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Monthly Archives: September 2014

Blood Orange Upside Down Cake

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It’s late September, mid Spring in Sydney. Blood oranges are still available at the markets but not for much longer. This cake does blood oranges two ways – candied on the top of the cake, (which started off as the bottom) and whole oranges, skin and all, blitzed through the batter.

The occasion for cake was as a house warming present for a work colleague who has recently moved house  – to my street – in fabulous Rozelle.

The basic cake recipe is the same as for my blood orange mini cakes:

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2014/08/09/little-blood-orange-cakes-with-blood-orange-toffee/

Ingredients

2 + 2  blood oranges

200g  + 200g sugar

125g very soft butter

2 free range eggs

½ tsp vanilla essence

200g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

Method

Candied Blood Oranges

Finely slice 2 of the oranges, discarding the ends and keeping as many slices intact as you can.

Dissolve 200g of the sugar in 1/2 cup of water in a saucepan, and bring to the boil. Carefully place the orange slices in the syrup and simmer them until they are soft and sticky. Remove from the syrup using tongs. If the syrup is not reduced enough, cook it for a few minutes extra to thicken – but don’t let it go to toffee.

Cake

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.

Grease a 20cm springform cake tin. Line the base with baking paper, cut slightly larger than the circle base, making sure the paper comes a little way up the sides of the tin. This is  as a precaution, in case the syrup leaks out of the tin.

Chop 2 of the blood oranges in quarters and remove each end. Blitz in the food processor until reasonably finely chopped – there should still be some small chunks in the mixture.

Add the butter and 200g of the sugar and blitz in the food processor. The mixture will look very curdled! Add the eggs and vanilla and blitz again, the mixture will still look very curdled!

Gently fold in the flour and baking powder, making sure not to over mix or the cake with toughen. The cake mixture will now look “normal”.

Place the candied orange slices on the paper base in the springform tin, as artistically as possible, remembering, as this is an upside down cake, that the bottom becomes the top.

Place the batter over the top of the slices. Gently tap the mixture to even it out. Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and cool the tin on a wire rack. When the cake is cool (not cold), carefully turn upside down on a serving plate. Release the springform clasp, and carefully remove the ring. Even more carefully, take off the base and peel away the baking paper.

You should have a beautiful upside down cake with fruit intact! Brush the cake with the blood orange syrup, or you could serve the syrup on the side as a sauce.

Serve with whipped cream or sour cream or creme fraiche. I prefer the latter two as the cake is very sweet and needs to be offset by a little sourness.

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Baked Cheesecake with Salted Praline and Salted Caramel Sauce

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A beautiful spring day in Palm Beach NSW and lunch to celebrate the birthday of the Architect. As dessert maker for the day I wanted to create something special. My baked cheesecake, the subject of a previous blog post, plus salted caramel, combined very nicely in a luscious and velvety cheesecake with the piquancy of salted praline and caramel sauce.

Cheesecake

Ingredients

Crumb Crust
230g sweet biscuits (half plain, half ginger nut)
1/2 level teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 level teaspoon cinnamon
85g butter

Cream Cheese Filling
500g cream cheese
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 free-range eggs

Topping
1 carton (280ml) sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 dessertspoon lemon juice
1 level tablespoon sugar

Method

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

Press firmly into greased 22cm springform tin bringing mixture at least half way up the sides of the tin.

Put cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice in the food processor and mix well. Add eggs one at a time, whizzing after each addition.

Pour mixture into uncooked crumb crust and bake in a moderate oven at 180 degrees C 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.

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Salted  Praline

Heat 1 cup of caster sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan over a medium heat. Be careful not to stir the sugar – tilt the saucepan to help melt the sugar. Cook for several minutes until the sugar turns a deep caramel tea colour and take off the heat. It’s a fine line between toffee that’s cooked and toffee that’s burnt!

Add 1/2 tsp of sea salt flakes and pour onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Quickly scatter over a handful of flaked almonds.

Leave to cool and harden. When completely cold, place the praline in a ziplock bag and bash into pieces with a mallet or rolling pin. Make sure you have small fragments, larger pieces, and some large shards for decoration.

Salted Caramel Sauce

Ingredients
200g sugar
75ml double cream
50g butter, cubed
½ tsp sea salt flakes

Method

Put the sugar in a  saucepan with 50ml water. Gently heat on low, swirling the pan but not stirring, until just melted.  Simmer gently, swirling regularly, until the liquid is very dark golden caramel. Remove the saucepan from the heat then carefully and quickly whisk in the cream and butter. Be careful as the mixture will splutter. Keep whisking until smooth, then beat in the salt. Let cool. You can make the caramel in advance.  Put in the refrigerator but bring back to room temperature before using.

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Individual Pizzas: Jamie Oliver Style

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I am now making “proper pizza” – pizza cooked in a high heat source, fillings cooked on top of the base. Last time I made proper pizza, I borrowed the antique stove of my friends in the Southern Highlands:
https://thequirkandthecool.com/?s=proper+pizza

This time I used my barbecue with a lid and a temperature gauge as the oven. You can really heat up the barebecue very high and get great crusty pizza!

I have used Jamie Oliver’s recipe – it’s really straighforward and easy to follow – with some tweaks of my own.

http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/bread-recipes/basic-pizza

The quantity below gives you 4 small pizzas, enough for 2.  Doubling the quantities gives you pizzas for 4.

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Pizza Dough

Ingredients

500g strong white bread flour

1/2 level tablespoon fine sea salt

1×7 g sachet dried yeast

1/2 tbs  caster sugar

325 ml lukewarm water

Semolina for dusting

Method

Pile the flour and salt on to a clean surface and make a well in the centre. Add  yeast and sugar to the lukewarm water, mix up with a fork and leave for a few minutes, then pour into the well.
Using a fork and a circular movement, slowly bring in the flour from the inner edge of the well and mix into the water. Continue to mix, bringing in all the flour. When the dough comes together and becomes too hard to mix with your fork, flour your hands and begin to pat it into a ball.
Knead the dough by rolling it backward and forward, using one hand to stretch the dough toward you and the other hand to push the dough away from you at the same time. Repeat this for 10 minutes, until you have a smooth, springy, soft dough.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let double in size for about 1 hour.

Divide the dough into 4 balls. Flour and cover each ball with plastic wrap, and let it rest for about 15 minutes. This will make it easier to roll it thinly.
Take a piece of the dough, dust your surface and the dough with a little flour or semolina, and roll it out into a rough circle about 0.5cm thick. Tear off an appropriately sized piece of tin foil, rub it with olive oil, dust it well with flour or semolina and place the pizza base on top.  Do the same with the other pieces and then, if you dust them with a little flour, you can pile them up into a stack and cover them with cling film.

Preheat your barbecue till very hot (at least 250 degrees C) with the lid closed.  Heat 2 baking sheets in the barbecue.
Put two of the rolled-out dough rounds onto each of two baking sheets, scattering each sheet with a dusting of semolina first.  At this stage you can apply your topping. Smear the tomato sauce over the base of your pizzas and spread it out to the edges. Scatter over your fillings, tearing  the mozzarella into rough pieces. Drizzle with a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil and add a pinch of salt and pepper.  Put the baking sheets onto the barbecue, lid down. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the pizzas are golden and crispy.

Easy Tomato Sauce Or Passata

Ingredients

olive oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced

1/2 bunch fresh basil, leaves picked and torn

3 x 400 tinned plum tomatoes

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

Method

Place a large non-stick frying pan on the heat and pour in a couple of  generous lugs of olive oil. Add the garlic, shake the pan around a bit and, once the garlic begins to colour lightly, add the basil and the tomatoes. Using the back of a wooden spoon, mush and squash the tomatoes as much as you can.

Season the sauce with salt and pepper. As soon as it comes to the boil, remove the pan from the heat. Strain the sauce through a coarse sieve into a bowl, using your wooden spoon to push any larger bits of tomato through. Discard the basil and garlic that will be left in the sieve, but make sure you scrape any of the tomatoey goodness off the back of the sieve into the bowl.

Pour the sauce back into the pan, bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes to concentrate the flavours. It will be ready when it’s the perfect consistency for spreading on your pizza.

Store the sauce in a clean jar in the fridge – it’ll keep for a week or so. Also great to freeze in batches , so you can defrost exactly the amount you need.

Fillings for Pizza

Anything goes! You can start your pizza off with the tomato passata, or go for a white pizza (bianca). Cheese is almost always good and mozzarella makes for a beautiful gooey pizza. Add anything you think will work!

I made two tomato, mozzarella and basil pizzas, basically a pizza margherita, and for the other pizzas I added passata, artichoke heart, caramelized onion and a simple scattering of thyme leaves.

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Slow Cooked Food and Cast Iron Ware

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A friend recently married, has acquired the Rolls Royce of slow cooking cast iron ware, Le Creuset.

http://www.lecreuset.com.au/Resources1/product/Material/Cast-Iron/

These wonderful cast iron cooking utensils have been hand made in France since 1925. I own several Le Creuset casseroles and baking dishes, as well as a grill pan and some ceramic dishes.

I also own some cast iron ware in other  brands, but Le Creuset is definitely the “top”.

If you are interested in long slow cooking, cast iron ware is the only way to go.

Here, for the benefit of my newly married friend, and as requested, are the links to some slow cooked food in cast iron ware, including that other wonderful cooking device, the tagine.

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2014/04/08/jamie-olivers-shin-stew/

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2014/08/23/jamie-olivers-mexican-chilli/

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2014/05/03/slow-cooked-beef-cheeks-in-pedro-ximinez-movida-recipe/

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/10/27/moroccan-chicken-tagine-with-dates-apricots-and-couscous/

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/05/09/tagine-of-lamb-shoulder-with-apricots-and-raisins-pomegranate-couscous-and-avocado-salad/

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/06/09/winter-pies-beef-and-red-wine-pasties-ham-leek-and-mushroom-baby-pies/ The recipe for beef pies includes a slow cooked beef and red wine filling.

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White Chocolate Yoghurt Cakes with Passionfruit Frosting

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This cupcake recipe is easy as! I made the cakes, iced them and photographed them in under 2 hours. And ate a couple too! The yoghurt and white chocolate make the cakes very moist.

The addition of fondant paste to buttercream creates the passionfruit frosting. This paste comes in tubs in various flavours  – I acquired passionfruit, plus raspberry fondant paste from The Essential Ingredient, Rozelle.

http://www.sydneyessential.com.au/

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Ingredients

75 grams softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup yoghurt (full fat or reduced fat)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla paste
2 cups self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
150g melted white chocolate
Method

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.

Cream the butter and sugar in food processor. Add the yoghurt, eggs and vanilla paste and whiz until well combined.

Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Process until smooth – be careful not to overmix as this will toughen the cakes.  Stir in the melted white chocolate.

Pour the mixture into cupcake cases in a muffin tin.

Bake for  15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the cakes comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and leave to cool.

Ice with the pasionfruit frosting and decorate as desired!

Pasionfruit Frosting

Ingredients

100g softened butter

200gms icing sugar

1 tblsp passionfruit fondant paste

A few drops of yellow food colouring

Method

Cream the butter and icing sugar in the food processor or electric mixer. Add the fondant food colouring and beat until really well combined.

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Jamie Oliver’s Happy Cow Burgers and Old School Coleslaw

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These are veggie burgers  – and if you minus the feta, they are vegan too! Aptly named “Happy Cow Burgers” as there is no “cow” in the recipe.

The recipe is from Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals, and I have listed the recipe pretty much as Jamie wrote it with a couple of my own tweaks.

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Ingredients

Burgers

1 bunch fresh coriander

1 x 400g tin of mixed beans

200g frozen broad beans

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1 lemon (zest for the burger mix, juice for the coleslaw)

1 heaped tbs plain flour, plus extra for dusting

Olive oil

2 large ripe tomatoes

Cos or any long lettuce leaves

4 gherkins

75g feta cheese

4 burger rolls or 2 long bread rolls

Tomato chutney, to serve

Coleslaw

1/2 small white or red cabbage

1/2 red onion

4 heaped tbs fat-free natural yoghurt

1 heaped tsp wholegrain mustard

1 tsp brown sugar

Method

Put the coriander stalks into the processor (reserving the leaves), then drain the mixed beans and add, along with the broad beans, a pinch of salt and pepper, the cayenne, cumin, ground coriander, grated lemon zest and flour. Whiz until fine and combined, scraping down the sides of the processor if needed.

Tip the mixture on to a generously flour-dusted board, divide into 4 pieces, then roll each ball into a ball and flatten into a patty about 2.5cm thick, dusting your hands and the burgers with flour as you go. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the frying pan, followed by the burgers, pressing them down with a spatula and flipping them when golden. Slice the tomatoes and gherkins and place on a serving board with lettuce and crumbled feta. Heat the rolls in the oven, if you want them warm. If the buns are a really soft and fresh, serve as is.

Swap to the grater in the processor, then grate the cabbage and peeled red onion, and tip into a bowl. Chop the coriander leaves and add, with the yoghurt, mustard, and the juice of the zested lemon and brown sugar, then toss well and season to taste. Remove the rolls from of the oven if heating them, and cut them in half.

Serve burger patties with tomato chutney, coleslaw, feta, tomatoes and gherkins.

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