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Author Archives: The quirk and the cool

Chocolate Frangipane Kugelhopf

This delicious loaf was inspired by the idea of a babka. It’s got a similar filling in an enriched dough, but it’s much easier to make as it shaped into a simple ring.

You could change the fillings to fruit, or jam or custard for instance, but who doesn’t like chocolate hazelnut spread with an almond frangipane paste?

And it does use a small quantity of sourdough starter, for flavour, but you could easily leave this out if you don’t have any on hand.

Ingredients

Dough

500g strong flour

7g instant yeast

10g salt

50g caster sugar

50g sourdough starter

275g milk

1 large free range egg beaten

50g butter

Frangipane

50g butter

50g sugar

60g ground almonds

1 large free range egg

1/2 teaspoon almond essence

150g chocolate hazelnut spread – store bought

Orange Drizzle

Juice of 1 orange

50g water

75g icing sugar

Method

For the dough, put all the dough ingredients except the butter into the bowl of an electric mixer such as a KitchenAid. Mix with a dough hook or wooden spoon to a rough dough, cover and leave for 30 minutes to autolyse.

Knead the dough using the dough hook of the electric mixer for about 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.

Add the butter, in small pieces, which needs to be very soft. You can soften the butter in the microwave. Mix using the dough hook until the dough is smooth, soft and windowpanes.

Cover the dough with cling wrap and leave to prove somewhere warm for 2-3 hours. The dough should have risen, if not quite doubled in size.

Make the frangipane filling while the dough is proving. Put all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until all the ingredients are blended and smooth. You could also mix this by hand, it just takes a bit more work.

Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Remove the proven dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured board. Using floured hands, gently stretch the dough to a large rough rectangle.

Spread the frangipane over the rectangle, then the hazelnut chocolate spread on top of the frangipane.

Roll the dough up along the long side, then join the ends of the roll to make a circle. Move the ring to the baking tray.

Put the tray into a large plastic bag to prove. Place into the fridge overnight or for 8-12 hours.

Half an hour before baking, preheat the oven to 160 degrees C fan or 180 degrees C non fan forced. Add a cast iron pan of water to the bottom of the oven to create steam for baking.

Take the tray out of the plastic bag and place in the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the Kugelhopf is golden brown but not burnt.

Once baked, remove from the oven.

To make the orange drizzle, mix the orange juice with the water and icing sugar. You may need more or less icing sugar – use enough to make an icing of dripping consistency.

Spoon the drizzle over the top of Kugelhopf.

Eat on the day – although the Kugelhopf will keep well as it so rich!

Hot Smoked Salmon and Asparagus Pasta

When I first acquired Jamie Oliver’s book, 5 Ingredients, I cooked many of the recipes, as they were simple to make up and used only 5 ingredients give or take a staple or two!

This recipe lives up to expectations. The main ingredient, hot smoked salmon, is versatile. You can buy it in the supermarket, and as the salmon is already cooked, you can pop it straight into any number of dishes.

I was recently reminded that we need to buy environmentally responsible salmon. In Australia, Petuna and New Zealand King Salmon are good brands to look for and are available in supermarkets.

Ingredients

350g fresh asparagus

300g dried taglierini or angel-hair pasta (I used the latter)

250g hot-smoked salmon skin off

1 lemon

100ml creme fraiche (Jamie recommends half fat if you can get it. Just use full fat if you can’t get half fat)

Method

Use a speed peeler to strip the top tender half of the asparagus stalks into ribbons. Finely slice the remaining stalks, discarding the woody ends. Cook the pasta in a pan of boiling salted water according to the packet instructions, then drain, reserving a mugful of cooking water. Meanwhile, roughly break the salmon into a large non-stick frying pan on a medium-high heat. Add the sliced asparagus stalks, and toss occasionally until the pasta’s ready.

Finely great half the lemon zest into the salmon pan, squeeze in half the juice, then toss in the drained pasta, a good splash of the reserved cooking water and the crème fraiche. Add the asparagus ribbons, toss again, then season to perfection with sea salt and and black pepper. Serve with lemon wedges, for squeezing over.

Blueberry and White Chocolate Crumble Muffins

Blueberries, white chocolate, crumble, what’s not to like? These muffins are a winner, as they’re easy to make and even easier to bake.

They can be whipped up quickly for breakfast or a snack. But remember, as I’m sure you know, muffins should not be overmixed, so mixing by hand is the way to go.

Ingredients

Muffin mix

350g self raising flour

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

50 g castor sugar

50 g brown sugar

100 g white chocolate, chopped

2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten

200mls buttermilk

125 g butter

250g blueberries

Crumble topping

50g rolled oats

20g ground almonds

40g brown sugar

60g flour

35g roughly chopped almonds

1 teaspoon mixed spice

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

65g melted butter

Method

Preheat oven to 190 degrees C fan forced. Grease a 6 cup Texas muffin pan or a 12 cup ordinary size muffin pan. Depending on how big you make your muffins you may end up with excess mixture so be prepared to bake an extra muffin or two of either size.

Combine the flour and spices into a large bowl. Stir in the sugars and white chocolate. Combine the eggs, buttermilk and melted butter, and stir into the dry ingredients until just combined. Be careful not too overmix or muffins will be tough.

Fold in the blueberries.

To make the crumble, put all the ingredients together in a small bowl and stir until combined.

Spoon the muffin mix into the muffin pan, and add a generous spoonful of crumble on top of each one.

Place into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes for larger muffins and 15-20 minutes for regular muffins, or in the case of each size, until a skewer inserted in the muffin comes out clean.

Bishop’s Bread

This egg rich loaf, part bread, part cake, laden with colourful glacé fruit and flaked almonds is a truly festive bake for religious occasions, such as Easter.

It’s an Austrian recipe, called “Bischofsbrot”, the name alluding to its Christian origins.

I became interested in this recipe after reading about in a publication of Sydney Living Museums, that wonderful organisation that looks after many historic properties in Sydney and NSW. The link to the original recipe is here.

The recipe comes from Rose Seidler’s recipe collection. Rose was the mother of the renowned architect Harry Seidler, whose family emigrated to Australia in 1946. There are a number of Rose’s recipes written in German in the SLM collection.

Curator and colonial gastronomer at SLM, Dr Jacqui Newling has researched and baked the recipe, from a translation by Avril Vorsay. This certainly whetted my appetite to give it a go!

It’s a pretty simple recipe – the hardest part is probably separating the eggs. It’s traditionally baked in a loaf tin, but I baked mine in 16cm/6.5 inch springform tin. This made a higher, round loaf.

Another thing to remember is that you need to wait a day before you cut it. I guess that patience is a virtue!

Ingredients
140g butter, softened, + 1 teaspoon
extra butter to grease the baking pan
140g icing sugar, sifted +extra to dust the loaf after baking
6 eggs, separated
200g glacé fruit, diced*
Zest of 1 small lemon*
100g slivered or blanched almonds
140g plain flour, sifted, + 1 tablespoon extra to dust the fruit

*You can replace the glacé fruit with
a mixture of colourful dried fruit such
as apricots, apples, sultanas and
cranberries, soaked in freshly boiled
water for 15 minutes and then well
drained. Replace the lemon zest with
store-bought mixed peel for
additional citrus flavour, colour and
texture.
Note: Bishop’s bread needs to be
made a day before serving.

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C (or 160°C fan forced). Grease the base and sides of a loaf tin* with 1 teaspoon of butter and dust with a little flour.

Cream the butter and icing sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg yolks one at a time. Dust the fruit and zest with a tablespoon of flour and toss to lightly coat the pieces (this helps to prevent them sinking to the bottom of the cake). Stir the fruit and the almonds into the bowl, and fold in half the flour. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then fold them through the batter with the remaining flour, being careful not to overwork the batter.

Pour the batter into the loaf tin and bake for 40–50 minutes, or until the loaf is nicely browned on top and cooked through. Test by inserting a skewer into the centre of the loaf – the skewer should come out clean and dry.

Allow the loaf to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then transfer it to a wire rack and dust it with the sifted extra icing sugar.

Note: Once completely cooled, store the loaf overnight in a container covered with a cloth. Do not slice until the next day.

*or round springform cake tin

Hot Smoked Salmon with Coconut Rice and Greens

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Another recipe from the vault. Jamie Oliver is a source of simple but innovative recipes and Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals, which came out a while ago, was the inspiration for this salmon, rice and greens dish. The recipe’s based on his Green Tea Salmon with Coconut Rice, and Jamie’s Killer Kedgeree.

Hot smoked salmon is readily available here in Australia from supermarkets. I buy it often as it’s a quick fix meal that’s very versatile.

Ingredients

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 hot smoked 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.

PS The coconut rice is sensational and I’ll be cooking this again!

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 that takes your fancy.

Very Lemon Buttermilk Cake

Everyone loves lemons, and this cake has lemon at every level! It’s tangy, sweet and moreish.

This is another buttermilk cake. I find using buttermilk gives cakes and pastries a depth of flavour and better keeping qualities. I’m a big fan.

This is a pretty large cake, for making in a large bundt tin, or large round cake tin or fancy rose Nordic Ware mold as I did. If you wanted to downsize for a 20 or 21 or 22cm cake tin, just halve the ingredients. ( For the eggs, use 3).

It’s a great cake so try making it in bundt tin at least, to make it special. Oh, for the photos I added a few “little roses” to the big one. These are also Nordic Ware molds. The recipe for these little cakes is here.

Ingredients

Cake

250g butter

300g caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Zest of 2 lemons, juice of 1

5 large free-range eggs

300g plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of salt

300mls buttermilk

Lemon drizzle

Juice of 1 lemon

50g water

75g caster sugar

Icing

Juice of 1/2 lemon

200g icing sugar or enough icing sugar to make a dripping icing

Method

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C.

Lightly grease the mold or cake tin with butter. Sprinkle with flour to evenly coat. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Cream the butter and sugar well in an electric mixer, on medium speed. Add in the vanilla extract and the lemon zest and juice and mix on medium until combined.

Add the eggs, flour, baking powder, salt and buttermilk and mix on low speed until the mixture is smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared mold/tin. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean. If the cake is browning too quickly, cover the top with foil for the remainder of the bake.

While the cake is baking, make the drizzle by combining the lemon juice, water and sugar in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes until slightly thickened. Set aside until ready to use.

Remove the cake from the oven. Pierce the top with a skewer and drizzle half the lemon drizzle over the top. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Release from the mold or tin onto a wire rack. Turn right side up onto a serving plate. Paint the cake with the remainder of the lemon drizzle with a pastry brush.

To make the icing, mix the lemon juice with the icing sugar to make a drippable icing.

When the cake is completely cold, drip the lemon icing over the cake – no need to be too precise!

It’s a moist cake so it’s great on its own, but serving with a dollop of cream wouldn’t be amiss either!

Apple Caramel Cake

While this cake may seem a bit complicated – making caramel, toasting nuts, it’s actually quite straightforward!

What makes the cake do-able is because it’s all made in a food processor! Which doesn’t mean you couldn’t make it in an electric mixer. You would just need to finely chop the nuts first, by hand or in a processor.

It’s an upsidedown cake, the caramel apples on the base become the top. The cake is nutty, with a distinct caramel flavour and a hint of spice. It’s incredibly moist and keeps well too.

Ingredients

2 apples

Caramel

100g caster sugar

40g butter

Cake

100g mixed nuts

125g butter

75g raw sugar

75g brown sugar

3 large free-range eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

125mls buttermilk

150g self raising flour

1/2teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Method

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C.

Grease a 20cm or 22cm springform tin, depending on what size you want your cake. Mine was baked in a 20cm tin. Line the base with baking paper.

Peel and core one apple and half of the other one. Cut into thin slices.

To make the caramel, melt the sugar slowly in a heavy based saucepan. Once the caramel has melted and turned a toffee or tea colour, take off the heat and very carefully add the butter in pieces. Stir the caramel but be careful as it will splutter a bit. Once the butter is added beat the mix mixture well for a minute.

Pour the caramel over the baking paper lined base of the tin. Place the apple slices over the caramel in an overlapping circle.

For the cake, toast the mixed nuts in a frying pan for a couple of minutes over a medium heat. Cool for a few minutes, then place in a food processor and blitz until roughly chopped.

Add the butter and sugars to the food processor and mix until amalgamated. Add the remaining half apple cut into pieces, and all the other ingredients to the bowl. Process for a couple of minutes until everything is amalgamated. You made need to scrape the bowl down part way through the process.

Spoon the mixture on top of the apples and caramel.

Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Carefully turn out the cake. Remember this is an upsidedown cake so the bottom is the top! If the apple come out a bit higgledy piggledy, just rearrange as necessary. Don’t worry it’s meant to be a rustic cake!

Leek and Spinach Galette

Ingredients

450g good store bought shortcrust pastry, or you could make your own.

2 leeks

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 tablespoon butter

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

50g baby spinach leaves

140g light sour cream or creme fraiche

2 free range eggs

1 teaspoon mustard

Salt and ground black pepper

50g cheddar cheese

Egg wash – 1 free-range egg mixed with 1/2 tablespoon water.

Method

Roll out the pastry to a rough circle. About 20-25cm or 9-10 inches in diameter is good. This is a rustic galette and is very forgiving. Put the circle of pastry onto a baking sheet on your chosen baking surface. A cast iron pan is ideal (that’s what I used), but a baking tray works just as well.

Score another circle with a knife inside the pastry base, 2-3 cms smaller. Carefully turn up the outer circle to make a rough side for the galette.

Chop the leeks into rounds. Put the olive oil and butter into a large frying pan. When the butter is melted, add the chopped garlic and leeks. Add the salt and simmer the mixture on a low heat for 10-15 minutes or until the leeks are soft. Add the the baby spinach leaves and stir through. Turn off the heat and cover the frying pan. Leave for 5 minutes until the spinach has wilted.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.

Put the sour cream or creme fraiche into a bowl and stir to loosen. Add the eggs, and beat well to fully mix. Add the mustard and salt and pepper and mix.

Scatter the cheddar cheese over the pastry circle, and then scatter the leeks/garlic/spinach on top. Pour the sour cream/egg mixture very carefully over the filling inside the galette. If you have too much liquid, don’t use it all in case it spills.

Brush the pastry edge with egg wash.

Place the galette into the pre-heated oven, and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the custard is set and slightly puffy. The pastry should be golden brown, too.

Serve warm or at room temperature with a green salad. You could throw in a few baby spinach leaves and some fried leek rounds for decoration too!

Angel Food Cake

Angel food cake, the food of the gods or at least, the angels! A couple of years ago I had never made this beautiful cake, so I decided I needed to give it ago. I’ve made it a few times since, as a special occasion cake.

I’m re-visiting a previous post, just to show you that it’s quite possible to make this cake without too much experience, provided you follow a few simple guidelines, which I’ve listed below.

The result is of course, sublime!

Angel food cake is notable because it contains no fat and no egg yolks. In fact, it’s basically egg whites, sugar and flour, with cream of tartar. It also needs to be cooked in a special angel food cake tin.

I did a heap of research online to find out how to bake this cake. There are several things you need to do for cake success:

*Acquire an angel food cake tin for a start, and learn how to use the tin.

The tin should be 25cm/10in in diameter.

*Don’t grease the tin!

*Cool the cake upside down, the tin being supported on its own legs.

*Treat your egg whites in the mixture with care. Whisk the egg whites until aerated and foamy but not dry. After adding the sugar, whisk into soft but not stiff peaks. The egg white mixture will continue to expand in the oven. Stiff peaks may deflate in the oven.

My recipe is developed from very helpful instructions from the Queen of Cakes, Mary Berry, link here and Sally’s Baking Addiction, link here. Both food writers explain the science of the angel food cake clearly with understandable instructions.

Angel food cake is best served with cream and fruit or a sauce. It would be tricky to ice the cake as it’s so delicate, so it’s usually served plain.

I served this particular cake with lots of strawberries and raspberries, and berry whipped cream – whipped cream mixed with some berry jam and then piped onto the cake in swirls.

An angelic dusting of icing sugar makes this a truly heavenly cake to eat!

Ingredients 

Cake

125g plain flour

300g caster sugar

10 large free-range egg whites

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

½ teaspoon salt

To serve

250mls whipping cream

1-2 tablespoons of any berry jam – strawberry, raspberry or blueberry, or a mixture

250g strawberries

250g raspberries

Icing sugar, to dust 

Method

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C fan forced, 180 degrees C non fan forced.  Make sure you have an oven shelf positioned in the lower third of the oven. 

Sift the flour and salt and add to a food processor. Pulse them with 100g of the caster sugar. This will aerate the dry ingredients to help create a light cake texture.

Whisk the 10 egg whites in an electric stand mixer on a high speed for one minute until frothy. Add the lemon juice, cream of tartar and salt and continue whisking for 2-3 minutes, or until foamy peaks form when the whisk is removed from the bowl. Increase the speed, and add the remaining 200g of caster sugar, one tablespoon at a time to form firm, but not stiff peaks. You will end up with a big volume of meringue mixture.

Sprinkle over one third of the flour/sugar mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. Repeat with the next third of the mixture and then the last third. Be very careful to fold the flour/sugar mixture gently to keep as much air in the angel food mixture as possible.

Carefully spoon the mixture into an angel food cake tin. Do not grease the tin! There is a lot of mixture to get into the tin. Once in the tin, gently run a knife through the centre of the mixture to remove any pockets of air. 

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. The cake should be pale brown and should have risen slightly. If the egg whites have been over beaten, or the mixture stirred too aggressively, the baked cake can sink.

Take out of the oven and turn the tin upside down onto the tin’s cooling legs on the bench top. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for at least an hour, two is ideal.

Once the cake is cool, run a knife around the outer edge of the cake tin, and also the inner edge around the centre insert, to remove it from the tin. 

Turn the tin over and invert onto a plate. Remove the centre insert, and very carefully run a palette knife between the cake and the base of the tin to separate the cake from the base.  Being very careful, turn the cake right side up and place on a wire rack to cool.

Once cool, very delicately turn the cake right side up and place on a serving plate.

To serve:

Whip the cream until fairly stiff, but don’t overwhip or you’ll end up with butter! Put into a piping bag, and swirl your berry jam of choice into the cream. Pipe swirls or rosettes, if you’re being fancy, around the diameter of the cake.

Pile lots of strawberries and raspberries into the centre of the angel food cake.

Dust liberally with icing sugar over the whole cake.

Rosewater and Lime Cakes

I love making little cakes, and I like to make cakes in different sizes and shapes.

I’m a great collector of molds for cakes, and my collection is always growing… I picked up these little rose molds made by Nordicware some time ago. They are perfect for little cakes for afternoon tea or even for a dessert.

While they are very pretty the molds do need careful management in order that the cakes don’t stick. I use this method – I butter the molds well, sprinkle them with flour, and freeze them for 15 minutes or so. This seems to do the trick.

However you could make these cakes in any fancy molds or in a muffin pan.

Something else that I do with these cakes, is to use buttermilk. I find this gives the cakes a really lovely flavour and I think perhaps helps them to keep well.

And lime and rosewater is a beautiful combination!

Ingredients

Little Rose Cakes

125g butter

125g caster sugar

Zest of 1/2 lime

2 large free-range eggs

200g plan flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

125mls buttermilk

Icing

100g icing sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon rosewater

Juice of 1/4 lime

A drop of pink food colouring

Method

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C. You can make this little cakes in any fancy molds you have on hand. I made these in Nordicware rose molds, but you could use any standard 12 cup muffin pan.

Butter and flour your molds – if you’re using any kind of fancy molds, you will need to butter and flour them very well as I mentioned in the introduction.

Cream the butter and sugar in electric mixer with the lime zest. Add the eggs and beat until well mixed. Add the plain flour and baking powder plus the buttermilk, and gently mix until just incorporated.

Place the tin in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the cakes are cooked and golden on top.

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

In a bowl, mix together the icing sugar, rosewater, lime juice and pink food colouring and beat well. If the icing is too soft, or runny, then add more icing sugar to get the desired consistency.

However you don’t want the icing too thick, as this is more of a glaze than an icing. You want the beautiful rose shapes of the molds to be visible!

Drizzle over the little rose cakes, serve as is for afternoon tea, or with a dollop of cream as a dessert.

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