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Category Archives: Slow Cooked Food

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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Middle Eastern Rosewater and Yoghurt Cakes

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A fabulously easy recipe which makes lovely little Bundt cakes or one large one.

I was first introduced to this recipe in a few years back,  when a director colleague made them to celebrate her production of the Tales of the Arabian Nights.

The link to the original recipe from the taste website is here.

I can testify as to how easy they really are! I have recently broken my wrist, and I was able to make these cakes one-handed, that’s how easy they are! The original recipe doesn’t specify a food processor, but I made mine in a food processor to simplify the recipe, and the result was perfectly fine.

The recipe makes one large Bundt cake or 8 smaller Bundt cakes; you would get 10 -12 cup cakes from the recipe too.

Ingredients
1 cup (250ml) canola oil
1 1/2 cups (330g) caster sugar
2 eggs
1 cup (280g) natural yoghurt
2 cups (300g) self-raising flour, sifted
2 tbs rosewater
1 cup (150g) icing sugar, sifted
1-2 drops pink food colouring
Sugared rose petals for decoration or a little icing sugar

Method
Preheat oven to 170 degrees C fan forced. Grease and flour eight 1-cup (250ml) Bundt moulds or one large Bundt mould.

Place the oil, caster sugar and eggs in a bowl. Using electric beaters, beat until well combined. Stir in yoghurt, followed by flour, then stir in half the rosewater.
Put the mixture into the mould/s.

Bake for 30-35 minutes for the smaller cakes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. For the larger cake, you will need 10 minutes longer. Check with a skewer for “doneness” after 35 minutes.

Cool slightly in moulds, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

For icing, place icing sugar in a bowl with remaining rosewater and colouring. Use a wooden spoon to gradually stir in enough warm water (about 2-3 tsp), to make a smooth, flowing icing.

Turn out cooled cake/s, then drizzle with icing and decorate with sugared rose petals and fresh flowers. Or just dust with a little icing sugar.

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Simple Quince Tart

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This is a really easy tart. Some short crust pastry blind baked in a flan dish and some wonderful baked quinces layered in the pastry. Serve with cream. Bliss.

A few weeks ago I had a wonderful dinner with friends. Slow cooked lamb followed by tarte tatin made with quinces, which were redolent with heady spices. Cooked overnight, the quinces were a beautiful deep ruby red colour, and the cooking liquid had become quince jelly.

To me, baked quinces are the epitome of gorgeous winter comfort food!

My tart was not so elaborate as the tarte tatin but easy to knock up on a winter weekend afternoon, and quite delicious. This is a small flan just enough for 3 or 4 people.

Baked Quinces

Ingredients
50g butter
2 quinces
120g caster sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

Method
Preheat oven to 150 degrees C. Peel the quinces, halve lengthways and remove cores. Cut in quarters or slices. Melt butter in a heavy oven proof baking dish. Roll the quinces in the melted butter. Scatter over sugar and squeeze the lemon juice over the quince pieces.

Cover tightly with a doubled sheet of foil. Bake the quinces for 2-3 hours, basting a few times through the process, until the quinces are soft and a ruby red colour. Remove from the dish to cool.

Short Crust Pastry*

Ingredients
100g chilled unsalted butter
125g plain flour
75g sour cream

Method
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C, 170 degrees C fan forced. Pulse the butter and flour in a food processor until it looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Add the sour cream and continue to pulse until the dough starts to incorporate into a ball. Remove from the processor and shape pastry into a ball. Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
 Roll the pastry out to 3mm thick and place in a well greased flan dish or mold, about 18cm or 7 inches in diameter. Any small mold will do.

Rest for 15 minutes in the fridge. This will help reduce shrinkage when cooking. Remove from the fridge, place some pie weights or rice on the baking paper inside the tart, and bake blind in the pre-heated oven for 10-15 minutes. Remove the weights or rice and the baking paper.

To assemble

When cool, place slices of baked quince as elegantly or as rustically as you please in the flan. Serve as is or with cream or creme fraiche.

*This makes enough for a small flan. Doubling the quantities will give you a large pastry shell. You would need 4-5  baked quinces to fill a larger flan.

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Winter Pasties Revisited

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I made these pasties in 2014, and with winter almost upon us in Sydney, I am revisiting the recipes to get some inspiration for more winter cooking.

Beef, Tomato and Pedro Ximinez Pasties

The filling was some slow cooked beef cheeks, cooked in Pedro Ximinez sherry. I added in a chopped fresh tomato and and handful of chopped sundried tomatoes. I reduced the tomatoes with the cooked beef until the mixture was thick enough to be used a pastie filling.

Recipe for the beef cheeks follows.

For a dozen pasties, you would need about 1/3 of the recipe quantity. The rest is great served with mashed potato or pasta, root vegetables or green salad.

Ingredients

Beef Filling

1.5 kg  beef cheeks
125 ml  olive oil
3 carrots, roughly chopped
1 garlic bulb, halved
1 brown onion, sliced
500 ml  Pedro Ximenez sherry or a port or Madeira
500 ml  red wine
3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Pastry

3 sheets bought (butter) puff pastry

Method

Preheat the oven to 140 degrees C.

Trim the beef cheeks to neaten them up and remove any sinew and silver skin. Season well.

Heat half the olive oil in a large heavy-based baking dish over high heat. Brown the beef cheeks for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden, then remove from the pan.

Add the remaining olive oil, then add the carrot, garlic and onion and sauté over high heat for 12-15 minutes, or until well browned. Stir in the sherry, wine, bay leaves, thyme, sea salt and 500 ml water.

Reduce the heat and add the beef cheeks.  Cover and place in the oven to cook for 3-4 hours, or until the cheeks are beginning to fall apart.

The sauce from the beef cheeks should by now be reduced and glaze-like. If it needs further reducing, remove the cheeks from the baking dish, cover with foil to keep them warm and simmer the sauce over high heat on the stove top until nicely reduced.

Increase the oven to 190 degrees C. Take 3 puff pastry sheets, and using a plate as a template, cut out 12  20cm circles; you may have to gather up the trimmings and re-roll them to get all your circles. Don’t worry if you don’t get 12; just get as many as you can from the pastry sheets.

Spoon the stew on to one half of each circle. Brush the pastry edges with water, fold the other half of the pastry over the filling to form a half-moon shape and crimp well to seal.

Place the pasties on a lightly oiled baking sheet and brush the tops with beaten egg. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20-25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown.

Eat pasties warm or cold.


Sundried Tomato and Persian Feta Pasties

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.

Simply chopped sundried tomatoes and crumble some Persian soft feta. Add a sprinkling of fresh herbs like coriander or thyme to taste.

The quantities are up to you – I used 6 sundried tomatoes and 3 small pieces of feta to make 2 large pasties from 1 pastry sheet.

Prepare 3 puff pastry sheets as in previous recipe.

Spoon the filling on to one half of each circle. Brush the pastry edges with water, fold the other half of the pastry over the filling to form a half-moon shape and crimp to seal. These pasties may open during cooking, but as the filling isn’t liquid, they stay intact.

Place the pasties on a lightly oiled baking sheet and brush the tops with beaten egg. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20-25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown.

These ones are best eaten cold.

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Jamie Oliver’s Mexican Chilli

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I first cooked this delicious, simple and cost-saving recipe from Jamie Oliver in 2014. The recipe has certainly been popular on my blog! I guess everyone is looking for hearty, slow cooked casseroles and stews that can be quietly cooking away for a few hours. The original post can be found here.

The recipe comes from Jamie’s book Save with Jamie. I absolutely love it because it’s cooked with beef shin, bone in! Beef shin is so rich in flavour and gets better and better the longer you cook it.

The recipe needs to be cooked for a long time – 5 hours – and you end up with a lovely, unctous stew with plenty of liquid. The meat just falls apart, it is so tender.

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So here is Jamie’s recipe.IMG_8801

Ingredients

Chilli

Olive oil

2 red onions

4 cloves of garlic

2 fresh red chillies ( the large, not so hot ones – or more if you want more heat)

30 g fresh coriander

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 x 400 g tins of chopped tomatoes

2 tomato tins of water

1 kg beef shin, bone in, sinew removed

2 fresh bay leaves

1 x 400 g tin of cannellini beans

Rock salt and freshly ground pepper.

Fluffy basmati rice and yoghurt or sour cream to serve

Method

Preheat your oven to 170 degrees C.

Heat a large heavy bottomed casserole on the stove top on a medium heat. Add swig of olive oil to the pan. Add chopped red onions and minced garlic and fry for a couple of minutes. Add chopped chillis and the roots and stalks of the coriander, leaving the tops for the garnish. Add the spices and a good grind of salt and pepper. Fry till the mixture is caramelized and gnarly, but not burnt.

Pour in the chopped tomatoes, fill each tin with water and add these to the casserole. Stir to mix, making sure you gather up all the goodness at the bottom of the casserole.

Roll the shin of beef in salt and pepper to coat, then place gently in the centre of the casserole. Turn to coat in the liquid. Pop the bay leaves into the mixture.

Place the lid on the casserole and move to the pre-heated oven. Cook for 5 hours. I suggest checking after a couple of hours, and then each hour, to make sure the liquid is not drying up. Top up with water, to loosen if needed.

20 minutes before the end, drain the tin of cannellini beans and stir through. Add a splash of the bean juices if the chilli looks dry.

When the meat is falling apart and the chilli is thick, shake the marrow out of the bone and stir it back into the chilli.

Serve the Mexican chilli with fluffy rice and yoghurt or sour cream, and coriander leaves to garnish.

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Slow Cooked Food and Cast Iron Ware

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A friend recently married, has acquired the Rolls Royce of slow cooking cast iron ware, Le Creuset.

http://www.lecreuset.com.au/Resources1/product/Material/Cast-Iron/

These wonderful cast iron cooking utensils have been hand made in France since 1925. I own several Le Creuset casseroles and baking dishes, as well as a grill pan and some ceramic dishes.

I also own some cast iron ware in other  brands, but Le Creuset is definitely the “top”.

If you are interested in long slow cooking, cast iron ware is the only way to go.

Here, for the benefit of my newly married friend, and as requested, are the links to some slow cooked food in cast iron ware, including that other wonderful cooking device, the tagine.

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2014/04/08/jamie-olivers-shin-stew/

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2014/08/23/jamie-olivers-mexican-chilli/

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2014/05/03/slow-cooked-beef-cheeks-in-pedro-ximinez-movida-recipe/

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/10/27/moroccan-chicken-tagine-with-dates-apricots-and-couscous/

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/05/09/tagine-of-lamb-shoulder-with-apricots-and-raisins-pomegranate-couscous-and-avocado-salad/

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/06/09/winter-pies-beef-and-red-wine-pasties-ham-leek-and-mushroom-baby-pies/ The recipe for beef pies includes a slow cooked beef and red wine filling.

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Save with Jamie: Mexican Chilli Beef

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*For an updated version of this dish please see my 2015 post.

This is a great recipe for lovers of slow cooked food! it’s from Jamie Oliver’s book Save with Jamie:

http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/category/books/save-with-jamie

It’s a Mexican chilli dish made with slow cooked shin of beef rather than minced steak.

I’m a HUGE fan of shin beef, and cook with this cut regularly. It’s perfect for casseroles and stews, any dish that needs long slow cooking.

In this recipe Jamie cooks the beef bone in, in one piece. This creates a real depth of flavour. At the end, when removing the bone, you scrape out the bone marrow into the dish for that extra burst of flavour.

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It’s a really easy dish to prepare – nothing complicated – but it takes time. 5 hours cooking. Perfect for a wet weekend when you are staying indoors anyway.

My comments are that I lowered Jamie’s original oven temperature of 170 degrees C to 150 degrees C. If you are cooking for 5 hours you want the temperature nice and low.

Also, my casserole was not as “liquidy” as Jamie’s. Next time I will add a little more water or some more tinned tomatoes to the mix, or cook for slightly less time.

Ingredients

Chilli

Olive oil

2 red onions

4 cloves of garlic

2 fresh red chillies ( the large, not so hot ones – or more if you want more heat)

30 g fresh coriander

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 x 400 g tins of chopped tomatoes

2 tomato tins of water

1 kg beef shin, bone in, sinew removed

2 fresh bay leaves

1 x 400 g tin of cannellini beans

Rock salt and freshly ground pepper.

Salsa

1 green pepper

4 spring onions

150 g cherry tomatoes

Splash of extra virgin olive oil

Splash of white wine vinegar

Fluffy basmati rice and fat free yoghurt (to serve)

 

Method

Preheat your oven to 150 degrees C.

Heat a large heavy bottomed casserole on the stove top on a medium heat. Add swig of olive oil to the pan. Add chopped red onions and minced garlic and fry for a couple of minutes. Add chopped chillis and the roots and stalks of the coriander, leaving the tops for the salsa and garnish. Add the spices and a good grind of salt and pepper. Fry till the mixture is caramelized and gnarly, but not burnt.

Pour in the chopped tomatoes, fill each tin with water and add these to the casserole. Stir to mix, making sure you gather up all the goodness at the bottom of the casserole.

Roll the shin of beef in salt and pepper to coat, then place gently in the centre of the casserole. Turn to coat in the liquid. Pop the bay leaves into the mixture.

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Place the lid on the casserole and move to the pre-heated oven. Cook for 5 hours. I suggest checking after a couple of hours, and then each hour, to make sure the liquid is not drying up. As I mentioned, my chilli could have done initially with more liquid, or half an hour’s less cooking time to retain more moisture.

Meanwhile, empty the tin of cannellini beans into a frying pan with a swig of olive oil, and fry for a couple of minutes until some of the beans split.

Remove the casserole from the oven, and add the cannellini beans.

To make the salsa,  blitz the green pepper, spring onions, cherry tomatoes and most of the coriander tops in a food processor. Put into a bowl with a splash of extra virgin olive oil and white wine vinegar.

Serve the Mexican chilli with the salsa, fluffy rice and yoghurt, and coriander leaves to garnish.

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