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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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Sweet Cherry Yorkshire Puddings

 

I love making and eating Yorkshire puddings. They’re great hot served with roast beef or other things. I sometimes make Jamie Oliver’s Baby Yorkshire puds with smoked trout and horseradish pate (see here for recipe).

As readers of the blog will know, I’m fond of anything sweet, so a couple of weeks ago I created a great breakfast or brunch recipe, basically sweet Yorkshire puddings filled with cherries. They worked a treat, and were delicious warm from the oven and also at room temperature. I served them with Greek yoghurt and more cherries.

Ingredients

Extra light olive oil
3 large free-range eggs
115 grams plain flour
A pinch of salt
1 tbls caster sugar
285 mls milk
1 cup frozen cherries

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Pour a small amount of oil into a 12 cup muffin tin, so you have a thin layer covering the bottom of each muffin mold. Put the tin onto the top shelf in the hot oven for around 10 minutes so the oil gets really hot.

Beat eggs, flour, salt, caster sugar and milk together, either by hand or in a food processor, until light and smooth.  You can make this ahead of time  – the mixture actually improves in the fridge.

When you are ready to bake the puddings, stir the cherries through the batter.  You mightn’t get 12  – it’s more important to really fill up some of the molds full than fill all of them.

Carefully take the tin out of the hot oven and quickly and confidently pour the batter into the hot muffin tin, filling each mold reasonably full. Return the tin to the top shelf of the oven to cook for around 10 to 12 minutes, or until the puddings have risen and are a golden brown. But don’t open the oven door, otherwise your puddings will deflate!

Once cooked, remove from the oven. Carefully slide out of the molds. Eat warm or at room temperature. When you break open the muffins you will get a lovely cherry ooze.

Serve with yoghurt or creme fraiche,  honey or cinnamon sugar and more cherries. A delicious take on the traditional Yorkshire pudding.

 

 

 

 

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Treacle Glazed Barbecue Steak

I saw this recipe on James Martin’s entertaining new series James Martin’s French Adventure. I acquired the book to go with the series, see here for a link. It’s a tasty take on the traditional barbecue steak, with a sticky treacle glaze.

I cooked with sirloin, a cut I think barbecues well. Any large thick steak would do, thick enough to cut into decent slices once cooked.

The quantities in my recipe are for 2; James’ original recipe is for 4.

Easy to cook, easy to eat!

Ingredients

1/2 baguette

50ml olive oil

1 half of a cut garlic bulb

2 large steaks (sirloin, rib eye, scotch fillet, all work well)

1 tbsp black treacle

A few thyme leaves

A splash of Worcestershire sauce

A couple of drops of Tabasco

2 spring onions

Mixed salad greens to serve

Method

Preheat a barbecue or cast iron grill pan on the stove top, till very hot.

Slice the baguette lengthways, then cut in half crossways. Drizzle with a little of the oil and char both sides on the barbecue or grill pan.  Remove and rub the cut surface of the garlic over the cut side of the baguette. Cover loosely with foil to keep the baguette pieces warm while you cook the steaks.

Pour the remaining oil into a bowl, add the black treacle, thyme and Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces, and mix together.

Cook the steaks on the barbecue or grill pan for about 4 minutes, then baste with the treacle mix and cook for 2 more minutes. Carefully turn the steaks, spoon over some more treacle, leaving a little for drizzling once the the dish is served. Cook for a further 4 minutes. Remove the steaks from the heat and leave to rest.

Cut the spring onions into 2 or 4 pieces lengthways, depending on the size of the onions.  Place on the barbecue or grill pan and cook for 3–4 minutes, turning halfway through.

Place the baguette pieces on a serving platter. I used the grill pan to serve once it had cooled down. Slice the steaks thickly, and put on top of the baguette pieces. Scatter the salad greens and spring onions on the platter. Finish with a drizzle or two of the treacle sauce to serve.

 

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Lime Friands

“A Friand is a small almond cake, popular in Australia and New Zealand, closely related to the French financier. The principal ingredients are almond flour, egg whites, butter, and powdered sugar.” (Wikipedia)

Everyone makes friands these days, so it seems, and why not? They are actually easier to make than cupcakes, as you can make them without the aid of a mixer or food processor.

I hadn’t made any in ages, but was inspired to try my hand at them again when I  was in receipt of some beautiful limes from the bountiful tree of a work colleague.

I mixed lime juice and grated lime zest in the batter, and topped the friands with a little lime glaze made with lime juice and icing sugar.

Delicious and super quick to make!

Ingredients

6 egg whites, beaten lightly

75g plain flour

240g icing sugar, sifted

125g almond meal

150g melted butter, cooled

Juice and grated zest of 2 limes

10 tablespoons icing sugar

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 juice and zest of one of the limes.

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.

To make the glaze, mix the juice of the other lime 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.

 

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Sugar Shortbread Cookies

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I love cookies and make a load of them every other week. There are always small – and big children – in my world who need feeding with…cookies of course!

I have been experimenting with a Mary Berry recipe for biscuits that I found online.  See here for Mary’s recipe. It’s actually a basic shortbread recipe, ie butter, flour, sugar (no egg) with some add ons. I’ve made my own version, as outlined below.

Ingredients
175g butter, softened
100g raw sugar
75g sweetened condensed milk
175g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
75g semolina
2 tablespoons raw sugar, for rolling
50g milk chocolate chips

Method
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C or 160 degrees C fan forced.

Line 1 large baking tray or 2 smaller trays  with baking paper.
I make the dough in a food processor, but you could make it in an electric mixer – but the food processor method is super easy.

Put the butter, sugar, condensed milk, flour and semolina into a food processor and  process until the ingredients come together into a soft dough. It’s better to process in a few bursts so that you can make sure you don’t over process.

Place the dough on a floured work surface. Bring the dough together into a ball, and then shape into long sausages about 5cm/2″ diameter for smaller cookies or 8cm/3″ diameter for larger cookies. You need to make two sausages as it’s easier to shape them if they are not too long.

Wrap the sausages in cling film. They will still be quite soft, so you can continue to shape in the cling film, tightening the sausage shape. At this point put in the fridge and rest for at least a couple of hours to make the dough easier to cut into discs. You can leave overnight and the dough freezes really  well too!

Remove from the fridge, umwrap, and with a sharp knife, cut into slices – the thickness is up to you. Roll each cookie on both sides in raw sugar, gently pressing the sugar into the dough. Place the cookies onto the baking sheet/sheets, with space in between. They do spread a little, but largely keep their shape.

Once on the trays, you can leave as is, or press  chocolate chips individually onto the top of each cookie. It sounds labour intensive but actually doesn’t take that long!

Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. If you cut your cookies quite thick they may take a couple of minutes  longer.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool for at least 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

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