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Monthly Archives: February 2016

Cherry Tomato Quiche

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I haven’t made quiche in ages, and I was excited to have the excuse to make one again.

There was a farewell lunch at work for a colleague, so I thought it was time to dust off my quiche recipe! I usually do the standard quiche Lorraine, but, as tomatoes are pretty good in the late Sydney summer months, I decided to use beautifully ripe cherry tomatoes in my quiche. To make the whole thing fresh and summery, I used spring onions, rather than onions, utilizing the green tops as well as the white onion bottoms. For an extra tomatoey zing, I chopped up a half a dozen semi-dried tomatoes too.

The whole thing was much easier than a quiche Lorraine, the only cooking being the blind bake of the pastry and then the filled tart.

Very fresh, very summery, very delicious!

Ingredients
200g chilled unsalted butter
250g plain flour
135g sour cream

Method
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C, 170 degrees C fan forced.
To make the sour cream pastry, pulse butter and flour in a food processor until it looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Add the sour cream and continue to pulse until the dough starts to incorporate into a ball. Using your hands, shape pastry into a ball. Wrap in plastic film and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
 Roll the pastry out to 3mm thick and place in a well greased fluted quiche tin.
Rest for 15 minutes in refrigerator. This helps reduce shrinkage when cooking. Remove from the fridge, place some pie weights on baking paper inside the tart, and bake blind in the pre-heated oven for 10-15 minutes. Remove the pie weights and baking paper.
Decrease oven temperature to 170 degrees C, 160 degrees C fan forced.

To serve: a handful of fresh basil leaves and some slow roasted cherry tomatoes on the vine.

Method
Scatter the finely chopped spring onions over the base of the blind-baked pastry case. Chop the cherry tomatoes in quarters, leaving a couple of the smaller ones in halves. Scatter the quarters over the pastry base. Roughly chop the semi-dried or sun-dried tomatoes, and scatter these between the cherry tomatoes.
In a bowl or large jug (the latter is very useful as you can pour the custard into the quiche tin easily), beat the eggs, cream and milk together until thoroughly combined. Add salt, pepper and grated Parmesan.
Carefully pour the custard mixture into the quiche tin. (I find it easiest to place the tin in the oven first before pouring). At this stage, you can place the half cherry tomatoes artfully in the tart. But if, like my quiche, the halves sink during cooking – don’t worry! It’s just an idea to highlight the lovely cherry tomatoes.
Bake until the custard is just set but still wobbly – about 30-40 minutes depending on your oven.
Carefully remove and leave to cool slightly before serving.

The quiche is fine as is, or you can serve with a few basil leaves, and/or some cherry tomatoes on the vine, which you slow roast for a couple of  hours until wilted.

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Whole Lemon Cake with Mascarpone and Lemon Curd

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This is a lovely cake, fragrant with lemon and lemon curd. It’s really easy too! It’s based on a Mary Berry recipe, see here.

The cake is a one bowl cake – everything in the food processor. My kind of cake. Cooking a whole lemon and using this in the cake gives the cake that intense lemon flavour. It’s pretty versatile – I made it as a single layer first off, and then as I was taking it to lunch at friends I decided the cake needed jazzing up, so I quickly sliced it in half and filled the middle with more lemon mascarpone filling. Either version is great as you can see from the photos!

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Ingredients
1 medium lemon
140g softened butter
140g caster sugar
140g self-raising flour
1 level tsp baking powder
2 free-range eggs

Icing (the icing also uses some of the whole lemon from above)
50g soft butter
175g icing sugar
250g mascarpone

For the lemon curd (You could also use bought lemon curd – but home-made is easy!)

100g unsalted butter it into small chunks
220g caster sugar
125 ml lemon juice
2 free-range eggs lightly beaten
Method

Put the lemon in a small saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes, or until very soft and tender. Drain, cut the lemons in half and remove any pips.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C , 160 degrees fan forced. Grease and line with baking paper a medium sized cake tin – 20cm or 21 cm works well.

Place the lemon in a food processor and process until pulverised, but with some chunky bits left. Transfer the lemon mixture in a small bowl.

Put all the remaining cake ingredients into the food processor and blend until smooth. Stir in just over half of the lemon pulp. Keep the rest of the lemon mixture for the icing.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden-brown and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then turn the cake out, remove the baking paper and leave to cool on a wire rack.

For the icing, put the butter and icing sugar in the food processor and blitz  until smooth and creamy. Add the mascarpone, blend again and then add the remaining lemon mixture and pulse until the icing is just mixed.

To make the lemon curd, put the butter, caster sugar and lemon juice in a bowl over simmering water (bain-marie) making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Whisk for 5 minutes until all the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and whisk in the beaten eggs.  Put back onto the heat, and whisk or stir with a wooden spoon until the lemon curd has noticeably thickened – hard to say how long, at least 10 minutes. Remove from heat when thickened. To store lemon curd before using, place cling film on the surface of the curd to stop a skin forming.  Store in the fridge.

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To assemble the cake: Carefully cut the cake in half.  Spread half the lemon mascarpone icing  on the bottom cake layer, then place the top cake layer on top. Ice the top of the cake with the remaining icing. Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of lemon curd (or more if you really like lemon curd) over the mascarpone icing, gently swirling the lemon curd into the icing.

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Meringues Meringues Meringues!

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I love any kind of meringue. Pavlova,  vacherin, lemon meringue pie or plain old little meringues which are bursts of sweet airiness.

Little meringues are quick and easy to make. There are a myriad of things you can do with them – serve them on their own, make meringue sandwiches with a cream filling, flavour them, colour them, or pile them high into a meringue mountain which is my favourite thing to do.
Here are a few meringue mountain ideas.

Meringue Mountain

Make meringues – flavour and colour of your choice – and pile up croquembouche style sandwiched together with vanilla cream.

Here is my no fail meringue recipe, originally from Margaret Fulton, via an old recipe of my mother.

Ingredients
3 egg free range whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup caster sugar

Method

Preheat the oven to very slow – 135 degrees C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

Beat egg whites at low speed with an electric mixer until frothy, add cream of tartar and beat on highest speed until peaks hold their shape. Gradually beat in 2 tablespoons of the measured sugar and continue beating for 2-3 minutes. Add all the remaining sugar at once, fold in quickly and lightly with a metal spoon.

Add your flavouring at this point or food colour. Spoon or pipe onto prepared trays. In the image below I made pink rosewater meringues as well as plain ones.

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Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Leave in oven for a further 1/2 hour or until dry – longer is better. When cool, store in an airtight container.

I like my meringues free form – but you could certainly pipe them for a more formal effect!

Assemble your meringue mountain in whatever way takes your fancy. I decorated the pink and white rosewater meringue mountain with crystallized rose petals.

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Here is another flavour and colour combination. Use the basic meringue recipe and add these flavours and colours:

Rose water meringues: a drop of rose water and a couple of drops of red food colouring

Orange meringues: a drop of orange flower water and one drop of orange food colouring

Pear meringues: a drop of pear essence and a couple of drops of green food colouring

Almond meringues: a drop of almond essence and one drop of blue food colouring

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And this meringue mountain, using the basic recipe, is made up of sour cherry meringues and chocolate meringues.

Meringue Mountain

 

 

 

Jamie Oliver’s BBQ Baked Beans with Smashed Sweet Potatoes

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I’ve cooked a few dishes from Save with Jamie, Jamie Oliver‘s great book full of interesting, tasty and cost saving recipes. This one has really taken my fancy, as I love sweet potato, and I really love beans, and it’s vegetarian too!

This is my version with a few small tweaks, but I have included the link to Jamie’s original recipe so that you cook the original if that’s what you’re after.

http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/vegetables-recipes/bbq-baked-beans/#g3sjMR7LQpSdCpxs.97

I halved the quantities for my version, and this would still easily serve 4 people for a meal or 6 or so as a side. I omitted the carrots – I was out of them  – plus I thought the recipe would be fine sans carrot. Jamie suggests serving with cheesy ciabatta and yoghurt  which would be excellent, but I just wanted great tasting beans and potato on their own. I used sambal oelek (a chilli paste) instead of fresh chilli and chilli flakes. This is just personal choice, but in trying to be authentic in my post, I am writing exactly what I did in my version.

Ingredients

1 red onion

1 clove of garlic

olive oil

1/2 heaped teaspoon sweet smoked paprika

1/2 level teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 level teaspoon sambal oelek or chilli paste

3 medium sweet potatoes

1/2 (350ml) 700 ml jar of passata

1 x 400g tin of mixed beans – or 1 x 400g tin of  butter, kidney or cannellini beans

50ml BBQ sauce*

a few sprigs of fresh rosemary

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.  Peel the onions and garlic, then finely slice. Put into a large baking dish that can be used on the stove top. Place on a medium heat with a lug of oil, the paprika, cumin and chilli paste and cook for 20 minutes, or until softened, stirring regularly. Meanwhile, scrub the sweet potatoes clean, then rub them with a little oil, salt and pepper, place in another baking dish and put aside.When the 20 minutes is up, stir the passata into the baking dish, add a splash of water and pour in the beans (juice and all). Drizzle over the BBQ sauce, season lightly with salt and pepper and stir well. Pick and roughly chop the rosemary leaves, toss in a little oil and sprinkle over the top, then place in the oven for around 1 hour, or until bubbling and baked.  Add a splash or two of water to loosen, if needed.

You should place the sweet potatoes into the oven at the same time as you put the beans and passata etc into the oven. Cook the sweet potatoes for 1 hour too, or until soft and cooked through.

Remove the two dishes from the oven, tear up or squidge open the potatoes, and serve with the beansy mix. And I do think the dish would be enhanced by some yoghurt and crusty bread  – next time that’s a must for me.

* I used a bought BBQ sauce – I thought it made the dish too sweet. Try to get a smoky, savoury BBQ sauce or make your own. That’s next time for me too!

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Boozy Fruit or Hoarder’s Jam

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Hoarder’s Jam? I love this name and I dedicate this post to those friends and family, who are Hoarders. You know who you are…

This is not a jam – and I wonder why this delightful concoction ever got called jam! It’s boozy, fruity and a great way to preserve summer fruits. It’s less of a recipe than some simple instructions on how to combine fruit, sugar, spices and alcohol. The instructions are adapted from ‘The Women’s Weekly Made from Scratch”, a very handy source of some good recipes.

Lovely summer fruit like plums, peaches and apricots can be preserved, and the bonus is the fruity preserving alcohol is a great tipple or the basis of a champagne cocktail.

Ingredients 

Any mixture of stone fruit to make up 6 pieces:

Plums, apricots, peaches

250 g caster sugar

1 long piece of orange rind

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

330 ml alcohol: brandy, rum or gin

Method

Cut the plums  and apricots in halves, the peaches in quarters. Place the fruit and the sugar in china or glass bowl and leave for 1 hour.

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Transfer the fruit and sugar mixture to 1 litre glass jar with a strong lid. Place the orange rind and vanilla bean in the jar. Pour the alcohol into the jar. The fruit should be covered; top up with a little more alcohol to make sure all the fruit is covered. If the fruit won’t stay submerged, fill a small ziplock bag with a little water, seal and place on top of the liquid to keep the fruit under the liquid.

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Make sure you note the date of preserving on the jar. Keep in a dark cool pace for a minimum of 2 weeks or up to 3 months.

You can turn the jar occasionally, or VERY gently shake the jar. This is to help the sugar dissolve. After 1 week, the colour of the liquid begins to deepen, and a lot of the sugar is dissolved, with a residue still sitting on the bottom of the jar.

After 2 weeks the liquid in the jar has turned a deep ruby colour and all the sugar is dissolved.

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I opened the jar after 2 weeks and used the fruit to make my deconstructed crumble, recipe below and also here in an earlier post.

Refrigerate after opening, although I’m inclined to believe the fruit is well and truly pickled and should survive quite well for a few days in the cupboard. I’ll give you an update on that one!

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Crumble

Ingredients

100 gms plain flour
75 gms  butter at room temperature
Pinch of salt
50 gms dark brown sugar
25 gms golden syrup
50 gms rolled oats
20 gms chopped macadamias and almonds or any nuts you like

Method

Preheat oven to 175 degrees C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Place the flour, butter, salt and sugar into a bowl, and rub the butter into the other ingredients until the mixture forms coarse breadcrumbs.
Place mixture into the bowl of a food processor, add golden syrup, oats and chopped nuts, and pulse gently to combine.
Turn out the crumble mixture onto the lined baking tray, spread the mixture evenly and bake the crumble for 15-20 minutes, stirring once during the cooking time, until the crumble is toasted.
Remove from oven, and when cool, break up any large pieces. It’s important to have a combination of small and large crumble pieces. The crumble is ready to use, or store in an airtight container, or it also freezes well.

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