Tuesday, January 30, 2018

TWD Rewind - Chunkers

For the TWD rewind this month, I have made Chunkers.  Both the name and the appearance of these cookies are a little unfortunate, but the taste is not - oh so good.

Chunkers are fat chocolate cookies packed with cashews, chocolate and dried cherries (or in my case, glace cherries).  I only made a half batch and still got 18 cookies. There is 600g of chocolate in a whole batch so you can understand why I only made half.  (Not to mention that cashews are very expensive here - ouch.)

Biting into these cookies was a lovely experience - chewy outside, soft centre with ooey gooey chocolate pieces inside.  Yum!

To see what the others made for the rewind, visit the LYL section of the Tuesdays with Dorie website.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

TWD - Crunchy Granola

Today's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Crunchy Granola. I never understood the difference between granola and muesli until now. Granola is a toasted muesli with plenty of sweeteners added, so it's not something to be overindulged in. However, as a now and then brekky, it's fine, and it has lots of good stuff in there.

I substituted sunflower seeds with flax seeds (because that is what I had), and slivered almonds with whole chopped almonds. For the fruit, I used apricots, sultanas and goji berries because that is what I had. I also only made a half batch so I wasn't swimming in granola.

The granola smelled devine as it cooked. It is one of those smells you could gladly sniff all day.

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

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Mango Ripple and White Chocolate Cheescake

The taste of summer for me is all of the wonderful summer fruit that you can get at this time of year.  King among the summer fruits is the mango.  Its sweet, juicy goodness and endlessly appealing.  As well as eating a mango straight up as God intended, you can use the flesh in both sweet and savoury dishes. 

The November 2017 edition of Coles magazine had a recipe on p54 for Mango Ripple and White Chocolate Cheesecake.  It looked and sounded amazing, so how could I refuse?

I wasn't disappointed by the results.  The cheesecake was a little labour intensive with pureeing and straining of the mango flesh to create the mango ripple, and several stages in a food processor, but I was very happy with the end product.

If you like your cheesecake sweet, then this could be for you.  To make it, you will need:

300g plain sweet biscuits
100g melted butter

2 ripe mangoes, peeled and stoned
500g softened cream cheese
120g sour cream
110g sugar
2 eggs
200g white chocolate, melted

Preheat your oven to 150 degrees Celsius.  Grease and line a 20cm round springform tin.

Blitz the biscuits in a food processor into fine crumbs.  Add the melted butter and process until well combined.  Press the crumbs into the base and up the sides of the springform tin.  Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Put the mango flesh into a food processor and process until smooth then strain the puree through a fine sieve.  Set aside.  

Put the cream cheese, sour cream and sugar into a food processor and blitz until smooth.  Add the eggs and blitz until well combined.  Add the chocolate and blitz until smooth.  Add half the mango puree and process until smooth.

Pour half f the cream cheese mixture over the chilled biscuit base and smooth the top.  Drizzle half of the remaining mango puree over the top and marble the mixture using a knife blade.  Repeat with the remaining cream cheese and mango puree.  

Put the springform pan on an oven tray and bake for an hour or until set.  Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven for an hour with the door ajar.

Put the cheesecake in the fridge for three hours to chill.

Serve and enjoy!  

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

TWD - Cabin Fever Caramel Banana Bars

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Cabin Fever Caramel Banana Bars, so named because Dorie dreamed them up when she was going stir-crazy, shut inside after a second blizzard in Connecticut.  I have never experienced and hope never to experience a blizzard, but I can imagine how awful it would be.  I am glad it inspired creativity in Dorie.

These bars are like a banana cake laced with peanuts and topped with peanuts and more chocolate.  I wouldn't say that there was anything caramel about them other than that they contain brown sugar.

The result is rather delicious - sweet crunchy chocolate and crunchy salted peanuts atop a soft, peanutty banana cake base.  I'd make these again.

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

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Banana Apple and Blueberry Loaf

Coming back from Christmas holidays, I wanted to use up some leftover fruit that I had in the house. 

As part of my magazine cull, I found a recipe for Banana Apple and Blueberry Loaf from p38 of an edition of Delicious magazine (it doesn't have the year, so I can't tell you when it's from).  When I searched for the recipe online, I found that it was by Shannon Bennett of Vue de Monde fame.  

That would explain the certain fussiness factor to making this cake.  I was making it at night after work, so I wasn't necessarily excited by all the steps, but it certainly made for a lovely cake which used up 2 frozen bananas, 2 leathery apples and some aging frozen blueberries that were taking up real estate in my house.

As you can see, the cake is lovely inside, and so moist.  I liked it a lot.

Now comes the confession - I messed around with the recipe a little to suit myself.  My version of the ingredients is as follows:

  • 1 teaspoon  vanilla extract
    225g butter, softened
    1 cup white sugar
    2 ripe mashed bananas
    3 eggs
    2 apples, 1 grated and 1 thinly sliced
    125g crushed blueberries
    ½ cup wholemeal flour
    ¾ cup plain flour
    1¾ cup almond meal
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    ½ teaspoon ginger½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
    ½ teaspoon baking powder
    ¼ cup skim milk
    ¼ cup honey
I also adapted the method a little, as follows:

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease a 24 x 12cm loaf tin.

In a stand mixer, beat the vanilla, 200g butter and sugar until creamy and light. Add the banana and eggs, one at a time.

On low, add the ginger, cinnamon, grated apple, blueberries, flours, almond meal, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and milk to the mixer bowl. Beat until well combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin.

Put the remaining 25g of butter and honey in a frypan over medium heat. Add apple slices. Cook 3-4 minutes, turning, until caramelised. Place on top of the loaf.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 1 hour 15 minutes or until cooked through.

Slice and serve!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

TWD - Real Hot Chocolate

I am scraping in by an hour and half to this week's Tuesday with Dorie to unveil Real Hot Chocolate.

The recipe served two.  I quartered the recipe, as a whole serve contained 50g of melted chocolate - that's a whole chocolate bar's worth!

This is a really simply recipe - melted chocolate, milk, sugar, salt, water, and that's all.  For such a simple recipe, it used an incredible amount of dishes - a saucepan, a bowl to melt the chocolate, a heatproof jug, a serving glass, a whisk, 2 spoons and a stick blender.

This drink was incredibly rich - a little too rich for my taste.  I like to eat my chocolate rather than drink it. However, it was fun to try.

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

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Ottolenghi's Banana Walnut Cake

Just before Christmas, I baked this banana walnut cake from Ottolenghi's Sweet cookbook.  It was meant to be baked as several small loaves, but I made it as one big cake instead.

The resulting cake was pretty flat because I obviously used a tin  that was too big - a hazard when you don't use the tin specified in the recipe.

The end product was quite dense and closer to a US "bread" than a traditional cake but was very tasty. It definitely benefitted from some butter on top to serve though as it added a bit of moisture.

I won't share the recipe as Ottolenghi has been quite generous in sharing various recipes from Sweet, and this isn't one of them. If you like baking, I would urge you to buy the book - it's a good one, with a large number of recipes that are different to what you will find in a standard baking time. If you need convincing, just search for the recipes from Sweet that have been posted online in various newspaper promotional articles - you will be pleasantly surprised.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Beef and Broccolini Noodle Stir Fry

My magazine cull yielded many recipe treasures, which I am now storing in a large box.  Some of the recipes are for baking (of course!), others are for special occasions, while others are for day to day use.

One of the day to day recipes that I found was a terrific low fat Beef and Broccolini Noodle Stir Fry from p86 of the February 2009 edition of Delicious magazine.

This recipe is simple, quick and tasty - perfect for a weeknight meal.

To make this stir fry, you will need:

400g fresh egg noodles
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup oyster sauce
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 bunches broccolini, trimmed
1 tablespoon oil
400g lean beef mince
4 spring onions, sliced
sesame seeds to serve

Mix the sauces with the garlic, ginger and vinegar in a small bowl.

Cook broccolini in boiling salted water until bright green and slightly crisp.  Drain and set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok add the beef and stir fry for 2-3 minutes until browned and cooked through.  Add the noodles, sauce, broccolini and spring onions and stir fry for 1 minute or until heated through.

Sprinkle the stir fry with sesame seeds and extra spring onions, if desired.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!!

These photos are not from New Year celebrations. but from the Paul McCartney concert in December.  The fireworks accompanied Live and Let Die, and were very dramatic.  However, I thought that they were very celebratory and New Year appropriate.

Above is Paul himself, on the big screen at AAMI Stadium in Melbourne.

And some more fireworks to bring in the New Year!!