Tuesday, July 17, 2018

TWD - Cast-Iron Pan Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Cast-Iron Pan Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars. These bars comprise chocolate chips, coconut and dried apricots baked into a chewy dough in a cast iron pan.

These bars were not the prettiest thing I have baked this year, but they were tasty.  They were a surprise hit at work too, and I received a request for the recipe.  As well as being published in Dorie's Cookies, the recipe is online here

To see what everyone else baked this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Roasted Cauliflower Soup - Red Tractor July

This month's Red Tractor calendar recipe is Roasted Cauliflower Soup.  I will be honest and say that this recipe did not appeal to me.  I am not a huge soup fan to start with, and roasted cauliflower soup is not a flavour that is high on my desired list.  However, in the spirit of my project, I made the soup anyway.

The calendar quote for this month comes from  Anne of Green Gables:  

I am a big fan of Anne, and this statement reflects Anne's dauntless optimism.  In the middle of winter, now that I am older, I find it hard to muster up this kind of optimism, but it is an inspirational attitude to have.

Now for the soup.  It tasted better than I imagined, but it's still not something I would ever make again.  The potatoes and apples help to balance the cauliflower so that the soup doesn't smell like an old sock.

If roasted cauliflower soup is something that may float your boat, you can make it with the following ingredients:

1 cauliflower cut into florets
3 red apples, peeled, cored and quartered
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed 
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 finely chopped stalks of celery
2 large potatoes, finely chopped
6 cups boiling water
2 chicken stock cubes, crumbled
1/2 cup cream

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Toss the cauliflower, apple and garlic together with the olive oil in a large bowl. Transfer to a lined baking tray and bake for 30 minutes until soft and slightly browned.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter, then cook the onion and celery until soft.  Add the cauliflower, apples, garlic, potatoes, boiling water and stock cubes, bring to the  boil, then simmer for 20 minutes. 

Puree the ingredients in the saucepan with a stick blender, then stir in the cream and serve.


Friday, July 13, 2018

Sweet Cherry and Marzipan Buns

In The Guardian recently, Ruby Tandoh of GBBO fame published a recipe for Sweet Cherry Marzipan Buns.  “Cherry” and “marzipan” instantly had my attention and I wanted to make these buns.

The buns comprise a sweet bread dough that is shaped with a hollow, into which you pop a marzipan disk and cherry compote before baking. Fresh out of the oven, the buns are completed with a sweet glaze.

These buns were delish - like a cherry danish with bread instead of pastry. As Ruby says, if you have a lazy weekend afternoon to make them, then I highly recommend giving these tasty buns a go.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

TWD - Classic Fruit Tart

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is a classic - Classic Fruit Tart.  Who doesn't like custard topped with berries delivered on a pastry crust?

This dessert looks a million bucks but is, to quote Amazon, "easy az".  It is especially easy when you press the pastry into the tin to create the crust.  The pastry doesn't end up as thin or even as rolling it out, but it is much quicker and causes less drama. 

And this is the end result!  Who cares if the crust gets a bit thick in parts?  I just love the decadent combination of berries and fruit - so pretty, so delicious, and just right.  This is definitely one I'd make again.

To see what the other Dorie bakers made this week, visit the LYL section of the Tuesdays with Dorie website. 

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Sweet Potato, Mince and Pasta Bake

In my quest for the perfect lunch dish, I recently found a recipe for Sweet Potato and Mince Pasta Bake published in the Australian Women's Weekly featured in an advertisement for sweet potatoes.  I liked the sound of the ingredients, which included both meat and vegetables.

I made some changes to the recipe  that were mostly accidental.  I used fusilli rather than penne because that is what I found at my supermarket.  I left out the spinach because I forgot to buy it, and the pine nuts because I couldn't find them in my pantry cupboard.

I recommend using a food processor to grate the vegetables as this will save you a lot of time and grief. 

This is a really hearty, warming winter lunch, and I would happily make it again.  

If you think that you'd like to make this dish (my version), you will need:

  • 350g dried pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 500g beef mince
  • 400g sweet potato, peeled, coarsely grated
  • 1 small zucchini, coarsely grated
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 400g can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup  beef stock
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 100g ricotta
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese

Preheat your oven to 220°C.

Cook the pasta according to packet instructions.

Heat the oil in a frypan and cook  the onion and garlic until softened. Add the mince and cook until browned. Add the sweet potato and zucchini and cook until softened slightly.  

Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, stock and thyme, then simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes until thickened slightly.

Combine the pasta and the sweet potato mixture in a large ovenproof dish. Crumble over the ricotta, and sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden.

Remove from the oven and serve with a garden salad. 

Friday, July 6, 2018

Chocolate Licorice Loaf Cake

Are you a licorice lover? And if yes, do you like all kinds of licorice or just certain kinds? I like most licorice except the Dutch salted stuff, but funnily enough I hate all other black lollies, including black jelly beans.

In The Age recently, they published this recipe for Chocolate Licorice Loaf Cake.

This cake was absolutely delicious, and it even received a tick of approval from my Pilates instructor, who does not like licorice! Melting the licorice was kind of gross, as the result looked like melted down car tyres, but trust the recipe - it works. I used Darrell Lea soft black licorice to make the cake. My licorice didn’t not melt down completely and I think that’s OK. I actually liked the soft chunks of licorice that remained in the cake.

I didn’t bother without the caramel sauce or extra garnish of licorice on top of my cake - I think it was perfect as is. But by all means, if you prefer, you can go the full McCoy, like the recipe.

If you are a licorice lover (or even if you are not!), I highly recommend making this delicious cake.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

TWD - Pistachio Berry Slims

This week's Tuesday with Dorie (Dorie's Cookies) pick is the rather festive looking Pistachio-Berry Slims.  These cookies are pistachio macaroons topped with red jam and fresh raspberries (hence the red and green festive appearance):

If you don't like pistachios you will not like these cookies - there are only three ingredients in the base cookie (ground pistachios, sugar and egg whites), making the pistachio flavour quite strong.

The cookies are baked in a log before being cut into "slims" with a serrated knife:

The log is baked with a hollow in the middle for the jam and raspberries.  I used rosella and wild plum jam rather than raspberry jam because I already had it open and it fits the "red jam" bill.

I liked these cookies without being rapt with the flavour.  I do like the fact that they were super simple and quick to make - if you have guests coming in a couple of hours you can whip up a batch of these and have them on the table by the time they arrive.  (There is an hour's chilling time that you need to build in.)

To see what the other bakers made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website