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Monthly Archives: July 2014

Jamie Oliver’s Ricotta Fritters with Tomato Sauce and Courgette (Zucchini) Salad

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This is another 15 Minutes Meals recipe from Jamie Oliver.

Really, really easy and you end up with a dish that looks interesting and is quite subtle in flavour. The lemon zest and the nutmeg in the fritters give them a slightly exotic flavour.

Ingredients

For the sauce

25g dried porcini mushrooms*

4 anchovy fillets

1 dried red chilli

2 cloves of garlic

700g passata

8 black olives

Half a bunch of fresh basil

For the fritters

1 large free-range egg

400g ricotta cheese

1/4 whole nutmeg, for grating

Zest of a lemon

40g Parmesan cheese

1 heaped tbsp plain flour

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

For the salad

400g green or yellow baby courgettes (zucchini)

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 fresh red chilli

Half a bunch of fresh mint

Juice of a lemon

Method

Put the porcini into a mug and cover with boiling water. Crack the egg into a mixing bowl, add the ricotta, finely grate in the nutmeg, the lemon zest and Parmesan, add the flour, then beat together. Put 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a frying pan, then use a tablespoon to spoon in 8 large dollops of the mixture, turning carefully when nice and golden.

Put the anchovies and 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a heavy based casserole, crumble in the dried chilli, and squash in the unpeeled garlic through a garlic crusher. Finely chop and add the porcini with half their soaking water and the passata, season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Squash and add the olives. Pick and reserve a few basil leaves, then chop the rest and add to the sauce.

Grate the courgettes (zucchini) in a food processor and tip into a bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper, the juice of the zested lemon and the extra virgin olive oil.  Finely chop and add the chilli and the top leafy half of the mint, then toss together. Place the fritters on top of the sauce, then scatter over the reserved basil leaves, drizzle with balsamic and serve with lemon wedges.

* I omitted the porcini mushrooms as I don’t particularly like them. I thought the sauce was fine without them!

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Croissants and Danish Pastries

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Continuing my exploration of laminated pastry making, I made a batch of croissant dough. The recipe is very similar to that for Danish pastry.

I followed Paul Hollywood’s recipe for croissants from his well written and very informative book How to Bake.

For croissant dough, you omit the eggs for a lighter, flakier pasty. I substituted semi-skimmed milk for the water in the yeast dough, following a recipe for croissants from another great book, Great British Bake Off: How to Bake: The Perfect Victoria Sponge and Other Baking Secrets.

I was very happy with the results – light, flaky croissants and Danish pastries that were equally as delicious as my first version.

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Rather than reproducing the recipes in full, I refer you to my previous post. https://thequirkandthecool.com/2014/07/25/danish-pastries/

But note: Omit the eggs. Use 300ml semi-skimmed milk in the base dough instead of water and full fat milk.

I made croissants, almond croissants, pain aux raisins and cherry and strawberry danishes.

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Here are Paul’s instructions for how to shape the croissants – the quantities refer to using the whole amount of the dough. To make almond croissants, put a tablespoon of frangipane (recipe in my previous post) at the base of the croissant triangle and roll as for ordinary croissants. Scatter some flaked almonds on the top before baking.

Method

When you are ready to shape the croissants, line 2 or 3 baking trays with baking paper.

Put the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out to a rectangle, a little more than 42cm long and 30cm wide; it should be about 7mm thick. Trim the edges to neaten them.

Cut the rectangle lengthways into 2 strips, then cut triangles along the length of each strip; these should be 12cm wide at the base and about 15cm high (from the middle of the base to the tip). Once you have cut the first triangle, you can use it as a template for the rest. You should get 6 triangles from each strip.

Before rolling, hold down the wide base of the triangle and gently tug the opposite thin end to cause a slight tension in the dough. Now starting at the thick end of the triangle, roll up into a croissant. You will have 12 medium-sized croissants. For a traditional crescent shape, turn the ends in towards each other slightly.

Put the croissants on the prepared baking trays, leaving space in between them to expand; allow 4 – 6 per tray. Put each tray inside a clean plastic bag and leave the croissants to rise at cool room temperature (18 – 24°C) until at least doubled in size. This should take about 2 hours.

Heat your oven to 200°C.

Lightly whisk the egg with a pinch of salt to make an egg wash. Brush the top and sides of the croissants with the eggwash. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Eat warm.

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Jamie Oliver’s Fettuccine with Smoked Trout, Asparagus and Peas

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Another great dish from Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals: http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/category/books/jamie-s-15-minute-meals

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The sauce is very easy, no fuss, for maximum results. Hot smoked trout really lifts the flavour, adding piquancy. You could smoke the trout fillets yourself, using the process I have written about for salmon. I have perfected the method over the last few months. Incidentally, the basic concept came from a Jamie Oliver recipe!

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2014/03/26/hot-smoked-chili-salmon/

Or just buy the trout if you want to keep it simple!

Ingredients

1 tbsp oil
1 small bunch spring onions, roughly chopped
300g asparagus (small bunch), trimmed and chopped leaving the stalks whole
300g frozen peas
1 bunch fresh mint, roughly chopped
1 tbsp plain flour
500ml milk (I used about half that amount – 250ml – as I wanted a thicker, “greener” sauce)
300g dried fettuccine
250g hot smoked trout
Juice 1/2 lemon
Parmesan for grating

Method

Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to packet instructions.

Heat a large frying pan and add the oil. Add the spring onions, asparagus and peas and cook for a couple of minutes, add the mint. Then sift in the flour, pour in the milk and bring to the boil, simmer for 10 minutes.

Using a stick blender, puree the asparagus sauce until fairly smooth, turn the heat down to low and flake in some of the smoked trout. Add the asparagus tips and simmer for a few more minutes. Squeeze in the lemon juice and season.

Drain the pasta reserving some of the pasta water, then toss the pasta with the sauce, loosening with a splash of the cooking water if needed. Grate some parmesan over the top and then serve. I left some of the flaked trout to scatter over the dish before serving.

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Paul Hollywood’s Danish Pastries

IMG_4134I’m on a long holiday at the moment which has given me the time for lots of experimental cooking.

I love pastry so learning how to make laminated pastry seemed appropriate. It’s a lengthy but not difficult process – you just need some uninterrupted time and lots of patience!

I followed the recipes from the god of baking Paul Hollywood, from his book How to Bake: http://paulhollywood.com/books/

I can thoroughly recommend his step by step guide to making Danish pastry dough complete with excellent pictures as well as his individual recipes.

I made the basic dough and then created Pain aux Raisins, Almond Pastries and Berry Danishes as three sweet and delicious pastry morsels. I have also included the recipes for crème pâtissière and frangipane, typical pastry fillings.

IMG_3937Danish Pastry Dough

Ingredients

500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting

10g salt

80g caster sugar

10g instant yeast

2 medium eggs

90ml cool water

125ml tepid full-fat milk

250g chilled unsalted butter

Method

Put the flour into the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the salt and sugar to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the eggs, water and milk and mix on a slow speed for 2 minutes, then on a medium speed for 6 minutes.

Tip the flour out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball. Dust with flour, put into a clean plastic bag and chill in the fridge for an hour.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out your chilled dough to a rectangle, about 50 x 20cm and about 1cm thick. Flatten the butter to a rectangle, about 33 x 19cm, by bashing it with a rolling pin. Lay the butter on the dough so that it covers the bottom two-thirds of it. Make sure that it is positioned neatly and comes almost to the edges.

Fold the exposed dough at the top down one-third of the butter. Now gently cut off the exposed bit of butter, without going through the dough, and put it on the top of the dough you have just folded down. Fold the bottom half of the dough up. You will now have a sandwich of two layers of butter and three of dough. Pinch the edges lightly to seal in the butter. Put the dough back in the plastic bag and chill for an hour to harden butter.

Take the dough out of the bag and put it on the lightly floured surface with the short end towards you. Now roll it out to a rectangle, about 50 x 20cm, as before. This time fold up one-third of the dough and then fold the top third down on top. This is called a single turn. Put the dough back in the plastic bag and chill for another hour. Repeat this stage twice more, putting the dough back into the fridge between turns.

The dough now needs to be left in the fridge for 8 hours, or overnight, to rest and rise slightly. It is then ready to use.

I divided the dough into three, using a third for each pastry type.

IMG_4028Pain Aux Raisins

Ingredients

1/3 quantity Danish pastry dough, chilled

Flour for dusting

1/3 quantity crème pâtissière

80g raisins

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 medium free range egg, beaten

Method

Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to a large rectangle, about 7mm thick. Turn it 90°, if necessary, so a long edge is facing you. Smear half the crème pâtissière over the dough, leaving a clear 5cm margin along the near edge. Sprinkle half the raisins and cinnamon over the crème. Roll the dough towards you into a sausage, keeping it as tight as possible – give a gentle tug each time you roll to tighten the dough and give it a little tension. When you reach the end, roll the sausage back and forth a few times to seal the join.

Cut the roll into 3cm slices. Lay cut side up and apart on the baking trays and put each inside a clean plastic bag. Leave to rise at cool room temperature (18 – 24 degrees C) until at least doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Heat your oven to 200 degrees C. Brush the risen pastries with beaten egg and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or golden brown.

Paul glazes with apricot jam and drizzles with lemon icing. I left them plain this time.

IMG_4060Almond Pastries

Ingredients

1/3 quantity Danish pastry dough, chilled

Flour for dusting

1/3 quantity frangipane

50g flaked almonds

1 free range egg, lightly beaten

Method

Line baking tray with baking paper.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to a 20cm square, approximately 5mm thick. Cut into 10cm squares. If you make them a little smaller, and roll the dough a fraction bigger, you can squeeze 6 out of the dough. Fold the corners into the middle and press down lightly with your finger so the fold sticks.

Put the pastries onto the baking tray, spacing them apart. Put the tray into a clean plastic bag, leaving to rise at cool room temperature  (18 – 24 degrees C)  until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Heat oven to 200 degrees C.

Place about 1tbsp of frangipane in the middle of each risen pastry and sprinkle with flaked almonds.  Brush the pastry with beaten egg and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until risen and golden brown.

Paul glazes with apricot jam and optionally drizzles with orange icing. Again, I left them plain this time.

IMG_4062 2Berry Danishes

Ingredients

1 quantity Danish pastry dough, chilled

Flour for dusting

1/3 quantity crème pâtissière

100g mixed berries

1 free range egg, lightly beaten

Method

Line baking tray with baking paper.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to a rectangle, about 30 x15cm and approximately 7mm thick. Cut into 7cm squares. on eaxc square, make cuts from each corner going diagonally almost to the centre so you have 4 triangles. Fold one corner from each triangle into the centre to create a star shape.

Put the stars onto the baking tray, spacing them apart to allow room for spreading. Put the tray into a clean plastic bag, leaving to rise at cool room temperature  (18 – 24 degrees C)  until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Heat oven to 200 degrees C.

Put 1tbsp of crème pâtissière in the middle of each risen pastry and top with a couple of berries.  Brush the pastry with beaten egg and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Paul glazes with apricot jam and drizzles with lemon icing. I left them plain.

Crème pâtissière

Ingredients

500m milk

1 vanilla pod, split down the middle and seeds scraped out

100g caster sugar

4 free-range eggs, yolks only

40g cornflour

40g butter

Method

Pour the milk into a saucepan and add the split vanilla pod and its seeds. Bring the milk mixture to the boil, then remove from the heat.

Whisk the sugar, egg yolks and cornflour together in a large bowl.

Pour out a little of the hot milk onto the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Whisk in the rest of the hot milk until well-combined, then return to the saucepan.

Cook the mixture over a gentle heat, stirring continuously, until the mixture becomes thick. It will just come to the boil.

Remove from the heat and pass the mixture through a sieve into a clean bowl. Add the butter and stir until melted and thoroughly combined.

Leave to cool, cover with clingfilm and then chill before using.

Frangipane

Ingredients

100g butter, softened

75g caster sugar

40g plain flour

2 large eggs, beaten

60g ground almonds

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp almond extract

Method

Put the butter and sugar into a food processor and cream until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and one tablespoon of flour and mix well. Add the remaining flour, ground almonds, baking powder and almond extract and process until combined. Chill before using to make it easier to shape.

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Gordon Ramsay’s Halloumi, Zucchini and Herb Cakes

IMG_3905These interesting halloumi and vegetable cakes are delicious and a nice vegetarian option to make for a simple lunch or supper.

The recipe is based on Gordon Ramsay’s recipe from his app:

Gordon Ramsay Cook with Me: https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/gordon-ramsay-cook-with-me/id394892688?mt=8

I used 250g of halloumi rather than the 500g in the recipe for a more “vegetable” cake.

Ingredients

2 medium carrots, peeled and grated

1 zucchini (courgette), grated

250g halloumi cheese, grated

2 spring onions, finely chopped

1 tbsp chopped coriander

1 tbsp chopped mint

2 free-range eggs lightly beaten

2–4 tbsp breadcrumbs

Olive oil, for frying

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Put the grated carrots and zucchini (courgettes) in a colander and sprinkle with a large pinch of salt to draw out the moisture.

Place over a bowl to drain for 5 minutes, then tip into a clean tea towel and squeeze out all the excess water.

Put the haloumi, carrot mixture, spring onions, coriander and mint into a bowl, season and mix together. Add the beaten eggs and mix well, then stir in 2 tbsp of the breadcrumbs. The mixture should be firm enough to form into patties, if it’s not, add some more breadcrumbs. the moisture content from the vegetables can be variable.

Shape the mixture into 6-8 large cakes or smaller of you prefer. To help shape the haloumi cakes place a large spoonful of the mix onto a spoon and press against your hand and squeeze out any excess liquid. Leave in the fridge uncovered for at least half an hour to firm up.

Heat a large heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Add a dash of oil and fry the haloumi cakes until dark golden and crisp on either side.

Serve with some coriander to garnish and a dash of sweet chili sauce.IMG_3922

 

Caramelised Quince and Almond Cake

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Quinces are plentiful in the middle of Sydney winter. I can’t resist them. The kitchen is a lovely place as the scent permeates the house and the bright yellow of the fruit is beautiful to behold. I’ve been picking up a couple each week with my other fruit and veggie supplies.IMG_3847

Baked quinces, quince crumble or this Quince and Almond Cake are yummy ways to eat the delicious fruit! I poached the quinces first in a caramelised syrup to intensify the “quince” flavour.

Thank you to photographer and friend Nick for his title photograph.

Caramelised Quinces

Ingredients
60g butter
2 quinces
120g caster sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

Method
Preheat oven to 150 degrees C. Peel the quinces, halve lengthways and remove cores. Cut in quarters.

Melt butter in a baking dish. Roll the quinces in the melted butter. Scatter over sugar and  squeeze the lemon juice over the quince pieces.

Cover tightly with a doubled sheet of foil. Bake the quinces for 2-3 hours, basting every half hour or so, until the quinces are soft, ruby red and the pan juices are syrupy. Remove from the dish to cool, reserving some segments for decoration.

Cake

Ingredients
150g butter
150g sugar
3 free range eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond essence
100g ground almonds
1 tablespoon plain flour +
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt

Method
Preheat oven to 170 deg C.

Combine butter and sugar in a food processor, with vanilla extract and almond essence.
Add eggs one at a time. Mix well.
Fold in ground almonds, plain flour, baking powder and salt. Add a little more flour if the mixture looks too wet.

Put mixture into a greased flan dish, or spring form tin lined with baking paper. It’s important to line the tin as the mixture can sometimes leak.
Place quince segments on the top of the batter. Don’t worry – the fruit will sink during cooking, that’s the effect you want. Scatter flaked almonds on top of the mixture.

Bake in 170 deg C oven for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the cake.

Spoon some quince syrup over the cake and decorate the cake with the reserved segments.  Serve warm or cold with double cream.IMG_3796

I’m sharing this recipe with the “Simple and in Season” initiative:

http://mycustardpie.com/2014/07/01/simple-and-in-season-july-now-open/

http://www.renbehan.com/

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Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Blondies

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Peanut butter is the next best thing to salted caramel in a traybake or blondies. And mix that with white chocolate and you have a delicious combination!

My mission is now to combine peanut butter, caramel and chocolate – white or milk – in a traybake.

I  found this recipe on Rachel Allen’s television show Rachel Allen Bake!: http://www.lifestylefood.com.au/tv/rachel-allen-bake/

Ingredients

125g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

100g  butter, softened

50g crunchy peanut butter

175g  soft light brown sugar

1 free range egg, beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

75g white chocolate, chopped

Method

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C.  Grease a square or rectangular tin and line the base with baking paper.

In an electric mixer, cream the butter and peanut butter together until very soft. Add the sugar, egg and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Add the flour and baking powder and mix to form a dough. Carefully stir in the chopped chocolate.

Place the dough in the prepared tin, smoothing the top, and bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes or until golden brown and almost firm in the centre. Be careful not to overbake – the centre should be not quite cooked.

Allow to cool in the tin, before removing and cutting into squares.IMG_3744

 

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