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Author Archives: The quirk and the cool

Blood Orange Friands

 

 

Here's another recipe for friands, those delicious little cakes made with eggs whites only and ground almonds, very similar to the French financier.

This version features wonderful blood oranges, now available in Sydney, one of the joys of a beautiful bright winter! It's 21 degrees C on this sunny July day!

The recipe is really so versatile, you can add lots of different fruit to the basic recipe. Cherries, pears, raspberries and blueberries work well.

Ingredients

6 egg whites, beaten lightly

75g plain flour

240g icing sugar, sifted

125g almond meal

150g melted butter, cooled

Grated zest and juice of a blood orange

10 tablespoons icing sugar or enough to make a thick glaze.

Optional – some salted pistachio praline to decorate*

Slices of blood orange

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C or 160 degrees C fan-forced. Lightly grease 12 friand molds.

Beat the egg whites until frothy with fork in a large mixing bowl.

Sift the flour and icing sugar into the bowl, stir in almond meal and then add the melted butter. Stir in the zest of the blood orange, and the juice of one half of the blood orange.

Spoon the mixture (approximately ¼ cup) into each of the molds.

Bake in preheated oven for 20  minutes until cooked through and golden brown or until a skewer is inserted into centre comes out clean. Sometimes the friands need a few more minutes in the oven to be nice and brown.

To make the glaze, mix the juice of the other half of the blood orange with the icing sugar. You may need to add more or less juice or more or less icing sugar to get the glaze to the right consistency to ice the friands.
Ice the friands with just enough glaze to coat the tops and perhaps to run down the sides a little.

*To make the salted pistachio praline, dissolve a couple of tablespoons of caster sugar in a small frying pan over a medium heat. Don't stir, or the sugar will crystallize. Once the dissolved sugar has turned to a deep toffee colour, pour the praline over a handful of salted pistachios on some baking paper. Once hard, bash the praline into fragments.

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Roast Beef with Caramelized Onion and Raisin Chutney on French Bread

Here’s a a lovely combo that’s perfect for an alfresco weekend lunch. Thick slices of roast beef, with an easy onion and raisin chutney, on French bread with greens and cherry tomatoes and anything else you fancy.  Pretty easy to prepare, with the satisfaction of having made your own delicious chutney!

Sweet Onion and Raisin Chutney (adapted from July 2013 delicious. magazine)

Ingredients

100 gm raisins

300 ml sweet fortified wine (I used Pedro Ximenez sherry)

100 ml sunflower or vegetable oil

1 kg large red onions, halved, thinly sliced

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

125 ml white wine vinegar

Sea salt and black pepper

Method

Place the raisins and and wine in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Immediately remove, then set aside to soak for 2-3 hours (or overnight).

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, for 30 minutes or until the onions are soft and starting to colour and stick to the pan.

Add the sugar, cook, stirring frequently for a further 30 minutes or until the onions are a rich brown colour.

Add the vinegar and soaked raisins, including the soaking liquid, then cook stirring often, for a further 30 minutes, or until the mixture is thick. Remove from the heat, and season with sea salt and black pepper.

Spoon into sterilized jars and seal. This will give you a few jars, so plenty of chutney to use later.

Roast Beef

Ingredients

500 gm piece scotch fillet (this is enough for 2 large sandwiches)

Sea salt and black pepper

1 tbs olive oil

1 tbs butter

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Place a heavy based baking dish in the oven to heat through.

Thoroughly coat the fillet in salt and pepper on all sides. Drizzle with the olive oil over all sides. Place in a hot frying pan, searing quickly on all sides to caramelize the fillet. Turn the oven down to 180 degrees C. Place in the baking dish in the oven with the pan juices, adding the butter.

Cook the beef for 15 minutes for medium rare or 15-20 minutes for medium. Remove from the oven when cooked to your satisfaction and leave to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing thickly.

Sandwich

Assemble the sandwich with the following ingredients or whatever takes your fancy:

French bread stick, butter, roast beef, cherry tomatoes, baby salad greens, sugar snap peas, sweet onion and raisin chutney, plenty of salt and pepper.

 

 

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Flowerpot Soda Bread

Irish soda bread – the quick and easy bread you can make and eat in a matter of an hour. Which is exactly what I do on weekend mornings when I want freshly baked bread to go with my morning coffee!

My version has a spoonful of treacle to give it a malty flavour, alhtough it’s still quite a plain bread. You can zhush it up into a sweeter, more fancy bread by adding dried fruit – I like adding cranberries or sour cherries.

And baking soda bread in individual flowerpots is fantastic for making great little individual loaves. I love serving winter warming stews and casseroles with baby flowerpot loaves. Very rustic!

Of course, if you don’t have (clean) flowerpots on hand, you could just as easily make these loaves in muffins molds or even as free form loaves.

Here is the recipe for treacle flowerpot loaves and the fruity flowerpot variation.

Ingredients
340g plain flour
½ tsp salt
½ -1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbls black treacle
290mls buttermilk

For fruity flowerpots, add a couple of good handfuls or to taste, of dried fruit. For my bake, I made half  plain loaves, half fruity.

Method
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Lightly spray terracotta flower pots with cooking spray. Put a little flour into each pot, shaking the pot to make sure the flour coats the inside of the pot. Shake out any excess. You don’t need to be too precise – the main thing is to roughly coat the flower pot to allow easy removal of the loaf once baked.

Place flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl and stir. Add the treacle to the buttermilk, stirring it well.

Make a well in the centre of the mixture, and pour in the buttermilk/treacle mixture, mixing quickly to form a soft dough. (Depending upon the absorbency of the flour, you may need to add a little milk if the dough seems too stiff but it should not be too wet or sticky.) Add the dried fruit if using.

Mix well, then turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead very briefly. You can even skip the kneading and pile the mix straight into the pots.

Put handfuls of the dough into the pots, filing to about 3/4 full, to allow for the bread to rise. Place the pots on a baking sheet.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until the loaves are risen and deep brown. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the flowerpots. The way to do this is to gently run a knife round the edge of the bread in the pot to loosen it, then turn out.

Serve with lashings of butter and nice jam. Here’s the link to my cumquat jam and other preserves, that I love with soda bread.

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Cherry Tomato Tart

This is more a throw together than a recipe. The sort of thing you can whip up when you need a super quick lunch or supper dish!

Store-bought puff pastry tart base, some caramelized onion for the base, then topped with goats’ cheese, cherry tomatoes and a scattering of fresh herbs. I made mine in a rectangular flan tin, but a round one would do as well. You might have to adjust the quantities.

Ingredients

1 quantity store-bough puff pastry ( I used 2 sheets from a 3 sheet pack of Pampas Butter Puff Pastry)

1 red onion, chopped

1 teaspoon butter

1 teaspoon brown sugar

Goats’ cheese – or similar crumbly soft cheese. You will crumble this into the tart, so quantities are flexible, about 100gm should be enough

15-20 cherry tomatoes, or more if you want to pack them in, on the vine

Fresh thyme leaves for scattering

Sea salt and ground black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Butter a rectangular flan tin (or a round one), and fit with the puff pastry sheets which you have cut to shape.

Fry the red onion in the butter in a small frying pan over a low to medium heat, until the onion begins to soften. Add the brown sugar to caramelize the onion and cook for a further couple of minutes.

Lay the caramelized onion onto the pastry base. Crumble the goats’ cheese into the tart. Cut some of the cherry tomatoes in half and place on top of the goats’ cheese, place a few whole ones on, too for effect.  Scatter a few fresh thyme leaves over the tomatoes with sea salt and black pepper.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the puff pastry is nicely browned, the cheese melted and the tomatoes softened. Nice served with a green salad.

 

 

 

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Passionfruit Buttermilk Cakes

Passionfruit are plentiful and quite well priced in June in Sydney. I’m addicted to their heady sweet and tangy taste and the lovely mellow yellow colour they give to cakes and icings. I also love the depth of flavour that cooking with buttermilk gives to cakes and breads. I was keen to try the cheat’s buttermilk you can make using regular milk. Simply add lemon juice or vinegar to milk, or even lime juice, and you have a pretty good substitute!

Here is the recipe for these passionfruit beauties. You can make them dainty or scale them up as I did, using my three tier muffin molds.

Ingredients

Cakes

200g self-raising flour

125g caster sugar

125g butter

2 large free-range eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

125mls buttermilk 0r cheat’s buttermilk ( I added the juice of half a lime to regular milk)

Pulp from 4 passionfruit

Passionfruit Icing

250g icing sugar, sifted

Pulp from 2 passionfruit + 1 passionfruit for the optional fondant icing

1 tbs passionfruit fondant creme (optional)

Method

Cakes

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C.  You can make this little cakes in any fancy molds you have on hand. The cakes pictured were baked in my Silverwood three tier muffin molds. I buttered and floured these molds. You can use any standard 12 cup muffin tin.  Line the muffin tin with cupcake cases.

Put all the ingredients except the pasionfruit pulp in a food processor and blitz till smooth.  Stir the passionfruit pulp into the batter.

Spoon the mixture into the molds or paper cases. If you’re using fancy molds like mine you will get 6 sizeable cakes. Using a regular muffin tin,  you will get 8-12 cakes, depending on how big you want them.

Place the tin in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the cakes are cooked and golden on top.

Cool the cakes in their molds or muffin tin for 5 minutes, then carefully remove from the molds or muffin tin and finish cooling on a wire rack.

Ice with a generous amount of passionfruit icing, letting it drip down the sides of the cakes.

Passionfruit Icing

In a bowl, mix together the icing sugar and passionfruit pulp and beat well. If the icing is too soft, or runny, then add more icing sugar to get the desired consistency.

Optional –  I mixed a tablespoon of passionfruit fondant creme (warmed gently in the microwave for a minute or two) with the pulp of 1 passionfruit. This made a very yellow icing which I drizzled on top of of the other icing. More for effect than anything else!

 

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“Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme” Meatballs

Here’s a really quick and tasty meatball dish. The meatballs are baked, with cherry tomatoes which makes a simple sauce. You can also customise the meatballs by adding chili, cheese or more sauce. They’re great served on crusty bread as mini burgers too!

The meatballs are very herby, cooked with rosemary and sage, and served with more rosemary, thyme and parsley. Hence the name – my homage to the Simon and Garfunkel version of “Scarborough Fair”, a favourite song of mine. I love the live version on the album Live 69 http://www.simonandgarfunkel.com/music/live-1969/.

Ingredients 

1 onion

500g good quality minced beef (I used wagyu beef mince – wonderful flavour)

1/2 tsp rosemary sprigs 

1/2 tsp sage leaves

1 egg, beaten

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce 

1 tsp balsamic vinegar 

1 tsp Dijon mustard 

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

2-3 tbls breadcrumbs or a good couple of handfuls 

12 cherry tomatoes 

6-8 truss cherry tomatoes

1/2 tsp chopped thyme leaves 

1/2 tsp torn parsley leaves

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees C non fan forced, 210 degrees C fan forced.

Chop the onion finely, or blitz in a food processor.

Put the beef mince in a large mixing bowl, breaking up the mince with a spoon. You could do all the mixing using your hands if you wish. Add the chopped onion, rosemary sprigs and sage leaves, which have been finely chopped.

Add the beaten egg, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Add the breadcrumbs, mixing to combine so that the mixture holds together. You will need to use your judgement about how much of the breadcrumbs you add to give you a good consistency to make meatballs.

Roll the mixture into golf ball sized balls. Place them side by side, fairly snugly, into a baking dish. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and push them as many halves as you like into the spaces between the meatballs. Scatter some more rosemary springs over the top with more salt and pepper.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes until the meatballs are brown and cooked, but still nice and moist in the middle, if you cut one open.

You could serve as is, but it’s nice to add some more cherry tomatoes. Blister some truss cherry tomatoes in a hot frying pan by dry-frying for a couple of minutes. 

Serve the meatballs with the blistered tomatoes, scattered with thyme and parsley.

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Brown Sugar Waffles with Golden Syrup and Cinnamon Sugar

Waffles! I always thought they were hard to make until I started using a waffle maker, a present from years ago, that I found at the back of a kitchen cupboard. Et voila! From batter to plate in 15 minutes. So yummy, and they look pretty groovy too!

I made these last weekend and served them with a drizzle of golden syrup, a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar and good dollop of sour cream to undercut the sweetness. Magic breakfast!

Ingredients

110g plain flour
20g cornflour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tbls dark brown sugar or muscavado sugar
190ml buttermilk
30ml vegetable oil
1 free-range egg separated

To serve
Golden syrup, cinnamon sugar, sour cream or creme fraiche

Method

Heat an electric waffle maker for a few minutes.  Put the flour, cornflour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and mix by hand to combine. Add the buttermilk, oil and egg yolk and whisk until smooth.

Put the egg white into another bowl and whisk until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whisked egg white into the flour mixture. Carefully ladle 2 tablespoons of batter (or enough to cover the waffle plate) into the waffle maker. Cook until the waffle is a nice dark golden brown – my waffle maker lets me check the state of doneness simply by opening up and having a look. Carefully remove the cooked waffle to a warm plate and continue making.

Serve with golden syrup, cinnamon sugar and sour cream or creme fraiche. Makes about 6 waffles.

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