spoon over spaghetti or any pasta of choice. Add half a sliced avocado. I love Shepard avocados for their delicate flavour. The avocado can be gently mixed in to the pasta as you eat, adding a creamy texture.

Serve with shaved pecorino, E.V. olive oil, a few basil leaves and plenty of ground black pepper.

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Shakey Tables: A Hunter Valley Excursion…

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Another idyllic couple of days in autumn in the Hunter Valley, though the weather was more reminiscent of an Indian summer. Back to the wonderful Shakey Tables for dinner, preceded by two of my favourite things to do in Pokolbin: a trip to Hunter Valley Cookies and a private wine tasting at Lindeman’s of their fabulous Treasury wines.

This particular weekend the Doctors were elsewhere, exploring the culinary delights of Orange, while carrying out some in-depth studies in oenology; and the senior rock chick was ministering to her clients.

So my partner in crime was new to Shakey Tables, as yet uninitiated in its delights, expounded here in a previous post.

So here are our adventures in visual form, with the following link to the first restaurant review:

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/02/14/shakey-tables/

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Monte Carlo biscuits from Hunter Valley Cookies http://www.huntervalleycookies.com/

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“The Trio” – magnificent Coonawarra St George, Pyrus and Limstone Ridge.

http://www.lindemans.com/us/wines/10/coonawarra-trio

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Fabulous art work from chef Paula Rengger at Shakey Tables

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And three courses at Shakey:

Heirloom cherry tomatoes with buffalo mozarella; Jacks Creek Wagyu beef tri tip marble score 7, cherry tomatoes, pommes frites, red wine jus; Rose, pistachio & lychee ice cream terrine, with Turkish delight in a rose scented jus and pistachio fairy floss.

The food is consistently good, that’s why we keep on returning.

The stand out for me on this occasion, was the Wagyu beef with the “mug” of hand cut chips cooked in beef dripping, reminding me of the taste of chips at the beach from the local fish and chip shop… wrapped in paper, salty, flavoursome and utterly moorish!

Home-Made Crumpets

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A lazy Sunday brunch, perfect for home-made crumpets

This recipe makes fabulous crumpets! They are incredibly moorish and definitely beat the bought version! The recipe comes from the website of ABC Radio 702:

http://www.abc.net.au/local/recipes/2010/11/09/3061303.htm

Ingredients

300 grams plain flour
1 teaspoon caster sugar
7g sachet dried yeast
175ml milk, room temperature
175ml soda water, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon salt
Vegetable oil or non-stick cooking spray
Butter, honey or jam to serve.

Method

Sift the flour, caster sugar and yeast into a large bowl.
Stir in the milk, then add the soda water and whisk until smooth.

 Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest for about 1-1/2 hours, or until doubled in volume.
Beat in the bicarb and salt.
Heat a heavy-bottomed frying pan or the griddle plate on your barbecue until medium-hot.
Oil or spray the inside of the crumpet rings, as well as the pan or barbecue plate.
Place the rings on the cooking surface, making sure they’re evenly flat.

 Spoon 3-3 1/2 teaspoons of batter into each ring and gently cook for 6-7 minutes, or until the batter is set and covered with little holes.

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Turn the crumpets over and cook for another 2 minutes.
The bottom should be golden brown and the top only slightly coloured.

 Remove the rings and serve the crumpets straight away with lashings of butter, honey or your favourite jam (mine is homemade strawberry!)

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