Thursday, May 27, 2010

Do Winter, Old School Style - pea and ham soup

Don't let the photo scare you, this is one tasty soup. Check out those retro colours! This soup is very simple to make and really doesn't take that long to put together. You can walk away and let it do its thing, add the peas, then walk away again. The tricky part is separating the meat from the bones at the end. You'll need a bit of space to do this as well as a sturdy pair of tongs and a small sharp knife.
This meal is very,very filling so it could easily feed 4 adults and 2 children with some lovely crusty bread; or leftovers can easily be frozen for up to 2 months for a quick and easy meal. Make sure you buy your ham hocks from a reputable Butcher and ask them to chop each hock into 3 pieces. It's also a relatively cheap cut of meat too. The smoky flavour it gives this soup is to die for!


1 onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 parsley stalks, no leaves(I saw this in an old pea and ham soup recipe ages ago and have done it eversince. Try it!)
3 ham hocks, about 1 to 1.5kgs worth
3.5 litres water plus an extra 500ml for later
500g split green peas
fresh lemon juice, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste (you won't need a lot of salt)

How to make your soup

In a large saucepan add some oil and pop over a medium heat. Add your onion, celery, carrot and garlic and fry off until nicely done. Make sure you don't burn it. Then add 3.5 litres of water, your ham hocks and your parsley stalks and bring to the boil (this may take a little while) once boilng, reduce to a medium simmer,cover and cook for a good hour. When your hour is up add your split peas and 2 cups hot water. Pop the lid on and cook for another 45 mins or so. Give it a stir every now and then in case the peas are catching on the bottom. When it's ready take out the hocks and get rid of the skin and bones. Puree your soup with a hand held blender (I like it a little chunky)Pop half of the meat back into the soup, stir it through, add your lemon juice, salt and pepper, stir it through and ladle into your bowls. (Some pea and ham soups also add mint, but I really don't think it needs it) Top each bowl with some of the meat and serve with some crusty bread.

Too easy. Enjoy!

spice it up - chai tea cake

When I met my husband in 1999 he was the one who first introduced me to chai tea. On one of our very first dates we discovered this sweet little modern australian cafe in Glebe called 'The Edible Trader', which unfortunately is no longer there, but they had the most wonderful food and they made excellent chai tea, the traditional way.
So, soon after trying it and of course making our own at home, I had to make it into a cake! My first attempt for our very first house warming party (little did we know we would move 7 times in 11 years) was kind of a disaster. Something was not quite right, the cake came out as flat as a pancake. So for the night I called it my chai tea slice. Back to the drawing board I finally came up with this recipe and it has never let me down since. As you can see from the photo I made them into muffins but you can do either really, it's up to you. If you collect old copies of foodie magazines like I do, you may find this recipe in a 2003 issue of Australian Table, in the reader's recipe section!


7grams of ginger, skin off
10 cardamom pods
10 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup soy milk
1 tea bag of your choice (I use a plain black tea)
2 teaspoons honey
60g Nuttelex
200g brown sugar
2 eggs
170g Self raising flour
100g hazelnuts, roasted, skins off and chopped (keeping some hazelnuts whole for topping each muffin or a few for the top of the cake)

when roasting your own nuts, put the oven on a lowish heat, place them on a tray lined with baking paper and leave them in for 5 mins or so. You can test one by taking it out of the oven carefully, using your fingers to rub off the skin. If it comes off easily they are done.

how to make your cake

pre heat your oven to 180C. Get your cake tin or muffin tray ready with baking paper, cases and/or oil spray.

Place ginger, cardamom, cloves and the cinnamon stick in a saucepan with 3/4 cup of water on high heat, bring to the boil and boil for 2 - 4 mins. Reduce heat to medium, add soy milk and the tea bag and simmer for 2 minutes. remove from heat, add honey and stir well to combine. Strain the liquid into a jug or bowl and set aside to cool. You will only use 3/4 cup of this chai liquid. Also at this point you could just enjoy it as a chai tea!

Place nuttelex and sugar into a bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 3 mins untl pale and thick (it will happen!) Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Fold through flour and hazelnuts, alternating with the chai liquid until well combined. Pour into prepared tin. Cook the cake for 55 minutes or until browned and a skewer comes out clean. Cook the muffins for about 20 - 30 minutes, checking them as you go. When you take out your muffins/cake pop your whole hazelnuts on top while the cake(s) are hot, this should keep them in place! Serve with a little thickened cream if you like but this cake is really yum on it's own.

For a double dose, enjoy with a cup of chai tea!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

quince jam - marmellata di mele cotogne

First and foremost I would like to acknowledge that this recipe comes from the cookbook, "Twelve - A Tuscan Cookbook" by Tessa Kiros. As this was my very first attempt at jam making I have not altered the recipe at all, I followed her every word! This book was given to us as a wedding present in 2004 and unbelieveably I have never made anything from it. This recipe, however, was always in the back of my mind saying, "make me!, make me!". Well, I finally listened.

The process, from start to finish, took me 3 hours (not including cooling time at the end). I'm sure when I make it again it will be a little quicker and hopefully I will give you some tips that will lessen the time for you too. I have to say though I felt like an Italian Mama with my headscarf on, chopping and stirring and developing flavours. At each step I marvelled that it was all doing what it was meant to. The aroma throughout the house was like a beautiful rosy perfume. The whole experience was all very magical, especially seeing these bright yellow quinces transform into a rosy red jam in a space of a couple of hours. Truly worth every minute.

Pre-jam making - what you need

* A very large stainless steel pot (or 2 if you have them) to make the jam in but also to sit the filled jars in when you are ready to create your vacuum.
* Have some small jars on hand (I bought special preserving jars that actually did'nt work)Smaller jars that once held dijon mustard or salsa or whatever will be easier to use up as once they are opened they should be kept in the fridge and consumed fairly quickly
* Check that your oven can do 100C for the steralisation process. I discovered on the day that our oven started at 120C! Thankfully I found I could just as easily pop each jar in the microwave to steralise. Whichever you end up using just make sure they are clean
* Make sure everything else you use is clean too, like tea-towels, spoons, knives, chopping boards and even your sink
* You'll also need good kitchen scales, a timer and a hand held blender


* Buy about 2kgs of quinces (You will need 900g worth or 1.3kg depending on whether you want to add the pears too, but by the time you cut out the cores or discard any rotten bits I think it's better to have more on hand then less - in the end I had 3 spare)
* about 3 pears (You will need 400g worth after they have been peeled and cored)
* 1 cup of good red wine (I used Petit Clos by Clos Henri Marlborough New Zealand Pinot Noir - a gift from our friends who we helped cater their wedding)
* 500g Caster sugar (Next time I will use a little less but it in the end it all comes down to taste - see what you think)
* 1 lemon (You will need the zest and the juice)
* 1 litre cold water plus an extra 2 cups of hot water for later

How to make your jam

Wash the quinces with water and dry them with a tea towel to wipe away any fur and grit. Get out your saucepan and bottle of red wine. Cut the quinces into quarters, leaving the skins on but removing the cores. Pop them into the saucepan with the wine and over a low to medium heat, let the wine reduce a little. (If you are not using pears as well make sure you use 1.3kg of quinces instead of just 900g) Meanwhile, get your other bits ready. Peel and core the pears (if using) and zest the lemon. pop these into the saucepan along with the lemon juice, the sugar and the 1 litre of cold water. Bring to the boil then lower the heat slightly and cook for about an hour or until there is only a bit of thickened, syrupy liquid in the pot. (Be careful towards the end of the time as it may catch on the bottom. Stir it often or lower the temp but only until you are happy you are left with the thickened syrup) If using the oven to steralise your jars, pre heat it now to 100C.

Take the pot off the heat and add 2 cups of hot water and puree the quinces with a hand held blender. Put back on the heat and simmer for another 30 to 40 mins or until the jam has thickened and is a deep red colour. Spoon a little jam onto a plate and tilt the plate slightly. The jam should slide down with a little resistance. Take it off the heat if it is ready.

Just prior to this you should wash your jars and lids in the sink using very hot and soapy water. Rinse them, dry them and pop them onto a baking tray and place them in the oven for 10 mins prior to filling them. Take them out very carfully from the oven and carefully fill with the hot jam. Alternatively wash and rinse your jars (don't dry them) and pop them into a microwave, one at a time, for 1 minute per jar. Take them out very carefully and fill with the hot jam. Screw the lids on very tightly. If you have another large pot, use that, otherwise you will need to wash the pot you just made the jam in. Make sure it is extremely clean then fill it with cold water. Place the jars in the water bath ensuring they are well covered (you don't want water to evaporate during the boiling process,exposing the tops. You want to create a vacuum.) Now bring to the boil and once boilng, do so for 20 mins. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the jars to cool in the pot before removing them. Check the lids to see a vacuum has been created. Store them upright in a cool dark place and the jam will keep like this for up to 1 year. Once opened, store in the fridge.

I hope you enjoy making this jam as much as I did! have fun mxx

Friday, May 21, 2010

Cheap and Cheerful - Chicken and Rice

This is another dish that I grew up. I remember my Grandmother making this and when she grinded the pepper it seemed to go on for hours. She loved the peppery flavour the simple spice imparted. However, when I started eating grown up food I remember complaining about this. So for many years, untl my palate had grown up a little, my family would add the pepper after the cooking process or my Grandmother would make one especially for me, in a seperate roasting pan. She always knew how to keep everyone happy. Now I absolutely LOVE lots of pepper in this dish. The success of this meal kind of counts on it.

Depending on how many people you are feeding I generally do 2 chicken legs per person or 1 per child. This recipe will feed 4 people easily. Traditionally we ate this dish with some crusty bread but I think you can have too many carbs!

You'll need:
1 onion, chopped
500g uncooked, medium brown rice
8 chicken drumsticks
salt and pepper

Pre - heat oven to 190C and place baking paper in a roasting pan or use a creamic dish with a lid (no baking paper required) Heat oil in a fry pan and add your onion. Fry over a low heat so the onion softens. Turn up the heat a little and add your rice. Stir to slightly fry the rice. Now add salt and plenty of pepper. (You may want to see how you like the pepper taste after it's cooked so maybe go easy the first time you make it - it's up to you) Take off the heat and pour into your roasting pan. Now place the chicken drumsticks on top of the rice and pour over 2 cups of water. Cover tightly with 2 layers of foil or put on your lid and pop into your oven and bake for 2 and 1/2 to 3 hours.

The chicken will be falling off the bone so take them out carefully and hopefully the rice will be lovely and crispy around the edges, mmmmmmm my favourite part!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Heyyyyyy Macaroni! - Macaroni Cheese with baby spinach

I love traditional Macaroni cheese but I always feel so guilty after I've eaten it. Well, now I don't have to feel guilty. Just add spinach! This dish is really simple, fairly quick and everyone will love it on a really, really cold night. In place of the baby spinach I'm sure you could even use a cup of peas or maybe even some leftover roast pumpkin. Have fun!

First of all get a large pot of water on to boil and add a dash of salt. Measure out 300g pasta and set aside.(doesn't have to be macaroni - up to you but with the timing, a pasta that needs 14 minutes cooking time works well)Now pre-heat your oven to 190C. Get out your oven proof dish and set aside. Get out 100g baby spinach leaves, wash them, drain them well and set aside. When the water starts boiling add the pasta and set your timer.
Melt 50g butter in a large saucepan (If you don't have another large saucepan that's fine, it just means when you mix everything together you'll be using the pot that the pasta is cooking in) When it has melted remove from the heat and add 50g plain flour, mix in to make a roux. When it has all come together pop back over the low heat and very slowly add 500ml milk, stirring constantly. When it starts boiling let it cook for 1 minute, stirring occaisionally, then take off the heat.

Drain the macaroni and mix it with the sauce, baby spinach, salt and pepper and 100g parmesan cheese. Check your seasoning. Pour into your ovenproof dish and scatter with another 100g parmesan cheese. Cook in the oven for 15 mins or until lovely and golden.

Serve immediately on it's own or with a simple garden salad.Serves 4 - 6 people. You could swap half the parmesan for a tasty chedder cheese too. This recipe is adapted from the really cute little cookbook, "Love your leftovers".

Friday, May 14, 2010

Crazy fun with jam - Jam Crumble Tea Cake

I'm sorry but this cake must be eaten on the day it is cooked. (Hooray!)
This cake always surprises me. It's a Donna Hay recipe that I came across years ago and I've been playing around with it ever since. Trying out different jams; what works and what doesn't. Mucking around with the quanity of eggs and flour. It's been alot of fun experimenting (ie eating!) It is such a wonderful combination of flavours - the sponge cake, the jam, the crumble topping and then when it comes out of the oven - YUM!. You get to use your favourite jam and no one can mock you. If you really want to use your melon and pineapple jam, then do it. It's so exciting trying out different ones to see how they alter the taste of the cake. This is my other secret obsession - JAM. If there is a Church fete on you'll find me there, stocking up on jars filled lovingly with homemade jams and chutneys. I LOVE them. Which one to try today? I decided on Dried Apricot Jam. Sounds strange, I know, but it wasn't too sweet, it had an old worlde charm about it.......

Take 185g butter out of the fridge, chop into smallish pieces and pop into a bowl. Set aside to soften. Pre heat oven to 180C and line your cake tin with baking paper. You'll need 1 cup of jam. If using one from the fridge measure out what you need and leave out at room temperature. Now you can make your crumble topping . Place 5 tablespoons plain flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 cup of firmly packed brown sugar and 45g cold butter, chopped into tiny pieces into a bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingers until the mix resembles fine bread crumbs. (If the room is very hot try not to overwork the crumble as the heat from your hands will melt the butter) Set aside.
Now back to the 185g butter. Add 1 cup caster sugar (I use a bit less) and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and beat with an electric mixer until light and creamy. Add 3 eggs and beat well to combine. (I usually use just 2 eggs with a bit less flour but it's totally up to you - see what you think) Fold through 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 1 and 1/2 cups plain flour until combined.(Don't be worried about the mix - it is quite thick) Spread into your cake tin. Now get your 1 cup or so of jam and swirl it through the mix. You want it throughout the cake not just on the top so use a knife to make grooves into the cake. (This is the fun bit and each time you make it from now on you'll experiment with this) Now all you need to do is sprinkle your crumble topping all over the top of the cake. Pop it in the oven for about 55 mins. (When you test the top it will still feel squishy but don't worry it will be cooked through) Leave to cool slightly in the tin and then serve straight away. Enjoy with thick cream or icecream or just on it's own.

It's a funky take on an old tradition. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I like 'em rich - My Bolagnaise Sauce

I think most people grew up with their families version of Spaghetti Bolagnaise. There is no right or wrong with this meal. I've known people to even add vegemite. My own Bolagnaise has evolved over time. Now with small children I make sure I add some vegies in there too.
My most standout memory was when my husband and I were on our honeymoon in Tasmania. We had a quick meal at an Italian restaurant in Hobart before seeing a show at the Theatre. The place was packed and we were squeezed into a tiny table next to the Gelato freezer. I ordered a simple Spaghetti Bolagnaise. What was delivered in front of me will never be forgotten. I could taste lamb, rosemary, red wine, sweet, sweet tomatoes. The balance of richness and saltiness and sweetness was unbelievable. I often think back to that beautiful meal and I've tried to emulate it ever since. Here's my version, I hope you enjoy it too.....

Chop 1 brown onion, 1 stick of celery and 1 carrot finely. Add some oil to a frying pan and pop over a low heat. Add the vegetables. Chop up 2 cloves of garlic finely and add to the vegetables. Let them sweat down for about 5 minutes until they are lovely and soft. When ready add 500g lamb mince. Brown the meat over a high heat then add 4 slices of prosciutto or about 30g worth, torn up(alternatively you can use 2 rashers of bacon, diced - The prosciutto will give it a more richer flavour but it will also give it a lot more fat so you may prefer to use bacon instead, it's up to you) Now throw in your herbs. I like using dried herbs so i use a mix. A touch of marjoram, a touch of oregano and a touch of thyme and then I use some fresh finely chopped rosemary. I love the flavour of rosemary so I use a good teaspoon but see how you go, you may want a more subtle flavouring. Stir and when it is fragrant add a good half cup of red wine. When the liquid has nearly all evaporated add your tin of chopped tomatoes and a touch of salt and pepper. (You don't need a lot of salt because of the bacon or prosciutto and you'll add more pepper just before serving. I just like to add it to tomatoes.) Give it all a good stir. Turn the heat down to medium. For the sweetness I add some ripe cherry tomatoes which I keep in a bowl at room temperature in the kitchen. Chop about 8 or so in half and add to the frypan. Now fill the tin that had the tomatoes in it with water and add to the pan. Depending on how long you want to simmer it for. I add 2 full tins of water to simmer it for an hour and a half but you can just use 1 full tin of water for about 30 - 40 mins. It's ready when all the water has gone and you are left with a rich, thick Bolagnaise. Serve with spaghetti and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Happy memories!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

What's yours is mine! - Chocolate Panna cotta

This is not the easiest dessert to make,though on paper there are only a few ingredients but it is exquisite!! Sometimes you just want to work that little bit harder to create an amazing treat. To go to that extra effort so you can casually say, "yeah, I just made some Chocolate Panna cotta for dessert" when your guests arrive. This would be the perfect end to a dinner party. Let's face it, what's an ending without chocolate! I love it when the kids are in bed and I can sit back and have a cup of tea and out comes the "good" chocolate.
When making this dessert I can't stress enough the accuracy you need with your measures/weights etc. Timing needs to be accurate as well but I will explain this in the recipe. Enjoy!

Place 4 cups of pouring cream, 3/4 cup icing sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract in a saucepan and bring to a low simmer. Stir occasionally until the liquid has reduced by a third. (approx 20 minutes) When you have nearly reached this point measure out 2 teaspoons of gelatine and place in a ceramic bowl. Add 1/4 cup water and put aside. Set the timer for 5 mins. When the cream mix has reduced by a third add 185g milk or dark couverture chocolate which has been chopped. Stir over the low heat until combined and smooth. meanwhile When the timer has gone off add the contents of the bowl to a small saucepan. Stirring over a low heat until gelatine is dissolved. (You'll find yourself stirring both the cream mix and the gelatine mix at the same time). When the gelatine has dissolved and the chocolate has been mixed in,add the gelatine to the chocolate mix and stir simmering for 1 minute.
Pour into 1/2 cup capacity moulds or ramekins (or cute little tea cups like I used) and refrigerate until firm (approx 6 hours)Serve on their own or with some fruit - depending on the season - right now I'd go with beurre bosc pears or maybe some kiwi fruit.

Mother's Day Picnic - cauliflower and cannelini bean puree and caramelised onions

I love Picnics. I think it's a mix of that happy outdoor feeling and fantastic food. It's usually homemade, something that people have grown up with or at the very least, wonderful comfort food. With my sons allergy to eggs I miss whipping up a quiche to take to these outdoor events but there are so many other things that can be enjoyed. Here are a few..... I bought some rare roast beef; ham off the bone and some sopressa della nonna. Lovely crusty bread, juicy grape tomatoes and I made some Cauliflower and cannelini bean puree and caramelised onions. Delish!

Allow about 45 minutes to get the 2 made before you head off to your picnic.

Cauliflower and Cannelini Bean Puree
Chop up 1/2 a cauliflower into smallish pieces (the bigger the pieces the longer they will take to cook - the smaller the pieces the liklihood of burning so be careful)Pre-heat your oven to 200C and grab your oven tray. Line it with baking paper, chuck on your cauliflower pieces and liberally drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Pop in the oven and cook for 30 - 35 mins. When softened and some of the cauliflower has browned up, take out of the oven and pop in a bowl. Drain a tin of cannelini beans and rinse through with water. Add it to the cooked cauliflower and grab your bamix. Give it a whiz until smooth. (I have to say,I like it left a little chunky but it's up to you) season to taste with salt and pepper and add some more extra virgin olive oil if necessary. Serve warm or at room temperature or even cold. If you have some you can dress it up with a little chopped parsley.(Also delicious with lamb cutlets and roasted cherry tomatoes)

Caramelised Onions
In a large frypan melt 40g butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Chop 3 large brown onions and add to the pan along with 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Cook over a lowish heat until they are very soft and have a lovely brown colour. (approx 25 mins) Then over a medium heat add 1/2 cup of water to the pan, give it a stir and cook until water has evaporated. Serve. Dress it up with some thyme leaves if you like. (Great with barbequed sausages and soft rolls)

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mums out there. I hope you got spoilt rotten like you deserve....xx

Friday, May 7, 2010

Oooh-lah lah - chicken and vegetable pie

This recipe comes from 'Real Living' magazine. I've changed it a little, but then I tend to do that to a recipe. The original also said you could use the meat from a BBQ chook but I thought it was easier just cooking some chopped up thigh fillets rather than trying to cut all the meat off a chicken. See what you think.
I always feel a little bit French when I make this dish. I'm not sure if it's the leeks together with the chicken and butter or maybe it's the pastry. Who knows? It's just something that flashes through my mind while I'm cooking it. I usually serve this pie with mash potato and peas. If I add a little less flour to the dish the sauce doesn't go as thick; this mixed with the mash potato on your plate is heaven. But you don't have to. It's up to you. It is much easier to portion up when the sauce is thicker, especially when you are serving guests. You can see the delicious mess in my photo!

The list of stuff:
3 Tablespoons butter
2 leeks, sliced thinly
1 - 2 sticks of celery, sliced thinly
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced thinly
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 cup chicken stock
200g button mushrooms, cut in half
600 - 700g chicken thighs, cut into uniform bite size pieces
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 - 4 sheets frozen shortcrust pastry (depending on the size of your pie dish)
1 egg, beaten lightly to brush the top of the pie. (I don't usually bother but it's up to you.)

Have everything chopped and ready to go. Don't take out your pastry just yet as the filling needs to cool for about 20 mins.
In a frying pan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and cook mushrooms until golden. Meanwhile, in a seperate, smaller saucepan melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat and cook leeks, celery and carrot, until softened.
Add the chicken to the mushrooms and cook through.
Add the flour to the leeks, celery and carrot and cook stirring for 2 mins then chuck in the chicken stock. Heat until thickened.
When the chicken is ready add the vegetables, mix to combine and season with salt and pepper. Throw in your parsley and stir through.Cover with a lid or tea-towel and Set aside to cool. Take out your pastry. Allow at least 20 mins for it to defrost so it will be flexible enough for you to use.

Pre-heat oven to 180C. Line your pie dish with a sheet of pastry, allowing a lip around the edges. Pop in your slightly cooled chicken mixture. Then top with pastry, crimping the edges to seal and cut a few slits in the top, allowing the steam to escape. Bake for 45 mins until lovely and golden. Sit for 5 mins (if you can wait that long!) then serve.

Serves 4 people with just the pie or about 6 with the mash potato and peas.

The best pies I have ever tasted are from 'Hayden's Pies' in Ulladulla on the New South Wales South Coast. They are all heavenly! If you are ever in the area, I can't reccomend them enough. And 'Jasper Peel' bakery too for awesome pizzas, breads and sweets.....It's a Foodie's paradise!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Sugar and Spice - Polka-dot gingerbread

I came across the recipe for white chocolate and gingerbread slice in a magazine and thought I would give it a go but found I was short on a few ingredients. So I improvised. Polka-dot gingerbread was born! This would be perfect for a kids party, cut into 28 squares or an adults party cut into 14 fingers. Enjoy with tea or coffee and with or without a sprinkle of icing sugar. Eitherway, it's pure YUM!

Place 100g unsalted butter, chopped into a saucepan, along with 3/4 cup golden syrup, 3/4 cup brown sugar and 2 teaspoons of ground ginger and 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Stir over a low heat until butter has melted and mix is combined and smooth. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Pre-heat oven to 180C and line a slice tin with baking paper.
beat 1 egg lightly and add it to the saucepan. Then add 1/3 cup milk and mix well.
Sift 2 cups plain flour into a bowl. Add 180g chocolate. (I used 100g dark choc and 80g white choc as that was all the white choc I had in the cupboard; you could use half and half - it's up to you) Fold through the golden syrup/egg mixture and mix until combined.
Spread out evenly in prepared tin. Bake for 30 - 35 mins until firm. Cool in pan. Dust with icing sugar before serving, if you like. Enjoy!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Fabulous Food for an Afternoon Tea Wedding

Our very good friends got married yesterday (Yay!) and I catered some of the food for their wonderful Afternoon Tea Reception. It was an absolute honour to do this for them (and sooooo much fun!) I baked and baked and baked and baked get the gist, until there was 120 Flourless chocolate cakes, 72 Goat's cheese and Dill tarts and 142 Rhubarb and Currant tarts waiting to be devoured after the nuptials. The bride herself even provided Rosewater scones; Pumpkin and cranberry cakes and Orange almond syrup cakes. (I know, she is seriously Super Woman!) While 2 other close friends made delicious Ham, chutney and caramelised onion bap rolls, another batch of Goat's cheese and dill tarts, Roasted vegetable sandwiches with hummous and cheese,lettuce and chutney sandwiches. Everything was seriously YUM! But we couldn't expect anything less from these gorgeous 2. I hope you enjoy making these lovely treats as much as I did.... I know the bride even enjoyed some flourless chocolate cakes for breakfast the next day!

Here are the recipes!

Flourless Chocolate Cake - makes 1 cake or 15 - 20 muffin sized cakes
Grab a small saucepan and add 200g dark cooking chocolate, chopped and 150g unsalted butter,chopped. Melt over a low heat until all lumps are gone. Take off heat and set aside to cool. Now, pre-heat your oven to 160C and place cases in your muffin trays or line your cake tin with baking paper.
In a bowl add 3/4 cup caster sugar and 150g almond meal. Separate 5 eggs adding the egg yolks to the caster sugar and almond meal mix (mix until combined)and putting the egg whites in their own bowl. Beat the egg whites until firm peaks form. Now combine the chocolate mix with the almond mix and then very gently fold through the egg whites. If making 1 cake, bake for approx. 1 hour if making small cakes bake for approx. 30 - 40 mins. When cool dust with icing sugar. Enjoy!

Goat's Cheese and Dill Tarts
Take out 3 sheets of shortcrust pastry and allow to defrost for 15 - 20 mins. Using a 1/2 cup capacity 12 hole muffin tray, spray liberally with an oil spray and set the oven to 160C. When your pastry is ready cut out rounds and place into your muffin tray. Now scatter some dill (approx 1/4 cup all up) in the bottom of each tart. Throw in some crumbled Goats cheese (60g all up) and then grab a bowl and add 4 egg yolks, 1 and 1/3 cup pouring cream, 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk and pour into cases. Bake for 30 mins or until nicely browned. Enjoy!

Rhubarb and Currant Tarts
Take out 3 sheets of shortcrust pastry and allow to defrost for 15 - 20 mins. Spray a 24 capacity mini muffin tray liberally with an oil spray and set aside. Pre-heat oven to 180C. Chop 150g Rhubarb finely and throw into a bowl adding 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of cornflour and 1/4 cup currants. Combine and set aside. Cut out your rounds for the mini muffin tray and pop them in. Spoon in your mix and bake for 15 mins. Enjoy!

Simple food that tasted delicious and looked gorgeous. Happy Weddings!