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Author Archives: The quirk and the cool

Caramelised Pineapple Pancakes + Blueberry Pancakes

 

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F7E778F7-91E2-4273-B632-FE2BE836C51CHere are two fantastic recipes for pancakes using the same basic batter.

Both  pancake batters have no refined sugar!

The  intense sweetness of the pineapple pancakes comes from cooking the pineapple in a frying pan until caramelised and luscious.  The blueberry pancakes are served with a little golden syrup to provide a sweet contrast to the slightly tart blueberries.

These pancakes are a riff from Jamie Oliver’s Pineapple Pancake Mess from his “Super Food Classics”, see here for Jamie’s original recipe. I was keen to cook a recipe using pineapple – so many in the markets now, at the height of Sydney summer.

My two versions are fairly simple in flavours, with vanilla and cinnamon in the batter. Both are served with fruit and natural yoghurt.

BBA44659-A97C-4F2E-A66D-79DABC801A1AIngredients

Pancake Batter
150g plain wholemeal flour
30g self-raising flour
300ml semi-skimmed milk
1 large free-range egg
1 tsp vanilla paste or vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt
Vegetable oil for the frying pan

For the Pineapple Pancakes
1 ripe pineapple
2 tbsp natural yoghurt
20g or a handful of macadamias lightly crushed

For the Blueberry Pancakes
1 punnet (200g) fresh blueberries
2 tbsp natural Greek yoghurt
1 tbs golden syrup

Method – Pineapple Pancakes

Make the batter first and let it stand while you cook the pineapple.

Mix the flour, milk, egg, vanilla, cinnamon and sea salt together, in a blender or by hand. It’s pretty simple to just mix by hand which is what I did.

Cut the ends off the pineapple, then the skin, quarter it lengthways and cut away the core. Chop the flesh into 1cm pieces.

Put the pineapple pieces into a frying pan on a medium high heat, and cook the pineapple for 5 to 10 minutes, or until caramelized, turning regularly, then remove to a plate.

For the pancakes themselves, use half of the batter.

Drizzle a little oil into a frying pan on a medium heat, tipping out any excess. You just to make sure the pancake don’t stick.

Add a couple of tablespoons of batter to the frying pan. Cook until bubbles appear on the top of the pancake, then turn and cook on the other side until golden brown. Remove to a plate while you make the rest of the pancakes.

Repeat the process, stacking up the pancakes as you go and covering with foil to keep warm.

Serve the pancakes layered with the caramelised  pineapple pieces, with natural yoghurt, crushed macadamias and a drizzle of the pineapple juices.

Method – Blueberry Pancakes

Add half of the blueberries to the other half of the batter, stirring them in. You can keep them whole or crush a few into the batter.

Cook the batter as for the pineapple pancakes. They may need a little longer on each side as they are quite moist.

Serve the pancakes with the rest of the blueberries, the natural yoghurt and a little golden syrup.

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Nigella’s Italian Christmas Pudding Cake

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This is a fabulous cake I made as part of the recent Christmas and New Year festivities. It’s a relatively simple cake to make, as there’s no baking required rather an assembly of different luscious elements.

It’s a kind of “tiramisu meets trifle”! Layers of liqueur soaked panettone are interspersed with a mascarpone/ cream/egg/sugar/liqueur mixture with glacé fruit, chocolate and pistachios added.

I made a couple of alterations to the original recipe. I soaked the panettone in Cointreau as the specified Tuaca liqueur is hard to obtain.  As I was unable to source marrons glacés (candied chestnuts), I used glacé ginger instead.

The other recipe alteration was entirely accidental – the recipe asks for Marsala to flavour the mascarpone mixture. I inadvertently grabbed a bottle of coffee liqueur and used this instead. A happy accident as it turned out as the cake now had a real tiramisu flavour!

The link to Nigella’s recipe is here for the original version.

A couple of points. I think finely chopped chocolate is preferable to chocolate chips as these are a little too crunchy in the cake. The other thing to take note of, is not to overbeat the mixture when you add the mascarpone as mascarpone can easily curdle as I found out to my cost!

Here is the recipe as I made it.

Ingredients

625 grams panettone (approximately)
6 tablespoons Cointreau or other orange liqueur
2 large free-range eggs at room temperature
75 gms caster sugar
500 gms mascarpone cheese
250 mls cream
125 mls coffee liqueur
75 gms glacé ginger
125 gms chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate
100 gms pistachios chopped
Pomegranate seeds from half a pomegranate

Method

Using a serrated knife, cut the panettone roughly into 1cm slices, then use about a third of these to line the bottom of a 22cm springform cake tin. Tear off pieces to fit so that there are no gaps.

Drizzle 2 tablespoons of  the orange liqueur over the panettone.

Whisk the eggs and sugar until very frothy and increased in volume and lightness.

Slowly whisk in the mascarpone and double cream, then gradually whisk in the coffee liqueur and whisk until the mixture is thick and spreadable. If you stop every so often you can gauge how thick the mixture is and whether you are in danger of overbeating.

Remove 250ml or a cup of the mixture to a bowl, cover and put in the fridge, for the top layer of the cake.

Chop the glacé ginger into small pieces and then add to the rest of the mascarpone cream mixture.  Then add 100gms of the chocolate chips and 75gms of the chopped pistachios, and fold both into the mixture.

Spoon half of the mixture on top of the panettone layer in the cake tin. Put another third of the panettone slices over the cream filling, again making sure there are no gaps. Sprinkle with another 2 tablespoons of liqueur.

Spoon the other half of the cream mixture onto to the panettone. Top with the final layer of panettone, leaving no gaps and sprinkle over the last 2 tablespoons of liqueur.

Cover the cake tightly with clingfilm, pressing down on the top a little, and put in the fridge for at least overnight.

To serve, take the cake out of the fridge, unmould it and sit it on a flat plate or cake stand, then spread with the reserved mascarpone mixture. Definitely don’t try to lift the cake off the base, as the cake is too soft and moist to remove.

Scatter the top of the cake with the remaining chocolate chips and chopped pistachios and the pomegranate seeds. The cake will look a little rustic around the sides but this is part of its charm!

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Peach, Passionfruit and Blackberry Meringue Trifle

F78F5F6D-F5A3-4779-9124-DBBB3EBE9FA4Here’s a fabulous trifle for a festive occasion! I created it for Christmas this year. It’s a lovely celebration of summer fruit, and is a different take on a traditional trifle with the addition of meringue and passionfruit curd.

You need to start with a pretty glass trifle bowl that will adequately display your trifle and its layers. You can really layer it any way you like, but starting with a cake layer and ending with meringue shards and peach slices seems a good way to go.

Here is the order in which I layered my version:

Cake
Peaches/ passionfruit
Passionfruit curd
Meringue
Cake
Blackberry compote
Custard
Cream
Meringue shards/peaches/passionfruit/individual meringues

52A88A87-81CA-40D9-AB69-B38A128CB1A1.jpegIngredients 

Meringue
3 egg free range whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup caster sugar
A few drops of yellow food colouring

Passionfruit curd
4 tbls sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
Pulp of 3 passionfruit
2 free-range egg yolks
2 tbls butter

Custard
3 large free-range egg yolks
35g cornflour
50g caster sugar
600ml milk
300ml cream

Blackberry compote
500g frozen blackberries
3 tbls sugar
2 tbls water

2 bought sponge cakes (you can make your own but it’s much less time consuming to buy them)

6 yellow peaches, cut into slices
Pulp of 3 passionfruit

1/2 cup or to taste of an orange flavoured liqueur. (I used Cointreau and Orange Curaçao)

300ml whipped cream

Method

Meringue
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.
Using 3/4 of the mixture, spoon or pipe two discs, each about the size of the diameter of your trifle bowl, onto the prepared trays. With the remaining meringue, colour one half yellow, and put both meringue mixtures  into two piping bags. Pipe yellow and plain meringues, as many as the mixtures will make, around the edges of the baking trays where you have placed the discs.
Bake the discs and meringues for 1 1/2 hours. Leave in oven for a further 1/2 hour or until dry.

Passionfruit Curd
Place all the ingredients into a saucepan over a medium heat. Stir with a wooden spoon, making sure all the ingredients are amalgamated and the sugar is completely dissolved. Continue to stir until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Put aside to cool.

Custard
Put the egg yolks, cornflour and sugar into a large bowl and stir together with a whisk. Heat the milk and cream together in a pan until hot but not boiling. Gradually whisk into the yolks, then return the mixture to the pan. Stir over a high heat until the mixture just comes to the boil and the custard thickens. Take off the heat, cover and allow to cool.

Blackberry compote
Put the frozen blackberries, sugar and water into a saucepan and gently stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to boiling point, turn the heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the fruit is softened and the liquid is reduced. Transfer to a bowl to cool.

Assembling the trifle
Line the base of your glass trifle bowl with half the cake, making sure there are no gaps. Liberally sprinkle over half the orange liqueur.
Scatter half the piece slices and half the passionfruit pulp over the cake. Spoon the cooled passionfruit curd over the fruit.
Now carefully place one of the meringue discs on top of the curd, trimming the edges if it’s too big. Place the rest of the cake pieces on top. If you think there is too much cake, leave some of it out. Sprinkle the cake with the remaining liqueur. Spoon the blackberry compote on top of the cake.
Carefully spoon or pour the cooled custard over the trifle, then add the whipped cream. Again, if you think there’s too much custard or too much whipped cream, add a little less.
To decorate the trifle, carefully break up the remaining meringue disc into shards big and small (so lots of broken bits don’t matter!). Place the rest of the peach slices and passionfruit pulp around the edge of the trifle and artfully place the meringue shards wherever you like.
Then finish by topping the trifle with the individual meringues.
This is how I made my trifle – I’m sure there are endless variations to the layering and presentation, so be creative!

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Raspberry and Macadamia Nougat

 

It’s Christmas and I have been meaning to make nougat as a festive treat for ages. I had  even bought the rice paper earlier in the year and started researching recipes. I finally decided to have a go this week.

I found a great Jamie Oliver recipe – see here for the original – and so I’ve used this as the basis for my nougat. I flavoured mine with freeze-dried raspberries and macadamias. I did add a little red food colour to the mixture to get a really raspberry effect.

The day that I made the nougat was 36 degrees C and high humidity. That’s Christmas in Sydney for you! The nougat didn’t set as hard as I would have liked and was difficult to slice. The flavour was fine however!

Here is Jamie’s recipe with my flavour additions.

Ingredients
Rice paper sheets
2 tablespoons glucose syrup
250 g caster sugar
150 g clear honey
2 large free-range egg whites
A handful of freeze dried raspberries
A handful of chopped macadamias
A drop or 2 of red food colouring

Method
Line a 23cm x 23cm baking tin with rice paper sheets. You will have to trim them to size.

Put the glucose, sugar, honey and 100ml of water in a saucepan along with a thermometer and set it over a medium heat.

Add the egg whites to a mixer fitted with a balloon whisk. When the sugar reaches 130ºC, beat the whites on high speed until frothy.

Once the sugar reaches 143ºC, remove it from the heat and pour gradually onto the eggs. Whisk on a high speed for 8 to 10 minutes, until the eggs start to hold their shape and the mixture is firm.

Turn off the mixer and stir in the freeze dried raspberries, chopped macadamias and a little food colouring to taste. I think some pink streaks are nice.

Spoon the nougat into the lined tin, levelling the top with an oiled knife. Put more sheets of rice paper cut to size over the top, then a board, weigh it down with something heavy and leave overnight.

The next day, remove the nougat from the tin, trimming any excess paper, and slice it into squares or fingers. I decorated my nougat with more whole freeze dried raspberries and freeze dried raspberry powder.

Store it in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

 

 

Festive Rocky Road

 

Rocky Road has to be the easiest sweet to make at Christmas. And it’s not even a bake!

I’m revisiting a recipe that is based on Nigella’s Christmas Rocky Road, from her book Nigella Christmas. I like it as it’s an adult version of Rocky Road, with dark chocolate and lots of nuts.

I substituted ginger nut biscuits for amaretti biscuits in Nigella’s recipe and I used a mixture of brazil nuts, cashews and pecans.

Ingredients
250 gms dark chocolate
150 gms milk chocolate
175 gms soft butter
4 tbls golden syrup
200 gms ginger nut biscuits
150 gms brazil nuts, cashews and pecans
150 gms red glace cherries
125 gms mini marshmallows or whole marshamllows cut in half
Edible glitter and icing sugar to decorate

Method
Chop the chocolate into small pieces and then put into a heavy-based saucepan to melt with the butter and syrup over a gentle heat.
Put the biscuits into a freezer bag and bash them with a rolling pin to get big and little pieces. Put the mixed nuts into another freezer bag and bash them to get different sized nut pieces.
Take the saucepan off the heat, and add the crushed biscuits and nuts, whole glacé cherries and marshmallows, turning carefully to coat everything with the chocolate.
Line a rectangular or square tin with baking paper. A larger tin will give you thinner Rocky Road, a smaller tin will give you a chunkier version. Smooth the top, not too much as the rough look is what you want.
Refrigerate until firm enough to cut, at least 2 hours, the longer the better. Remove the set Rocky Road from the tin and cut into squares or slabs – whatever you prefer.
To decorate, sprinkle the top of the Rocky Road with edible glitter – I used gold. Dust with icing sugar for a snowy effect.

Apricot Almond Traybake

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Stone fruit is just coming into season in Sydney at the start of summer.  While peaches and nectarines are still a little firm, apricots are good eating.

The traybake is based on a recipe from Gabriel Gate from an SBS program, see here for the original. This is an ultra simple cake, made in a square tin in a shallow layer so that you end up with a traybake rather than a cake. I think it works quite well in this form.  I also made the whole cake in food processor, making it really simple.

Ingredients 

5 ripe apricots
150 g butter
100 g caster sugar
3 free-range eggs
50 g honey
120 g ground almonds
100 g self-raising flour
20 g flaked almonds

Method

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C fan-forced. Grease and line with baking paper a 24 cm square cake tin. Halve the apricots and remove stones.

Cream the butter and caster sugar in the food processor. Add the eggs and process till well mixed. Stir in the honey and then the ground almond and flour.

Carefully pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and arrange the apricot halves on top. Sprinkle with flaked almonds in the spaces between the apricots.

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Bake the cake in the preheated oven for  30-35 minutes until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin.  When cool, gently lift the whole traybake out of the tin using the baking paper.

Brush the top with a little warmed apricot jam to glaze and cut into squares to serve.

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Jamie’s Smoked Salmon and Yorkshire Pudding

I’m revisiting a recipe from Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals. It’s basically a big Yorkshire pudding with smoked salmon, char-grilled asparagus and baby beetroot, with a yoghurt sauce. I added some char-grilled green beans.

Jamie cooks the Yorkie in an oven proof frying pan. I cooked mine in a cake tin, which actually worked really well.

It’s a great recipe – really easy and super fast. Maybe not quite 15 minutes – but not much more!

Ingredients

Yorkshire pudding
Olive oil
2 large eggs
150ml low fat milk
65g plain flour

180g smoked salmon
1 bunch of asparagus
A handful of green beans
Juice of ½ lemon
6 baby beetroot

Sauce
3 heaped tbsp fat-free natural yoghurt
1 heaped tsp horseradish or French mustard

Method

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium sized cake tin and place in the oven and heat till the oil is really hot.

Put the eggs into a blender or food processor, add the milk and flour, then blitz until smooth.

Carefully pour the batter into the hot cake tin and cook in the oven until golden (about 12 minutes). Don’t be tempted to open the oven door!

Trim the asparagus and beans and put dry on a hot char grill plate or barbecue, turning until nicely charred on all sides.

Drain and slice the beetroot, then place over some salad greens on a board or plate. Mix the yoghurt and horseradish or mustard in a bowl, then season to taste with salt.

Squeeze lemon juice over the asparagus and beans, add salt and pepper, and pile on the board or plate.

When the Yorkshire pudding is really high and puffed up, remove from the oven, slide it on to the board or plate and place the smoked salmon on top of the pudding. Delicious and different!

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