Saturday, March 31, 2018

Chicken Everest with Yellow Rice

I have owned The Monday Morning Cooking Club - The Feast Goes On for quite a while (umm, apparently about three or four years), but until recently had never made anything from it.  One weekend I pulled it out and searched specifically for a tempting dinner to make from it.

I decided to make Reuben Solomon's recipe for Chicken Everest (p166).  I had never heard of this dish before, but a quick Internet search shows that there are plenty of variations of it out there.  I chose this dish because it looked like a great spicy Sunday roast.

I did find making the paste to coat the chicken very messy, with herbs and spices all over the place.  However, I did like the flavour it gave to the chicken.  (Note that my chicken looks nothing like the photo in the book!)

The recipe suggested that I serve it with Shereen Aaron's Yellow Rice (p163), so inventively, that is just what I did.  I loved this tasty rice and would happily serve it with anything:

To make the Chicken Everest, you will need:

A 1.5kg chicken
2 crushed garlic cloves
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garam marsala
2 tablespoons lemon juice
10 fresh curry leaves (I subbed in parsley because I couldn't get the leaves)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons ground rice  (nup!)
3 chopped spring onions
1 small handful coriander leaves

Put all of the ingredients except the chicken in a food processor and pulse to make a paste.  Thin it out with water if necessary to make a spreading consistency.

Rub the chicken inside, outside and under the skin with the paste, then marinate the chicken in the fridge for an hour.

Preheat your oven to 170 degrees Celsius.  Put the chicken in an oiled roasting dish and bake uncovered for an hour and a quarter or until the chicken is golden brown and cooked right through.

To make the Yellow Rice, you will need:

1 tablespoon oil
1 finely chopped small onion
black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 cup rinsed basmati rice
1 1/2 cups chicken stock

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan and fry the onion until soft.  Add the pepper and turmeric and cook until fragrant.  Add the rice and stir to coat with the onion mix.

Add the stock to the pan and bring to the boil.  Add salt to taste, then cover the pan and reduce the heat to low.  Cook for 15 minutes.  Serve!

This meal would be a terrific Easter feast, or a beaut Sunday roast.  Just be prepared for the mess when making the paste.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Hot Cross Buns - Gewurzhaus recipe

Easter is fast approaching, and Good Friday is the first of the Easter holidays.  It wouldn't be Good Friday in our family unless you eat fish for every meal, and you have hot cross buns.

I am enjoying trying the various flavours of hot cross buns that are available now, with my favourite being Apple and Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns from Bakers Delight.

On the weekend, I visited one of my favourite stores, Gewurzhaus, in Hawksburn Village.  Every year they stock beautiful traditional wooden ornaments sourced from Germany.  They also stock a Hot Cross Bun Spice Mix.  Although I couldn't justify purchasing a wooden ornament, I did buy some of the hot cross bun spice mix.  The spice mix came with a recipe for traditional style hot cross buns, so what better excuse would I get to make my  own hot cross buns.    

The Gewurzhaus hot cross bun recipe makes 16 buns.  I was a little overwhelmed by the thought of having so many buns around, so I halved the recipe to make eight buns.

I was a little concerned about how my buns would turn out, but I needn't have been concerned.  Home-made buns are never as fluffy as the store bought variety, but then you have to wonder what they put in the store bought ones to make them that fluffy.  The taste was spot on and they were not too heavy.

The recipe for the Gewurzhaus hot cross buns is as follows:

500g bread flour or plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
75g sugar
1 sachet dry yeast (7g)
2-3 tablespoons Gewurzhaus hot cross bun spice mix (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, coriander, citrus)
300ml milk
65g butter
1 large egg, beaten
150g currants or mixed fruit
4 tablespoons self raising flour
4 tablespoons cold water
2 tablespoons sugar
75ml boiling water
1/4 teaspoon hot cross bun spice mix
Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the spice, salt, sugar and yeast and mix through.
In a small saucepan, heat the milk over a low heat, add the butter. Once the butter has melted, take off heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the milk mixture. Add the beaten egg and mix well, working from the inside out, slowly incorporating the dry ingredients to form a dough. Add in the dried fruit, and knead through the dough.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough becomes smooth and not sticky anymore. You may need to slightly adjust the mixture if it is too dry/wet with milk/flour. 
Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel.  Place in a warm spot to rise for an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
Turn the dough out and punch down to remove any air.  Cut the dough into 16 equal sized pieces. Place buns close together onto a baking tray, lined with baking paper. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for a further hour.
In the meantime, make the mixture for the crosses. Mix flour and water into a smooth, thick paste. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Place the mixture for your crosses into a zip lock bag, cut a small hole out of a corner and pipe onto the buns. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
While the buns are baking, make the glaze by adding the glaze ingredients to a small saucepan. Bring to the boil, and continue to simmer until the sugar dissolves and the syrup thickens a little.  Brush the glaze over the buns as soon as they are removed from the oven to give them sheen.
Serve the buns hot with a little butter.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

TWD - Pailles

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Pailles, which apparently means "straws" because these pastries are meant to resemble rows of straw all lined up.

Pailles are made of puff pastry that has been layered with egg wash and sugar, then folded and cut and arranged so there are oodles of individual strips of puff pastry lined up in little squares.  These squares are then baked until crispy, filled with jam, and sprinkled with icing sugar.

I used a pineapple jam made from Helen Goh's recipe for Lunar New Year tarts to fill my Pailles instead of the more traditional berry jam.

I did not expect much of these pastries, and initially thought it was rather mad to take the trouble to do all of the folding and cutting and arranging of the pastry.  However, I was convinced otherwise once tasting them.  The pastry caramelises in the oven and tastes so good.  This was another Dorie surprise hit.

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

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Pear ginger and olive oil cake - Honey & Co

I had imposed a semi-ban on buying new cookbooks as I already have so many, but when I saw the Honey & Co The Baking Book on sale (sold as Golden in the US) recently, I decided to buy it. Honey & Co cookbooks have gorgeous covers, evocative writing, interesting recipes and gorgeous photography.  Both of their books have been out for a few years now, but I resisted buying it until recently, and I have not been disappointed.

I have bookmarked a number of recipes to make, but first cab off the rank is their Pear Ginger and Olive Oil Cake.  I decided to make it after seeing a few pear cake recipes around, and pears being quite good and cheap at present.

This cake has a lovely sugary crunchy top studded with pear wedges, and is filled with fruit and spices.  It is a seriously good cake.

The recipe for this cake is also online here, should you care to make it.  I thought this cake was wonderful and urge you to give it a go, particularly if you like pear and ginger.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Chicken, Plum and Chilli Tray Bake

Happy Friday!! This morning's post is short and sweet to share one of the dishes that I made recently.  This was Chicken, Plum and Chilli Tray Bake out of the March 2018 Coles magazine. There are haters of meat and fruit combinations but I am not one of them, and I was excited to find another good plum recipe while plums are still in season (because that autumn chill is definitely in the air).

I used a green chilli instead of a red chilli because my little Woolworths Metro had no red chillies when I went to buy the ingredients - go figure.  However, I have become very lazy with the supermarket so close and I wasn't going anywhere else to get that red chilli. The flavours have a terrific Asian slant, with soy, oyster sauce, star anise, chilli, ginger, orange and plum.

I enjoyed the flavours of this dish, but would have liked  a bit more sauce.  And of course, mine looks nothing like the photo (taken from the Taste website, which Coles seems to be in partnership with). 

If you are tempted to try this meat and fruit combination (ignoring my unglamourous rendition of this dish), you can find the recipe online here.  It was delicious (it's hard to stuff up baked chicken), just needed more sauce, as I said.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

TWD - Sunny-Side-Up Meringues

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Sunny-Side-Up Meringues.  They are so called because they look like fried eggs.

These meringues are baked with a cavity formed with your finger in the middle, and the cavity is filled with Citrus Curd.  I even made Dorie's Mixed Citrus Curd because I had an orange I had bought for something else just for the skin, so it seemed a shame to waste it (it cost the princely sum of $1.50!). The curd recipe makes two Bon Mamon sized jars of curd.  This is quite a lot of curd for someone like me and there are lots of leftovers.

There is not much else to say about these - they are easy to make, although a little time consuming (1 1/2 hours baking and 2 hours cooling in the oven).  The sharpness of the curd cuts nicely through the tooth aching sweetness of the meringue.

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

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Red Tractor March - Colcannon

It was St Patrick's Day yesterday, so it seemed fitting to make the Red Tractor March recipe - Colcannon.  Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish of cabbage and mashed potatoes all mixed together - a bit like Heaven and Earth is apples and mashed potatoes.

I chose to serve my Colcannon with corned beef, mustard, tomato sauce and mixed vegetables - a pretty good meal.  Corned beef is also quite economical as you get a lot of meat for your money and there are always tons of leftovers.

Here is the accompanying Red Tractor quote for March, an Irish blessing:

To make Colcannon, you will need:

1kg Sebago potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/4 Savoy cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
4 spring onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1/2 cup milk
a knob of butter

Boil up the potatoes and cabbage separately until soft, and drain.

Mash the potatoes, then add the garlic, butter and milk and mix well.

Add the cabbage, spring onions and parsley and mix well again.


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Persian Chicken and Roasted Plum Salad

Back in the summer, I made a Persian Chicken and Roasted Plum Salad from the January 2018 Coles magazine, which was very tasty.  The recipe is online here.  You will instantly note that my version is not all posed and pretty like theirs.  That doesn't mean it wasn't good.

This salad contains chicken, pearl barley (I used cous cous instead), plums, pumpkin, cinnamon, pistachios, mint and feta.  Those are some wonderful flavours all in one salad.  

Plum season is coming to a close here soon, but if you are coming into summer instead of winter, this tasty chicken and plum salad could be an excellent addition to your repertoire.  

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

TWD - Apple Weekend Cake

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Apple Weekend Cake.  I made it on Melbourne's Labour Day holiday, when the annual Moomba parade is held.

This is a good, solid, honest cake with chunks of apple and rum and vanilla for flavouring.  It is easy to make and even easier to eat, with the apple giving it moisture and texture. It was also a fab way to breathe new life into rather leathery old apples.

I would definitely make this cake again - it is delicious.

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

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Chocolate, Plum and Macadamia Cake

As long time readers know, I have an eye for unusual cakes.  As soon as I laid eyes on Jordan Rondel's Chocolate, Plum and Macadamia Cake,  I knew I had found yet another kindred spirit cake.

The ingredients in this cake, as the name suggests, are delicious - chocolate, plums and macadamias, all baked up into one lovely cake.

However, what you do need to know is that this cake is, like the old Picnic ads, "deliciously ugly":

It didn't help that I poured the ganache onto the warm cake as I wanted to cut a slice for a friend I was seeing the day I made it. 

Despite the less than Instagram-ready appearance, I received lots of compliments on the flavour of this cake.   I even received a request for the recipe.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Jordan Rondel, she is a New Zealand cake maker who makes beautiful, naturally decorated cakes and trades as The Caker.  Her website is here. I own her first book and have made a few things from it, including this Peanut Butter and Jelly Cake.

If you love plums, chocolate and macadamias, this may be the cake for you.  It is delicious!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

International Women's Day Cupcakes

Today is International Women's Day.  At work, there will be presentations by illustrious women both external and internal to my employer.  I am going to the presentation by the women who are employed in management at my employer to hear about their journeys to their current positions.

I also made these purple and green cupcakes, the colours of International Women's Day.  I didn't want to go too fancy.  In the end, I made vanilla cupcakes with vanilla icing from my usual recipe, and coloured a half batch of the buttercream with two drops red and one drop blue liquid colouring to make a pretty lavender coloured icing.  (I was terrified of making some horrid murky grey colour.)

The flowers are made from Dr Oetker's green ready to roll icing punched into flowers with a plunger cutter.  I used the blunt end of a skewer rolled in the centre of the flowers to give them a little petal like shape, and a dab of water to stick black sugar pearls into the middle of each flower as the centre.

The piping is not as neat as it could be, but at 10.30pm at night when I was doing it, these things tend not to bother me too much.

I think the cupcakes look pretty neat, and they are a fun way to mark the occasion of IWD.

Happy International Women's Day!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

TWD - Hamantaschen

For Tuesday with Dorie this week, I have made Hamantaschen.  These are Jewish cookies made to celebrate Purim (which was from 28 February to 1 March this year).  

These cookies have three corners to represent the three-cornered hat worn by Haman, the Persian Grand Vizer and the villain in the story who wanted to kill all of the Jews because Malacai  refused to bow down to him.  Malacai and his mother Esther learned of Haman's plot, saved the Jews and did away with Haman.  I have wanted to make Hamantaschen
since first seeing a recipe for them in The New York Times, so TWD finally got me to make them.  I made the full batch and got 23 cookies (Dorie says 24 so I was pleased).

The cookie dough is very like rugelach dough, and is not easy to work with.  Once it is removed from the freezer, you have to work with it quickly, otherwise it sticks to everything and tears.  The cookies are filled with a rough dried fruit jam. They taste like an Arnotts Spicy Fruit Roll.  I quite liked them, but they won't feature regularly in my house because the dough is hard to work with.

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

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Madame Brussels and Dear Abbey

It has been a busy weekend for me, with lots of people to catch up with.  I thought it would be fun to take you with me to a couple of those catchups.

The first catchup was on Friday night with some girl friends at Madame Brussels in Bourke St, Melbourne.  I have been to Madame Brussels before with the Melbourne Cake Club and thought it would be a great place to catch up as they serve awesome cocktails.

One of my friends and I started with a glass of sparkling rose served in Marie Antoinette glasses (pictured at the tope of this post) ($12).  This wine was tasty and a fitting accompaniment to the girly atmosphere.

My friend asked to meet Pearl, the owner, to express her delight at the premises, so here she is in a blurry action shot (the background is perfectly clear):

While waiting for our other friend, we ordered the Charcuterie plate ($30), with pastrami, ham, pork terrine, rillets, mustard, pickles, baguette and crackers:

This was all absolutely delicious.

When our other friend arrived, I ordered a 50 Shades of Pink Cocktail ($20), with rhubarb, berries and elderflower:

The disappointing part about this cocktail was the amount of ice cubes in it - I would have preferred fewer icecubes and more drink.

On Saturday, a friend and I went to lunch at Dear Abbey in Moonee Ponds:

It gets its name from the fact that it is built in a converted church.

The coffees that we ordered on arrival were terrific.  

For lunch, I ordered the Aromatic Garden Cakes (sweet potato, baby spinach, peas and broadbeans) with sumac hummus and caramelised pineapple frisee salad ($18.90):

This tasted as amazing as it looks.

The sweets are ordered in and I have been to another cafĂ© that has the same sweets.  This time, I ordered the Black Widow - dark chocolate brownie, espresso caramel, chocolate ($5.90):

This was simply devine.  It was worth the walk there and back to taste this beauty. (Update - Butter Mafia in Northcote makes these sweets, which are all gluten free.)

I would go back to both places - both were fun and the food and drinks were good.

59 Bourke St
Melbourne VIC 3000

23A Gladstone St
Moonee Ponds VIC 3039Ph: (03) 9372 0093

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Fig, Jamon and Gorgonzola Tart with Honey and Rosemary

A couple of weeks back, I found some lovely fresh figs at Prahran Market  for the bargain price of $4 for 2 punnets.  Immediately I thought of making ficci biondi, and bought the ingredients to make it.  However, I then decided to do something a little different, and found this recipe for a Fig and Blue Cheese Tart with Honey and Rosemary.

I added in some jamon because I had bought it to make the ficci biondi.  When the recipe says it's juicy, believe them - there are lots of juices that flow from the tart.

However, this tart tastes delicious.  If you are a fan of ficci biondi, this takes it up a notch with the wonderful flavours of balsamic vinegar, honey and rosemary. It makes a great starter or main if you have access to some fresh figs.