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Author Archives: The quirk and the cool

Little Strawberry and Blood Orange Cakes

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9AE196DF-0973-4F12-819A-5DE78E2DBF1EI’m a big fan of the little cake – delicious cakes in different shapes and sizes, filled with fruit and drizzled with a little icing. Perfect for afternoon tea.

I’ve been experimenting with different recipes and baking molds with varying success. I’ve come to the conclusion that too much fruit in the filling can make the little cakes fragile and hard to turn out. It’s also imperative to grease the molds really, really well to stop the cakes sticking.

Here’s a recipe that works. It’s pretty easy as it’s all made in the food processor. You can use whatever fruit you like – I chose strawberries as they are plentiful at the moment, and blood oranges as they are in season. You could substitute the blood orange juice with ordinary orange juice or lemon juice if you like.

Ingredients

125ml canola oil
175g sugar
1 egg
140g natural yoghurt
Juice of 1/2 blood orange
1 tsp orange blossom water
1 tsp vanilla paste
150g self-raising flour
100g frozen strawberries
150g icing sugar
Juice of 1/2 blood orange
1 tsp orange blossom water

Or substitute the juice of 1/2 lemon for lemon icing

Method

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C fan forced. Grease and flour your chosen molds. Depending on the size of the molds, you should get 6-8 cakes from the mixture. I used mini bundt molds and some Nordic ware rose molds.

Put the oil, caster sugar and egg into a food processor and blitz until well combined. Add the yoghurt, blood orange juice, orange blossom water and vanilla paste, and blitz again. Add the flour and pulse to combine.

Finely chop the frozen strawberries and stir them through the mixture. Spoon the mixture into the molds.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean.

Leave to cool for 15 minutes, then carefully turn out onto a rack, easing the little cakes out of the molds trying not to break them!

To make the icing, put the icing sugar in a bowl with the blood orange juice and orange blossom water, or lemon juice. Stir to combine to make a smooth flowing icing. If the icu g is too runny, add more icing sugar, if it’s thick, add a little more juice.

Drizzle the icing over the cakes – letting it drip down the sides. Decorate with slices of fresh strawberry and blood orange. I scattered over some freeze dried strawberry powder too. Serve at afternoon tea or anytime you like!

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Chicken Under a Brick – Jamie Cooks Italy

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6D42111C-8E54-4691-9492-1C7303D7ED65I am really enjoying reading and cooking from Jamie Oliver’s new book Jamie Cooks Italy

So many lovely recipes and a really interesting guide to authentic Italian dishes with a Jamie twist.

I was keen to try “Chicken Under a Brick” just because I wanted to cook with an actual house brick! I had a few lying around in the back garden, so I washed one and wrapped it in foil and I was ready to go.

The recipe is for a whole chicken cut in half – I baked just one half, but the recipe below has Jamie’s original quantities.

I ate the left over chicken on toasted ciabatta – it was great cold as well!

6AC1EAAD-E338-48D5-802B-7B1EE1E5B974Ingredients 

1 red onion
3 cloves of garlic
3 fresh red chillies
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 bunch of fresh mint (30g)
1 bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley (30g)
300ml extra virgin olive oil
100ml red wine vinegar
1 X 2kg whole chicken
Olive oil

Method

Preheat the oven to 240 degrees C. Get two bricks, wash
well, then completely cover each with a triple layer of tin foil. Place in the oven with a large pan or roasting tray to heat through.

Meanwhile, to make the salsa, peel the onion and garlic, then finely chopwith the chillies and place in a bowl with the fennel seeds. Rip off the top leafy half of the mint and parsley, including any tender stalks, then finely chop and add to the bowl ciawith the extra virgin olive oil and vinegar. Add 1 teaspoon each of sea salt and black pepper, and mix well.

Use a large sharp knife to carefully cut the chicken in half lengthways. Slash the thighs and drumsticks at 3cm intervals and rub all over with a little olive oil. Carefully remove the pan and bricks from the oven, then place the chicken in the pan, skin side down. Place a hot brick on each chicken half, press down, then cook in the oven for 45 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Remove the bricks and pour the salsa straight over the chicken halves in the pan, ensuring they’re well covered. Leave to
rest for 10 minutes, then pull the chicken out of the salsa on to a platter and serve.

As mentioned in the introduction, I toasted ciabatta and piled left over cooked chicken on top – great for lunch or a snack.

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Jamie Oliver’s Happy Cow Burgers

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IMG_5789There is a current vogue for gourmet burger cafes in Sydney and I guess these cafes are pretty universal too. Although there are a multitude of beef, chicken and and fish burgers on offer, vegetarian and vegan versions are very on trend.

I love all burgers as a “flexiarian”, but I’m increasingly interested in trying out veggie burger options.

This is Jamie’s lovely veggie burger recipe which I am reblogging here. I love that it’s named “Happy Cow Burgers” – 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 tweaks.

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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Pear and Hazelnut Tart – Jamie Cooks Italy

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C42A5815-2EC1-4519-AA14-8C654E97581FI’ve just acquired Jamie Oliver’s new book, Jamie Cooks Italy. It’s beautiful! A wealth of fantastic recipes which highlight the breadth and depth of Italian cooking. Here is a link to the book.

I couldn’t wait to start my baking, so this weekend I made a lovely chicken dish, “Chicken under a Brick”. More of this in a later post!

I also baked “Pear and Hazelnut Tart”, a twist on a classic frangipane tart. The frangipane is made with hazelnuts rather than almonds. You process whole hazelnuts, so the texture is quite gritty compared with traditional almond or hazelnut meal. Pears are baked on top of the frangipane. The pastry and frangipane are both flavoured with orange zest, which adds to the piquancy of the tart.

Here’s Jamie’s recipe as is. A couple of notes – I roll the pastry between clingfilm as this is far easier and less messy than the traditional way! I also substituted baking paper for non-PVC clingfilm in order to bake the tart blind, as I’m not sure you can get the latter in Australia.

Ingredients 

2 oranges
275g unsalted butter (cold)
250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
50g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
3 large free-range eggs
Olive oil
150g blanched hazelnuts
150g golden caster sugar
3 firm pears

Method

To make the pastry, finely grate the zest of 1 orange into a food processor, add 125g of butter, the flour, icing sugar, vanilla paste and l egg, then pulse until it comes together into a ball of dough. Wrap in clingfilm and pop into the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. Lightly oil a 25cm non-stick loose-bottomed tart tin. Preheat the oven to l80 degrees C.

On a flour-dusted surface, roll out the pastry to about 3mm thick, then loosely roll it up around the rolling pin and unroll over the oiled tin, easing and pushing it carefully into the sides. Trim off any excess patch up any holes. Line with a double layer of non-PVC clingfilm, then fill with uncooked rice. Bake blind for IS minutes. Remove the clingfilm and rice, bake for a further 5 minutes, then leave to cool.

For the frangipane, blitz the nuts into a fine powder in the food processor. Add the remaining 150g of butter and the caster sugar and blitz again to combine. Finely grate in the remaining orange zest, crack in the remaining 2 eggs and blitz again. Just before assembling, peel the pears, quarter lengthways and remove the cores, then toss in the juice of half an orange.

Spoon the frangipane into the pastry case in an even layer, then arrange the pear quarters on top. Bake at time bottom of the oven for 40 minutes, or until golden. Leave for 5 minutes in the tin, then release and serve warm. Nice with orange-spiked crème fraîche and crumbled toasted hazelnuts.

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Jamie Oliver’s Roast Tomato and Bread Soup

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A59915C4-B72B-4107-9399-0B785DC7E073I found this great Jamie Oliver recipe online when I was looking for soup inspiration. The roast tomatoes appealed to me – roasting vegetables seems to intensify the flavours. And the addition of ciabatta bread to thicken the soup is a nice rustic touch.

Ingredients

2 kg ripe tomatoes
½ a bulb of garlic
2 red onions
1 pinch of dried oregano
Olive oil
1 litre organic vegetable stock
A few sprigs of fresh basil
280 g ciabatta loaf
Red wine vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Halve the tomatoes and place cut-side up in a large roasting tray.

Break the garlic bulb into cloves. Peel and slice the onions into 3cm wedges, then scatter both into the tray.

Sprinkle with oregano, season with sea salt and black pepper, then drizzle with oil. Roast for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until the tomatoes are soft and sticky.

Scrape everything from the tray into a large pan, picking out and squeezing in the garlic, discarding the skins. Pour in the stock, then roughly chop and add the basil stalks with most of the leaves.

Cut the ciabatta loaf in half and tear one half into the soup. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, put a griddle pan on a high heat. Slice the remaining ciabatta and griddle until lightly charred on both sides.

 

Grapefruit Marmalade

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DA13549D-6ABA-49A8-8505-3414904B1004It’s marmalade making season in Sydney with winter in full swing and citrus plentiful.

A colleague at work has a wonderful grapefruit tree which she tells me is very bountiful, bearing lots and lots of fruit that is both tangy and quite sweet tasting. The taste is almost like that of ruby grapefruit.

Recently in receipt of some of the bounty, I made a couple of batches of marmalade. The first batch, I hesitate to say, I made without a recipe, throwing the ingredients together, measuring by eye! Luckily for me the batch turned out, the fruit yielding a couple of jars of beautiful marmalade.

The second batch I made I followed the recipe below, successfully making a few jars. I added some crystallised ginger slivers to one jar to add a little heat.

Ingredients 

500 g grapefruit
6 cups water
5 cups sugar

Method

Wash the grapefruit, then remove the peel with a speed peeler. Cut the peel into thin strips and place in a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Cut the pith off the grapefruit, as this thick pith is bitter. Reserve the pith, putting it in a piece of muslin or muslin bag and tie up. Place the bag into the pan.

Chop the grapefruit into small chunks, and put into the saucepan, making sure you get as much of the juice as possible in the pan. If you can, try and remove the pips as you chop up the fruit.

Add the water to the saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer until the fruit peel is tender – this could be between 45 minutes and an hour and a half. Depending on how long you boil the fruit for will dictate how much liquid you’re left with. Don’t worry if you have a lot of liquid – it will eventually set into a fantastic jelly as the grapefruit has a lot of pectin.

When the peel is tender, remove the muslin bag and squeeze the juice into the saucepan.

Add the sugar, stirring until dissolved. Boil rapidly until setting point is reached. To test for setting point, take the pan off the heat. Put a little marmalade into a cold saucer and put in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes. The surface of the marmalade should be set. If it’s not set, return the pan to the heat and test again after a few minutes.

Skim the froth from the marmalade. Leave for 10 minutes before pouring into sterilised jars.

You can add a few slivers of crystallised ginger to one of the jars if you like.

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Hot Smoked Salmon With Coconut Rice and Greens Jamie Style

IMG_8895IMG_8903Here’s a post from 2014 that I’m revisiting – a mashup of two of Jamie Oliver’s recipes from Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals. From previous experience I know cooking these recipes in a quarter of an hour is a bit of a stretch, but hey, time isn’t everything and they are worth the extra few minutes.

The idea for this simple dish comes from a couple of 15 minute meals recipes: Green Tea Salmon with Coconut Rice and Jamie’s Killer Kedgeree.

You can buy hot-smoked salmon readily from supermarkets in Australia. It’s also really easy to hot smoke a salmon fillet at home – I have devised a simple method based on a Jamie recipe –  link to my post here.

IMG_9408 3Ingredients

1 cup basmati rice

1 cup light coconut milk

1 cup boiling water

1/2 lemon

Handful of coconut flakes

A large handful of sugar snap peas

A large handful of green beans

3 spring onions

A scattering of shelled pistachios

1 cooked salmon fillet

Method

To make rice, combine the rice, coconut milk, boiling water and lemon in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, turn down heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until rice is almost cooked. Turn off heat and leave rice to finish cooking while you prepare the rest of the dish.

Cook the sugar snap peas and beans, separately, in the microwave, until just cooked but still crunchy.

Assemble the dish by placing the cooked rice minus the lemon half in a bowl. Flake the salmon fillet and scatter over the rice. Top with the coconut flakes.

Arrange the sugar snap peas and beans on a serving platter to accompany the fish and rice, scattering with sliced spring onions and pistachios.

You can serve this salmon and rice dish with any vegetables and garnishes you like, or whatever takes your fancy.

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