Sunday, December 21, 2014

Maple Cinnamon Spiced Nuts

A fast and tasty treat for Christmas party nibbles is this recipe from Table for Two for Maple Cinnamon Spiced Nuts.

I Googled relentlessly to find a recipe for spiced nuts that was spicy but not too hot, as last year, comments were passed on the heat in my spiced nuts, which took some by surprise.

As it happened, these fit the bill, and the recipients of my gift parcels declared these nuts good.

This is a recipe I'd definitely use again.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Hazelnut meringue cookies (Haselnussmakronen)

My friend Craig is allergic to gluten and dairy, so for his Christmas gift this year, I baked him a batch of traditional German cookies called Haselnussmakronen, or hazelnut meringue cookies.  The recipe for these cookies is online here.

I actually forgot to toast the hazelnuts, but I don't think that it mattered.  The cookies turn out quite dry and crisp, so would be good for dunking in tea or coffee.

While I prefer buttery cookies, these make a nice change and are perfect if you are gluten or dairy intolerant.

Friday, December 19, 2014

FFWD - Orange & Olive Salad

French Friday with Dorie this week has an unusual offering - Orange & Olive Salad.  This is pretty much what it says on the tin - oranges, olives, red onion, olive oil, salt and pepper.

I didn't really like this much - the salty flavours did not go with the orange on my palate, but other people enjoyed it, so there you go.

To see what the other Doristas made of this dish, visit the LYL section of the website.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Junior's New York Cheesecake for Vlad's Birthday

Tuesday was my colleague Vlad's birthday. Vlad's favourite type of cake is cheesecake, which he makes known several times a year by asking when I am going to make cheesecake.  Accordingly, cheesecake is what I made.

The recipe I used was  Junior's New York Cheesecake, as published on the Epicurious website. I had wanted to make this cheesecake for ages - ever since I saw a travel article naming the author's top 5 New York cheesecakes. Junior's cheesecake was declared the best by the author, and from my research, he is not alone in that view.

This cheesecake was quite straightforward to make. I used the 9" crust with the 8" filling and was glad I did - the 9" pan was full to the brim once the cheesecake baked up in the oven.

I really liked the ultra-light, barely there sponge crust. I do like some form of crust on my cheesecake as a vehicle for the filling, and this sponge crust is perfect. I also enjoyed the light fluffy filling which the recipe authors aptly described as being like billowing clouds.

I wrote on the cheesecake with piped caramel filling.

I received heaps of compliments on this cheesecake at work - a sure sign it was better than average because people often say nothing about my baking because I do it so often.
Two people even asked for the recipe.

If you are a cheesecake lover, I highly recommend that you give Junior's recipe a go.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

WWDH - Asian Greens with Oyster Sauce

For Wednesday with Donna Hay this week, I chose Asian Greens with Oyster Sauce from p82 of Modern Classics Book I.  The sauce recipe is online here.

This is a simple dish of two bunches of Asian greens that have been steamed, then topped with an Asian flavoured sauce including rice wine, soy sauce, ginger and garlic.

I found that this dish took a long time and a lot of fussing for something so simple, but it tasted good.  However, in the future, I'll stick with the faster stir-fry method.

To see what Margaret, Chaya and Sarah thought of this dish, visit their websites.

Friday, December 12, 2014

FFWD - Lamb & Dried Apricot Tagine

For FFWD this week, our recipe was Lamb & Dried Apricot Tagine.  Now this is my kind of dish!    I love the fruit and meat combination, and the sauce was delightful.

I served my tagine with cous cous:

If you love a good stew, the recipe is online here.

To see what the other Doristas thought of this dish, visit the LYL section of the FFWD website and inhale the aroma.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Margaret Fulton's Rich Christmas Pudding

It's scarily close to Christmas now.  I hope that your preparations are going well for the big day.  Back in October, I commenced my Christmas preparations by making a Christmas cake and a Christmas pudding.  For this year's pudding, I chose Margaret Fulton's Rich Christmas Pudding from Margaret Fulton Christmas.  You can also find the recipe online here

Christmas pudding is my favourite part of the Christmas day meal.  We always have it with lashings of warm custard and vanilla icecream.  No matter how full I am from the main meal, there is always room for Christmas pudding.

I liked this pudding recipe because it didn't require heaps of expensive glace fruits - just sultanas, currants, raisins and mixed peel. It also turned out really well, even though I only had time to steam it for 5 hours instead of 6.

I will shortly be slicing up my pudding for Christmas gift boxes.  I am hoping that there is some left over for me to try!