Advertisements
RSS Feed

Category Archives: Jams, Marmalades, Conserves and Chutneys

Croissants for Breakfast!


I make croissants maybe a couple of times year. Not that often, as it’s an 18 hour process with so much proving to happen.

A while back I made croissants to take away to Bundanoon, in the beautiful Southern Highlands in NSW. We were staying at the lovely “Fulford Folly”, an idyllic  country retreat with the added bonus of the company of two mini donkeys! We had a great break, and home made croissants on the verandah for breakfast seemed appropriate.

In previous posts I talk about my experimenting with enriched dough recipes, coming up with a recipe that works for both croissants and Danish pastries. So here is the recipe again, with photos of our breakfast. I served the croissants with lashings of cultured butter and my Plum, Raisin and Walnut Jam, the recipe is here if you’re interested.

Ingredients

450g strong flour
40g caster sugar
10g salt
10g instant yeast
10g unsalted butter, chilled
300mls full fat milk
250g unsalted high quality butter, chilled
1 free-range egg

Method

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the flour, sugar, salt and test until combined, rubbing the salt and yeast in at opposite sides of the bowl. Roughly rub in the 10g butter until crumb-like, then add the milk and form into a dough.

Mix the dough on a slow speed for 2 minutes, then on a medium speed for 6 minutes, until it has become smooth and doesn’t break when stretched. Place in a large plastic zip lock bag and refrigerate for at least an hour  but preferably overnight.

Once the dough has rested, take the additional butter and place it between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper or cling film. Using a rolling pin, bash the butter until it flattens into a square, roughly 30cm x 20 cm. Return the butter to the fridge and remove the dough.

Roll out the dough on floured surface until it is a rectangle, about 50cm x 20cm. Lay the butter on the dough so that it covers the bottom two-thirds of it. Make sure that it is positioned neatly and comes almost to the edges.

Fold the exposed dough at the top down one-third of the butter. Now gently cut off the exposed bit of butter, without going through the dough, and put it on the top of the dough you have just folded down. Fold the bottom half of the dough up. You will now have a sandwich of two layers of butter and three of dough. Pinch the edges lightly to seal in the butter. Put the dough back in the plastic bag and chill for an hour to harden butter.

Gently roll the dough out into a new rectangle about three to four times as long as it is wide. Gently take both ends and fold them over towards each other, so that they meet in the middle (your rectangle should now be half as long as it was). Then, fold the new shape in half again, closing it like a book. Place in the ziplock bag,  and refrigerate for at least half an hour.

Carefully, repeat the instructions in the last paragraph twice more, so that the dough has been folded and rested three times altogether.

The dough now needs to be left in the fridge for 8 hours, or overnight, to rest and rise slightly. It is then ready to use.

Line 2 or 3 baking trays with baking paper.

Put the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out to a rectangle, about 40cm long and 30cm wide. Trim the edges to neaten them.

Cut the rectangle lengthways into 2 strips, then cut triangles along the length of each strip, about 12cm wide at the base and about 15cm high. You could use the first triangle as template for the rest, but I find it easier just to measure and cut each one. Hopefully you will get 6 triangles from each strip, but I don’t think it matters if you get one more or one less!

Hold down the wide base of the triangle and gently tug the opposite thin end to cause a slight tension in the dough. This helps with getting a tight roll. Starting at the wide end of the triangle, roll up into a croissant shape. Repeat with each triangle. Keep the ends of the croissants straight, apparently this is more authentic.

Put the croissants onto the baking trays, leaving space in between each of them to expand. Put each tray inside a clean plastic bag (I have some really large clear plastic bags I saved from a delivery or purchase)

Leave the croissants to rise at room temperature until  doubled in size. This should take about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.

Whisk the egg with a pinch of salt to make an egg wash and brush the top and sides of the croissants with the eggwash. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool on a wire rack. Of  course you can eat them  warm, but they do freeze well, so if you’re going to freeze them, do it as soon as they have cooled slightly.

Advertisements

Grapefruit Marmalade

B8ED4FE6-B6DF-4FA2-8E04-B13DE13D9811

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.

B1BEE8A0-2467-4B08-95DB-5931336718B1

Easter Rocky Road!

03958809-DA78-4CB5-9B41-882F392BACBE

This post is a bit of fun for Easter. I wanted to make a chocolatey creation as a change from traditional Easter eggs.

Rocky Road is always great if you want to throw a few delicious ingredients into some melted chocolate – nuts, marshmallows, glacé fruit all work well.

My Easter Rocky Road is pretty simple –  you can add pretty much what you feel like at the time!

Here’s what I did.

Easter Rocky Road 

Melt a 200g block of dark chocolate and a 200g block + half a block of white chocolate. Pour into a tin lined with foil, dark on one side and white on the other. Leave a little of each chocolate for splattering.

Using a skewer, run some pink food colouring through the white chocolate.

Place as many as you like of the following in the melted chocolate – pink and white marshmallows, Smarties or M and Ms, mini Easter eggs.

I scattered some freeze-dried raspberry powder over the Rocky Road too.

Splatter or drizzle the left-over dark chocolate on the white side and the white chocolate on the dark side.

That’s about it! Have fun and be creative!

ED4647E1-60DB-492D-9C71-51C239CB2C5B

25A79F34-9DE3-481A-BDD0-69505AC911A7

 

Very Berry Eton Mess

Strawberries, cream and meringue – summer on a plate.

In late September in Sydney we are experiencing 30 degeee days and lots of sunshine. It feels more like summer than spring! This is a happy time when the climate of the two hemispheres is somewhat aligned. Late summer in the north meets early summer here.

So let’s celebrate strawberries in all their glory! Here’s an Eton Mess, more procedure than recipe. My version has a mixture of cream and mascarpone, a pink meringue, some strawberry goo (strawberries cooked with a little sugar until gooey) and strawberry powder sprinkled on top, the latter a serendipitous find at @TheSourceBulkFoodsBalmain, my local providore for nuts, grains, dried fruit etc.

Here is the procedure. I am not giving quantities – just use your judgement as to how much you want of each ingredient.

Ingredredients

Strawberries

Cream

Mascarpone

Crushed meringue

Strawberry fruit goo* (you could just as easily use strawberry jam)

Strawberry powder

Method 

Layer individual glass dishes or one large trifle bowl with  hulled fresh strawberries, cut in half if large, or left whole if small.  Add cream to some mascarpone until the consistency of whipped cream – add a little cream at a time so you can find the “right” consistency.

Pile spoonfuls of the cream mixture onto the strawberries, then sprinkle over some crushed meringue. Add a little of the strawberry fruit goo.  Add more spoonfuls of cream, strawberries and larger meringue pieces.

To finsh, sprinkle over some strawberry powder.

So there it is – Eton Mess with a very berry theme!

*Strawberry fruit goo – cook 250g of very ripe strawberries with 50g sugar in a pan over a medium heat, stirring the mixture until the sugar dissolves, mushing the strawberries a little. Cook until the mixture has reduced and you have a sticky jam like consistency.

 

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.

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

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.

Save

Save

Save

Fig and Frangipane Muffins

 

 

Here’s another muffin recipe – I’m always experimenting with ingredients and tweaking recipes to create new taste and texture sensations.

Figs are plentiful in early autumn in Sydney, and a colleague brought me some beautiful bounty from the Southern Highlands from her very own fig tree. Lucky Ms L to have a tree bearing such luscious treats!

This recipe is based on one from Mike McKenearney’s “Kitchen by Mike” see here for details – with a bit of method thrown in from Matt Stone’s Greenhouse Muffins and my own flavour combo of fresh figs, stem ginger and frangipane.

Ingredients

150g plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Pinch of sea salt

80g butter, softened

65ml vegetable oil

150g caster sugar

2 free-range eggs

75ml buttermilk (or ordinary milk with a good squeeze of lemon juice added)

6 fresh figs

6 pieces stem ginger, finely chopped

1/2 quantity of frangipane

A couple of teaspoonfuls of a good jam – apricot works well

Handful of flaked almonds, toasted

Frangipane

100g unsalted butter

100g caster sugar

1 free-range egg

Method

These quantities make 6 big muffins. You could probably get 8 or so daintier muffins from the mixture.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line a six-hole muffin tin with baking paper or paper cases.

In an electric mixer, whisk the butter, oil and sugar until smooth, and the sugar has dissolved. The mixture should look creamy.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Slowly add the buttermilk or lemon-soured milk.

Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into another bowl and then add  1/2 cup of the flour mixture and whisk on a low speeed until smooth. Be careful not to overmix and this will toughen the muffins.

Fold in the remaining flour mixture, again being careful not to overmix.

Chop 4 of the figs into quarters and then half each quarter. Carefully fold the chopped figs and the chopped stem ginger into the muffin mixture and then spoon evenly into the baking papers or muffin cases.

To make the frangipane, cream the butter and caster sugar in a food processor, add the egg and ground almonds and process until smooth. (You will only need 1/2 this quantity, if that).

Mix a good teaspoonful of the frangipane into each muffin. It doesn’t matter if it’s not mixed in too well – it’s nice to have an almond surprise in the centre of the muffin!

Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool in the muffin tin for 10 minutes, then transfer the muffins to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

When the muffins are cool, brush the top of each muffin with jam, then sprinkle on some toasted flaked almonds.

I decorated with slices of the remaining 2 figs. It would be nice too, to bake some fig slices on the top of the muffins. My track record of having baked fruit pieces stay on top of muffins and cakes is not good! They always sink. So I content myself with decorating the baked goods with fresh fruit.

Serve on their own or maybe with a spoonful of Greek yoghurt.

 

%d bloggers like this: