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Monthly Archives: June 2013

Victorian Beef Pie

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I was given this beautiful pie mould by a Quirky sister. It is modelled on a Victorian mould. These moulds were originally copper or tinned iron and were often highly decorative.

The pastry is easy to insert into the tin, the pastry case holds the filling well, and the pie unmoulds well once cooked.

I have used the same recipe as in the post I wrote for Beef and Red Wine Pasties:

Winter Pies: Beef and red wine pasties + Ham, leek and mushroom baby pies.

I lined the mould with rough puff pastry and filled the pie with beef in red wine, adding a lid to the pie.

I eggwashed the pastry before putting the filling in and then eggwashed the lid. Don’t forget to cut a slit in the lid to let the steam escape.

On this particular occasion I served the pie with a lovely bacon, cabbage and pea side dish.

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German Biscuits

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This biscuit was made by one of Quirky’s sisters. It is a fondly remembered recipe from the childhood of Quirky’s sisters. We have discovered almost identical recipes in the handwritten recipe books belonging to our mother and to our grandmother.

The origin of the recipe is uncertain – Quirky sister remembers the recipe as having been given to our grandmother by a Mrs Newman, a German neighbour. The recipe in our mother’s book attributes it to a Mrs Ward (a name unfamiliar to all the sisters!)

The biscuit, whatever its origin, is delicious, with its apricot jam filing and delicate meringue topping.

Ingredients

2 tbls butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs (yolks and whites separated)
Enough SR flour to make a stiff dough
Apricot jam
Blanched almonds

Method

Cream butter and 1/4 cup sugar in a food  processor. Add beaten egg yolks and a little water. Mix in sifted flour. Roll out to about 1/4 inch thickness and place in a greased square cake tin. Bake for about 15 minutes at 160 degrees C  or until biscuit is cooked. Remove from oven.

Spread the biscuit with apricot jam to cover. Beat egg whites until stiff, then add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, beating mixture until of meringue consistency.

Spoon the meringue over the apricot jam, creating rough peaks. Sprinkle with chopped blanched almonds. Bake in a slow oven (130 degrees C) to dry the meringue.

Remove from oven and when cool cut in finger lengths in tin.

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SAMSUNG

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Orange Cake with Persian Fig: from Black Star Pastry Newtown, NSW

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This Quirky writer was lucky enough to have the beautiful Orange Cake with Persian Fig for her birthday treat, provided by a Quirky colleague from my place of work!

The cake comes from the fabulous Black Star Pastry, located in 277 Australia Street  Newtown.

http://blackstarpastry.com.au/

“Simple and elegant. This cake is versatile and suitable for any occasion. Made from whole boiled oranges, it is moist and decadent.  Garnished with cream cheese icing and seasonal preserved fruit, Persian figs, pistachios and rose petals.”

Yum yum!!!

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Vanilla Butter Cake with White Chocolate and Hundreds and Thousands

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This is  a beautiful moist butter cake with a rich vanilla and white chocolate flavour. It is a colourful cake with hundreds and thousands baked into the mixture and sprinkled on top.

Lots of butter cream icing flavoured with vanilla paste makes it really yummy!

Butter Cake

Ingredients

250 gms butter softened

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups caster sugar

3 eggs

2 1/4 cups self-raising flour

3/4 cup milk

100 gms white chocolate, melted

A handful to taste of hundreds and thousands

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C or 160 degrees C fan-forced. Grease and line a 22 cm round cake tin.

Beat butter, extract and sugar in a food processor until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in flour and milk in 2 batches.  Stir in melted white chocolate. Gently mix in hundreds and thousands.

Spread mixture into the tin. Bake about 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of  cake comes out clean. Stand in cake tin until cake is cool. Turn out onto wire rack.

Butter Icing

3 tbls softened butter

Enough icing sugar to make a butter cream

1 tbs milk

1 tsp vanilla paste

2 tsps hundreds and thousands

Method

Cream butter with icing sugar, adding more icing sugar and the milk to make a smooth paste. Add vanilla paste.

The main thing is to add as much icing sugar sugar as is necessary to reach the required icing consistency that will be thick enough to stay on the cake but not too stiff.

Ice the cake, top and sides, and scatter hundreds and thousands on top of the cake.

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White Bay Power Station: documenting an urban ruin

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The White Bay Power Station dominates the landscape on Victoria Road and Roberts Road in Rozelle, Sydney, a stone’s throw from the working harbour.

A marvellous ruin, the building has a fascination for this writer who has a passion for ruin, dilapidation and decay.

I document the daily and seasonal view of the tall chimneys of the ruin from my bedroom window as can be seen sometimes in the changing images which head this blog.

Built over a period from1912 to1958, and decommissioned thirty years ago, it is a heritage listed structure. The ruin towers over the entrance to the Balmain peninsula and is an iconic counterpoint to a largely residential suburb.

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Baked Cheesecake with a Sour Cream Topping

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This is a baked cheese cake and was first made by one of Quirky’s siblings, a very good if somewhat infrequent cook. The recipe hails from the Sydney County Council in the 1960s.

This version comes from a handwritten recipe from a family cookbook. I have left the measurements in Imperial, as this rather adds to the charm of the recipe. They can be easily converted.

I would suggest using vanilla extract or vanilla paste, and would also recommend the use of a food processor.

Ingredients

Crumb Crust
I/2 lb plain sweet biscuits
1/2 level teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 level teaspoon cinnamon
3 oz butter

Cream Cheese Filling
1 lb cream cheese
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 eggs

Topping
1 carton (1/2 pint) sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 dessertspoon lemon juice
1 level tablespoon sugar

Method

Crush biscuits very finely and add nutmeg and cinnamon. Melt butter in a saucepan, remove from heat and quickly stir in biscuit crumbs.

Press firmly into greased 8″ springform tin bringing mixture within 1/2 ‘ from the top of the tin.

Put cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice in a bowl and beat well. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.

Pour mixture into uncooked crumb crust and bake in a moderate oven at 180 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven.

Beat together the topping ingredients and pour over hot cheesecake. Return to oven and bake for a further 10 minutes.

Cool, then store in refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Decoration

Decorate with sugar frosted fresh fruit and chocolate leaves. I used cherries, strawberries and black grapes for this particular birthday cheesecake. To make the sugar frosted fruit, coat fruit in lightly beaten egg white then dip in caster sugar.

To make the chocolate leaves, dip camellia leaves in melted dark chocolate, leave to set in the fridge, then gently peel away the leaves leaving the chocolate imprint intact.

Serves 10 -12.

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Winter Pies: Beef and red wine pasties + Ham, leek and mushroom baby pies

 

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Beef and Red Wine Pasties

Ingredients
For the beef and red wine stew:
1 tbl olive oil
1 tbl plain flour
300 gms shin beef cut into small pieces
4 eschallots, chopped
1 carrot finely chopped
1 tin whole peeled tomatoes
1 glass red wine
1 tsp vegemite dissolved in 1/2 cup boiling water
Sea salt, black pepper and a big pinch of sugar to season

For the rough puff pastry:
2 cups all-purpose flour
A pinch of sea salt
2/3 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

To finish:
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon milk, for glazing

Method
Beef Stew
Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees C.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed casserole on the stove top. Dust the beef pieces in the flour by placing both in a zip lock bag and shake.

Fry the beef in small quantities to avoid “stewing” the meat, until brown on all sides. Remove the beef to a plate, add a little more oil to the pan if necessary, and fry the eschallots and carrot.

Return the  meat to the casserole. Add the tomatoes, roughly chopping as you mix in to the casserole. Add the red wine and vegemite and water.
Season to taste.

Cook on a medium heat with lid off for 5 minutes, then transfer the casserole, with lid on, to the pre-heated oven. Cook for about 1. 5 hours or until beef is very tender.

Remove from oven, leave to cool before filling pasties. The stew can be refrigerated or frozen until you are ready to use.

Rough Puff Pastry (This recipe is Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s from River Cottage Everyday – and I think it is much better than the recipe I described in my Custard Slice post).
Mix the flour with the salt, then add the cubed butter and toss until the pieces are coated with flour. Stir in just enough ice water (8 to 10 tablespoons) to bring the mixture together into a fairly firm dough.

Shape the dough into a rectangle with your hands and, on a well-floured surface, roll it out in one direction, away from you, so you end up with a rectangle about 3/8 inch thick. Fold the far third towards you, then fold the nearest third over that (rather like folding a business letter), so that you now have a rectangle made up of 3 equal layers. Give the pastry a quarter-turn, then repeat the rolling, folding, and turning process 5 more times. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and rest it in the fridge for about 30 minutes, or up to an hour.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface to about 3mm thick. Using a plate or a cake tin as a template, cut out four 20cm circles; you may have to gather up the trimmings and re-roll them to get your fourth circle.

Spoon the stew on to one half of each circle. Brush the pastry edges with water, fold the other half of the pastry over the filling to form a half-moon shape and crimp well to seal.

Place the pasties on a lightly oiled baking sheet and brush the tops with beaten egg. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20-25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Eat pasties warm or cold.

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Ham, Leek and Mushroom Baby Pies

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Ingredients
Pastry
3 sheets ready rolled butter puff pastry *
1 egg +1 tbs water mixed together for an egg wash

White Sauce
1 tbl butter
1 tbl plain flour
1/2 – 3/4 cup milk
Handful of grated cheddar cheese
Sea salt to season

Filling
A knob of butter
1 medium size leek, sliced thinly
Sea salt
6 button mushrooms sliced thinly
150 gms free range leg ham

Method
Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees C.

Cut circles from 2 of the puff pastry sheets with a cutter or plate as guide, big enough to line the holes in a regular muffin tin. Grease the holes, and gently ease the pastry circles into the holes. These pies are rustic, so a perfect fit isn’t important. Brush each pastry circle with the egg wash.

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until the pastry is lightly brown and puffed. Remove from the oven to cool.

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While the pastry is cooling, make the white sauce. Melt the butter in heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the flour, stirring carefully with a wooden spoon to make sure there are no lumps. Cook the flour out for a minute or so. Add the milk, and cook gently, stirring all the time, until the sauce thickens. Add the cheese and salt to taste, stirring until cheese is well incorporated.

For the filling, heat the butter in frying pan, sweat the leeks with a little sea salt until softened. Add the mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are just softened also. Roughly chop the ham. Combine the filings ingredients in a bowl with the white sauce.  You may not need all the white sauce – remember you don’t want the pie filling too sloppy.

Fill the pastry cases with a generous amount of the filling. Cut out circles from the remaining puff pastry sheet, big enough to cover each pie. Brush the lids with more egg wash.

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Return the pies to the oven for another 10 minutes or until the pastry lids are lightly brown and puffed.

Serve warm or cold – delicious either way!

* NOTE You can re-roll any left over scraps of pastry both for the pastry cases and lids. And if you really find you don’t have quite enough pastry, then just use another sheet.

 

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