Friday, December 9, 2016

Stollen for The Melbourne Cake Club - Traditions

This month's Melbourne Cake Club theme is Traditions, for the festive season.  Apart from Christmas Cake and Plum Pudding, there are no cake traditions in my family for Christmas.  For that reason, I went for what may have been a tradition for my Prussian and German ancestors - Stollen.  Stollen is a yeasted cake filled with dried fruits and marzipan, and which is glazed or dusted with icing sugar as the finishing touch.

The recipe for my Stollen came from Eat the Globe - you can find it here.  I used raisins, cranberries, glace cherries and dried apricots in my Stollen.  Here it is before glazing:

There is a marzipan log encased in the centre of the Stollen, which adds both moisture and flavour.

I decorated my Stollen with water icing, chopped pistachios and cranberries (red and green for Christmas):

The wee Christmas decoration posing with my Stollen came from the Scandanavian Christmas Bazaar that I attended on the weekend.

Here's a peek inside my Stollen - you can clearly see the marzipan in the middle:

Unfortunately I could not attend Cake Club this month because, after I made the Stollen, I ended up in the emergency department of the hospital and had to have a surgical procedure.  This ended all of my plans for what was to be a busy week, but I am grateful that they worked out what was wrong with me and it has been fixed.

What are your Christmas food traditions?   Have you ever made or tasted Stollen?

Thursday, December 8, 2016

EwE - No-Bake Lemon Bars - When Life Gives You Lemons ...

I chose this week's Eating with Ellie theme of "When life gives you lemons ...".  I certainly feel that life has given me quite a few lemons of late, so the theme is appropriate. 

I chose to make Ellie's No-Bake Lemon Bars, from So Easy.  You can also find the recipe here under a different moniker. 

These are just brilliant - all the luxury if cheesecake with fewer calories.  I didn't use the pasteurized egg product - I don't even know what that is.  I just used a little more lemon juice to bind it together, which worked fine.  I found the base to be a little crumbly, but I notice that in the photo, Ellie's base looks crumbly too.  I guess that is how it is meant to be, but if you want a firmer base, use a little more butter.

To see what everyone else made this week, visit the LYL section of the EwE website

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Decorated Gingerbread

It's Christmas box time again, and preparations have been accelerated this year so that I can be ready as I see people.

The first item out of the box is decorated gingerbread.  I used Bake at 350's gingerbread recipe, which is deep, dark and spicy:

To decorate the gingerbread, I cut out corresponding shapes in red rolled fondant that I had stencilled using royal icing with hearts, and I pasted the fondant to the biscuit with a light brush of water.

It is simple but effective to do, but after 36 cookies, I had had enough.

Stay tuned for more Christmas goodies.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

EwE - Lamb and Feta Pita Pizza - Pizza Night

This week, Margaret chose the theme of Pizza Night for Eating with Ellie.

I made Ellie's Lamb and Feta Pita Pizzas.  These comprise lamb mince, pinenuts, tomatoes and onion atop a wholemeal pita base.  They were quite delicious!

To see what the others made this week, visit the LYL section of the EwE website. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Thai Style Beef and Vegetable Stir Fry

I recently made a very good Thai Style Beef and Vegetable Stir Fry from this recipe on Well Nourished.  The original recipe is vegetarian, but the author discusses adding meat to it.

The sauce is really quite good, but I did find it a tad garlicky.  next time, I'd ramp down the garlic.

The great thing is that even though you have to take the time to make the sauce, it makes enough for two stir fries.  This means that you can put the leftovers into the freezer for another day - fabulous!  I like recipes where the hard work pays off like that.

If you like stir fry and you enjoy Asian flavours, this healthy recipe is worth trying out. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Abbey of the Roses, Warwick, Queensland

A few weeks ago, my family went to Abbey of the Roses in Warwick for  morning tea and a tour.

The Abbey of the Roses was a former Sisters of  Mercy nunnery, and was built in 1891.  It was in the hands of  the nuns until the late 1980s, when it was sold, and has gone through several iteration in that time.  Its current owners bought the Abbey and restored it to its former glory as far as possible, although previous owners had irreversibly destroyed certain aspects of the interior.

The Abbey is huge, so its owners run it as accommodation, a wedding venue and conduct tours to help pay for its upkeep.

My mother booked us in to the morning tea, which comes with scones, jam and cream with tea or coffee.  This is a glimpse of the tea room, which used to be a school and dining room for the girls taught by the nuns:

Here is our table's tea tray, laden with scones:

Mmm, a half scone with jam and cream:

The resident cat came to check out my Mum:

then jumped onto the lap of the lady sitting next to me - clearly, it's a shy cat:

After morning tea, the owner of the Abbey takes you on a tour of the downstairs areas (not the upstairs accommodation), with patter about the history of the Abbey and the renovations along the way:

This is the restored chapel, one of my favourite parts of the Abbey:

Look at the gorgeous stained glass windows, which were made in Germany and shipped to Australia in treacle for protection:

There are also extensive gardens surrounding the Abbey that you can walk through after the tour - this large pepper tree is one of the most striking features:

If you happen to be on the Darling Downs in your travels, it is worth making a visit to the Abbey of the Roses - but do remember to book (you can't walk in).

8 Locke Street
Cnr Dragon
Warwick QLD Australia
Ph: (61) 7 4661 9777

Friday, November 25, 2016

Chili Con Carne Sausage Rolls

For our Movember morning tea last week, I also made Beef and Bean Sausage Rolls from the Bourke St Bakery Cookbook.  These sausage rolls are inspired by chili con carne.

I was glad I made these, as they were the sole savoury offering on our morning tea menu, and they went quickly.  If I say so myself, they were delicious.  It also used up the puff pastry living in my freezer, taking up precious space. 

The recipe for these sausage rolls is as follows:

1/2 of a 400g tin red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
20ml olive oil
3 chopped garlic cloves
2 small red chillies, deseeded and  finely chopped
1 chopped brown onion
500g beef mince
30g dry breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste
3 sheets store-bought ready-rolled puff pastry

1 egg
1/2 cup milk
chilli flakes, for sprinkling

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius.

Heat the oil in a pan and add the onions, chillies and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the kidney beans stir together for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Put the bean mixture in a large mixing bowl and add the beef, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix for 3 minutes to thoroughly combine.

Make an egg wash by whisking together the egg, milk and a pinch of salt. 

Take a pastry sheet and cut it in half so that you have two long rectangles.

Divide the beef mixture into six even-sized portions. On a clean work surface, roll each portion out into a log. Place each log in the centre of a pastry sheet and brush one long edge with egg wash. Firmly fold the pastry over, pressing to enclose, leaving the ends open. Cut each roll into 3-4 pieces and place on baking trays lined with baking paper. Brush the top of each roll with egg wash and sprinkle with chilli flakes. Bake for 35-40 mins, or until they are golden brown.