Monday, July 30, 2007

Walnut Brownie Bites

I read this recipe and thought that it sounded right up my alley! I made these little brownies in no time and they smelt so good! According to the boy (yes I'm still on this diet) they are biscuity and crunchy outside and gooey and chewy inside, with a nice hit of caramel and walnuts! He and his workmates loved them! Thats what I like to hear!!

I think the ingredient that got me sucked in was the Rolos! Each brownie has a rolo in the middle of it! Melted and oozing! Can't really beat that...

1/4 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped finely
80g butter
150g dark eating chocolate, chopped
1 egg, beaten lightly
1/3 cup plain flour
1/4 sour cream
3 x 50g packets Rolos
Preheat oven to moderate. Lighly greast two non stick 12 hole mini muffin trays, divide walnuts between holes.
Melt butter and chocolate in a medium saucepan, stir over low heat, without boiling until mixture is smooth. Cool to just warm.
Stir sugar and egg into mixture, then the sifted flour and cream; spoon mixture into prepared pan. Press one Rolo into the centre of each quantity of mixture. Spread mixture so that the Rolo is completely enclosed.

Bake in a moderate oven for about fifteen minutes. Using a sharp pointed knife, loosen the sides of the brownies from pan, stand for ten minutes. Remove brownies gently from pan.
Makes 24. These treats are best served while warm!

E.

Stuffed Chicken

Due to this low carb diet I am on, I am very limited in what i can eat. But I really felt like something yummy for dinner. Marika suggested stuffing a chicken breast with some goodies. After much deliberation it was decided that I would stuff it with Camembert and Pesto! And then wrap it in Prosciutto! Three of my favourite things! God Bless This Diet!

The prosciutto works well at keeping the cheese and pesto inside the chicken. I was very ameteur at my cutting technique as I slit right thru to the bottom of the chicken breast so all the pesto was oozing out, but the prosciutto saved the day and kept it all inside. It was a delicious meal that was relatively simple!

2 chicken breasts
2 tbsp good quality pesto
4 slices (1cm wide) good quality camembert
10 slices thin prosciutto
Knob of butter
Tablespoon olive oil
(Serves 2)

Preheat oven to 200C.

Slice the chicken breast through the centre horizontally. Not completely end to end. Leave about an inch uncut at either end. Marika taught me the trick that if you put the chicken breasts in the freezer for about half an hour before preparing, it is easier to cut and get it right.

Place the pesto and the camembert inside the pocket. Push closed as tighly as you can and wrap 5 strips of prosciutto around each chicken breast, making sure all gaps where cheese or pesto my dribble out are covered.

Melt olive oil and butter in a frying pan. Sear each side of the chicken breast until browned and then place in an oven at 200C for approximately 45 mins. Serve with your favourite vegetables.
E.

First Daring Baker’s Challenge – The Strawberry Mirror Cake



My major motivation to start this blog was because I saw all these wonderful posts of the Dark Chocolate Crepe Cake. I eventually worked out that this was because of a group called the Daring Bakers.

As mentioned in our first post, I talked Liz into creating and adding to BakerCurryMaker when she was visiting me in Sydney recently.

And so we were invited to join the Daring Bakers, and were given our first challenge, the July challenge of The Strawberry Mirror Cake.

Leading up to receiving the challenge, I was terrified. I am not an expert baker and often mess up the easiest recipes.

When we first received the challenge, I thought it wasn’t too bad. However, once I read the recipe I was worried again. I think I read the recipe 10 times with about a 20 questions and assurance from my whizz of a baking partner Liz, and I started to feel a little better.

I went through the recipe meticulously working out what ingredients and equipment I would need. I had to buy several additions to my kitchen, but hey, it’s all in the name of … Um whatever this is all in the name of!

And so, I started one Saturday morning on the arduous task of making the most complicated cake I have ever made.

Ingredients:

Strawberry Mirror Cake
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
¾ cup (170 grams) sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
2 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup sifted flour
½ cup water
1/3 cups sugar
2 tbsp kirsch or strawberry liqueur

Strawberry Bavarian Cream
2 ½ tbsp unflavoured gelatine
1 ½ cups strained strawberry puree (500 grams)
5 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1 ½ cups milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
several drops of red food colouring
1 ¾ cups whipping cream

Strawberry Mirror
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp kirsch
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp unflavoured gelatine
Few drops of red food colouring

Strawberry Juice
1 ½ pints of strawberries (500 grams)
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup water

Preheat oven to 230C.

Butter and flour the sides of an 11-by-17 rimmed baking sheet. Line bottom of pan with a sheet of baking paper cut to fit bottom pan exactly.
Beat eggs, egg yolks and ¾ cup sugar together in a medium bowl until thick and light. Beat in the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy, add cream of tartar and beat until whites begin to form peaks. Add the 2 tbsp sugar and beat until the whites hold stiff, glossy peaks (do not over beat).
Sift flour over the egg yolk mixture and fold in. Stir in one fourth of the whites. Then carefully fold in the remaining whites. Spread batter evenly in pan.

Now at this stage, I’m feeling good, I might actually say I’m feeling a little cocky. I had bought a new jelly roll tin with the exact measurements and I was bopping along to Amy Winehouse when the bubble was burst. The damn tray didn’t fit into my oven, as it had fancy handles. Those damn handles ruined me. But, I took a deep breath and transferred my beautifully fluffy mixture to another tray (defeated the whole purpose of folding things together etc, but it turned out ok).

Bake until light brown and springy to touch - approximately 7 to 10 minutes and cool in pan 5 minutes. Run a knife along edge to loosen. Invert cake tin to cut out 8 ¼ inch circles of cake.
Next, make the soaking syrup. Combine water and the 1/3 cup sugar in saucepan; bring to a boil to dissolve sugar. Cool to room temperature; flavour with liqueur. Set aside until ready to use.

Next came the Bavarian cream.

Puree the strawberries and strain.

Sprinkle the gelatine over the strawberry puree in a small bowl and set aside until spongy.

Combine egg yolks and sugar in a bowl beat until light. Bring milk to a boil in sauce pan. Pour hot milk into yolk mixture and stir with a wooden spoon. Return this mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until your finger leaves a clear trail in sauce when drawn across the back of the spoon. (Do not boil or mixture will curdle.) Immediately remove from heat and stir in softened gelatine mixture.

Pour into a stainless steel bowl places over a bowl of ice water. Stir in lemon juice and a few drops of red food colouring. Cool over ice water, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens to the consistency of softly whipped cream.
While gelatine mixture is cooling, whip the whipping cream until it holds soft peaks. When the gelatine mixture resembles softly whipped cream, fold the whipped cream into the gelatine mixture.

This is where I think I messed up. I forgot about the cream. I was watching the gelatine mixture so carefully I forgot to whip the cream. Unfortunately in the time it took to whip the cream, I think the gelatine set too much, as the mixture was lumpy.

My spirits were down. I knew I’d mess it up. Liz was lovely via text message (who knows what the poor girl was doing with her Saturday morning, but her phone would have been beeping like mad!) and I tried to convince myself it’d be ok.

And so, I started to assemble the cake. After searching high and low for cardboard and making the correct size circles I continued. Brush the sides of 10-inch spring form pan lightly with flavourless salad oil or almond oil. Cut out a cardboard circle that is exactly the same size as the bottom inside of the pan; cover cardboard with aluminium foil and fit into bottom of pan. Centre one layer of the cake bottom of pan. Brush the cake with some of the soaking syrup to just moisten (not drench) the cake; set aside.

Pour about half of the Bavarian Cream over the first layer of cake in the pan. Set the next layer of cake on top of the cream. Pour remaining Bavarian Cream over cake and smooth top of the cream with spatula. Refrigerate until the cream sets (1 to 2 hours).

I had friends over for dinner so here is where the photos really slowed down. My confidence was low and I went on and made everything else for dinner (roast chicken with all the trimmings – ye, I don’t know what I was thinking either).

Next, came the strawberry juice.

Coarsely chop the strawberries and place in saucepan; crush to start juices flowing. Place over low heat; add sugar and water; simmer slowly 10 minutes. Pour juice and pulp through damp jelly bag or cheesecloth-lined colander and drain into a bowl for 15 minutes (Do not press down on fruit).
And finally for the mirror. This part went smoothly (and looked great on mine). I know a few others had difficulty, so I am sorry to say, but I am glad one part went smoothly for me. (Maybe it was the wine)?

Place lemon juice, kirsch, and water in a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatine over this mixture; set aside until spongy and soft.

Measure 1 ½ cups Strawberry juice into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer; pour over gelatine mixture and stir to dissolve gelatine. Tint to desired colour with red food colouring.

Place bowl over bowl of ice water and stir occasionally until the mixture is syrupy and just beings to thicken (do not let jell); remove from ice water.

When mixture is syrupy, pour a 1/16-inch layer over the top of cake.

Refrigerate until set.

(To serve: Wrap a hot towel around the outside of spring form pan for a few minutes. Run a small sharp knife tip around the edge of the Strawberry Mirror to separate it form the sides of pan. Mirror will tear when sides are unlatched if it is stuck at ANY point. Slowly unlatch the pan and slide it off the cake.)

Slice cake in wedges and serve in upright slices.


S

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies


Another recipe taken from a fellow blog. I saw the name and I was sold. I decided to use large chunks of chocolate. You can buy Plastowie chocolate in a box that is already broken up. The pieces are quite large. The recipe I took this from appeared to use small chocolate chips but I thought, why not go the whole hog and make it really ooze and drip with chocolate... and my word they do!

Once again I am unable to say what they taste like due to this diet. Dang! But the boyf ate 4 in a row if thats anything to go by. Ive also sent a batch with him to his brother's house and I think I can safely assume the plate will come home licked clean...

I think these and a huge glass of cold milk would be slice of heaven...

1 cup butter, soft
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup (unsweetened) cocoa powder
2 cups dark or semisweet chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla and mix until smooth.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. Working with the mixer on a low speed, gradually incorporate flour mixture into butter mixture until well combined and no streaks of flour remain.

Stir in chocolate chunks. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough (approx 1″ balls) onto trays lined with baking paper. Bake for 11 minutes at 180C, until set and just firm at the edges. Cookies should still appear moist. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 4-5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

E.

Mrs Sigg's Snickerdoodles

I found this recipe on a fellow bloggers page, described as Quite Possibly the Best Cookies I Have Ever Made! and so they had me from hello...
I had never heard of Snickerdoodles, but since browsing other blogs, everyone seems to be making them! They must be very American..

So I made these lovely cookies and I found that they needed much longer than the 8-10 mins instructed in the recipe... Mine were still goop after 10 mins, so in the end they were in for almost half an hour.... Please enlighten me as to what I have done wrong if anyone can...

In the end they turned out fine.... I think..... They dont look anything like the Snickerdoodles on anyone elses blog, mine seem more rounded, less cracked and definately a darker colour cinnamon... And as I'm on this darn low carb diet, I am unable to try them. So I asked my boyfriend, my boss and my best mate in Queensland (sent her a little surprise package express post!). And the reviews were fantastic. Catherine used the word PERFECT! So I guess I'll be doing them again when I'm off this diet and seeing for myself...

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C).
Cream together butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, the eggs and the vanilla. Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt. Shape dough by rounded spoonfuls into balls.

Mix the 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls of dough in mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until set but not too hard. Remove immediately from baking sheets.
E.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Salmon & Chive Mini Quiche

I also made these little nuggets for my mum's do. She lives for salmon so I though'd I'd make these salmon ones for her. And with the chives and lemon and dill, mmmm! She is very happy with her plates of food she is taking along! And in the end she decided to take my Matchsticks too!
1 tbs chopped dill
2 tbs lemon juice
1 cup chopped chives
125g chopped smoked salmon
4 eggs
1 cup cream
1 cup grated mild cheese

Preheat oven to 180C and grease well your mini muffin tray.
Whisk the eggs, cream, cheese and lemon juice together and add the rest of the ingredients.
Place in mini muffin trays and bake in the oven for around 10 minutes until they are golden.
E.

Mini Quiche Lorraine

I arrived at my mum and dads to do some packing as I'm finally moving out of the nest, and instead of boxes waiting for me, I had a cook book thrust at me... "I'm going to a function at some footy club tonight and everyone has to bring a plate. Please will you cook me something...?"

So I sat and went through mum's cook book and found these little dynamites! Now, I'm currently on a diet where I can't eat carbs or sugar and it is quite hard to find a recipe that I can eat! But I can eat these by the bucket load! They are so yummy and a breeze to prepare!

4 eggs
1 cup cream
sea salt and cracked pepper
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
250g diced bacon
2 medium onions, chopped
sliced cherry tomatoes to decorate

Preheat oven to 180C.

Fry off the onion on a pan until cooked. Fry off bacon until cooked to your liking.

Place the eggs, cream, salt, pepper and parmesan in a bowl and whisk to combine. Stri through the bacon and onion. Pour the mixture into a mini muffin tray that has been well greased.

Bake for ten minutes or until puffed and golden. Makes 24. E.

Matchsticks


Marika, who I work with, is often asked to please please please make these for fellow workers and their families! And so I am often blessed that I get to try one or two of them! I have always loved Matchsticks. Balfours have always done my favourite ones. So I decided to make these today. I made them at my parent's house and they were all too pleased to take them off my hands! Mum, who will always buy a Matchstick if she comes across one, said these are the best Matchsticks she has ever had!!! Very light and fluffy. Melt in your mouth!

2 sheets frozen puff pastry, slightly thawed
1 jar good quality strawberry jam
1 tub cream, whipped
2 tbsp icing sugar to add to whipped cream
1 tbsp icing sugar to decorate

Preheat the oven to 200C and line a few baking trays with baking paper.

Cut the puff pastry into small rectangles and place in the oven until puffy and golden.

Remove from the oven and cut in half horizontally.

Spoon strawberry jam onto the bottom of each pastry.

Whip the cream with the icing sugar and pipe a line down each pastry on top of the jam.

Replace the lids and dust with icing sugar.E.

Malteser Slice

I found this recipe online and so many different sites featured it and HIGHLY reccommended it! The thing I love about a slice is that it can take as little as two minutes to make, but they create so much happiness! I havent had one of these as I'm currently on a diet :-( but I was told they are "delectable" by my boyfriend...

225g Maltesers
225g Digestives, finely crushed
3 tablespoons Golden Syrup
100g butter
200g good quality cooking milk chocolate

Line the base of a tray and preheat the oven to 180C.

Melt the butter, golden syrup and chocolate together. (In the microwave will do, 3 minutes on medium, stirring every minute). Stir it together well and quickly add the maltesers and the biscuits. Place in fridge until set. Cut into squares.

E.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Peanut Butter Slice

You'll always get my attention if you mention peanut butter! I love it on toast with lashings of butter and an icy cold glass of milk; and I love it even more in a cake, slice, friand, muffin, ball, truffle..... you get the idea!

So when I found this recipe online I couldn't resist making it! The top layer of peanut butter, condensed milk and golden syrup tasted almost too good to put on a slice! All I needed was a big spoon and about ten minutes and I'd be happier than a pig in... well, peanut butter!

The top pastry layer ends up very biscuity and crunchy while the inside is pure bliss...

1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
375g jar Crunchy Peanut Butter
2 cups plain flour
2 Tbsp golden syrup
200g softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Beat the butter and sugar together until the mixture is pale in colour and light in texture.

Add the egg and beat well.
Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix to form a soft dough.
Press 3/4's of the dough onto the base of a baking paper-lined 20cm x 30cm slice tin.
In a saucepan warm the condensed milk and golden syrup. Stir in the Peanut Butter. Spread evenly over the base of the slice.
Dot the remaining dough over the top of the peanut layer.
Bake at 180C for 30-35 minutes until the slice is golden.
Cool in the tin before cutting into slices to serve. Keep in an airtight container.
E.

Blue Vein Agnolotti

This is another fabulous dish Sathya kindly bought home with her when she moved back to Australia, after many years living in the UK. I am a huge, to say the least, fan of blue vein cheese. Blue vein is one of the main foods I crave. So when Sathya presented me with this dish, I could have kissed her! It is so simple, but so full of flavour! Perfect for a winters night at home, snuggling on the couch in front of the telly.

1 tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 tins chopped tomato
1 packet Agnolotti pasta, (I use spinach & ricotta) or your favourite pasta
175g blue vein cheese
175g bacon, chopped and fried
Parmesan to top

In a saucepan, fry off onion until transparent. Add the tinned tomatoes and simmer for a good forty minutes to cook away the main liquid and leave you with a chunky tomato sauce.
When the sauce is almost ready, cook the pasta. Meanwhile, chop and fry the bacon in a fry pan. Chop the blue vein cheese into 1cm blocks.
Once pasta is cooked, drain and return to the pot. Add the tomato sauce and the blue vein cheese. Mix and allow the blue vein to begin to melt through the pasta.
Serve and top with the bacon and parmesan cheese.

I'm placing this pasta on a fellow bloggers page, for THE PRESTO PASTA NIGHT ROUNDUPS.

Once Upon A Feast is one of my personal favourite blogs and she has wisely begun collating fabulous pasta dishes, and I believe this one is a great contendor!

You can see it all for yourself at http://www.onceuponafeast.blogspot.com/ and find many other delightful recipes! Pasta and otherwise...

E.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

French Onion Chops

My mother in law cooked these for me years ago and I was blown away at how yummy they are! My first attempt at cooking them, about one week after she did, was a complete failure as I forgot to cover them with alfoil! Tonight I wasnt going to make that same mistake!

According to my mum, this dish was huge in the 1960's....?
I am not a fan of french onion soup at all! But I do love the flavour of the packet soup mix! Whether it is through a potato bake or on these delightful chops, it adds so much flavour! The chops end up so tender, its as if you've been cooking them for hours! Melt in your mouth goodness!

4 fourquarter premium chops
2 packets French Onion Soup mix
Olive oil spray
Your favourite veg to serve

Cover the bottom of a baking tray with alfoil. Spray with olive oil. Sprinkle a packet of French Onion Soup mix over the bottom of the tray and place the chops on top. Sprinkle the top of the chops with the other packet of soup mix. Cover the tray with alfoil making a "tent" for the chops. Leave room for the steam to circulate. Place in the oven for an hour and a half. Serve with your favourite veg.

E.

Cherry Chews

I felt like cooking something sweet and I found this recipe online. For the first time ever, I baked something that didn't come with a photograph! So I really wasn't sure what it would turn out like! I had an idea in my head that I could drizzle chocolate over the top, and I suppose you could. But I decided to leave these as they were.

I added extra cherries because I really don't think you can ever have too much of a good thing! They are so gooey and chewy and crunchy! All my favourite textures. Really sweet and flavoursome!
1 cup self-raising flour
1/4 cup plain flour
1 cup icing sugar mixture
125g butter, melted
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cupdesiccated coconut
150g glace cherries, chopped

Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a 16cm x 26cm slab pan and line with non-stick baking paper.
Sift the flours and icing sugar into a bowl. Add the butter and mix until combined. Press into the base of the pan.
Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Spread over the base. Bake for 35 minutes. Leave to cool then cut into squares to serve.
E.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Blueberry & Raspberry Lime Drizzle Cake

I made this cake for a dinner party my mum had on Saturday night. Unfortunatley I don't have any photographs of the inside as I wasnt actually AT the dinner party! But as you can see from the outside, the inside would be full of fruit and colour! This cake is so tasty and zesty and refreshing! It is really so simple to make. I've made it for mums dinner parties five times now! And she tells me that everyone always asks for the recipe. It can be served warm or cold, with ice cream or with cream. I think its a fantastic cake for a garden tea...

225g butter, softened
225g caster sugar
4 medium eggs
Grated zest and juice of 2 limes
250g self-raising flour
25g almond meal
Pinch salt
100g each blueberries and raspberries

For the syrup
8 tablespoons lime juice (about 4 limes)
Grated zest of 1 lime
140g caster sugar

Line the base and sides of a 20cm square cake tin with greaseproof paper and butter the paper. Set oven to 180C or 160C for a fan forced oven.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Gradually beat in the eggs, adding a little flour towards the end to prevent curdling and the almond meal.

Beat in the lime zest, and then fold in the flour.

Fold in enough lime juice-about 3 tablespoons- to give you a good dropping consistency.

Fold in three quarters of the blueberries and raspberries and turn into the prepared tin.

Smooth the surface then scatter the remaining fruit on top-it will sink as the cake rises.

Bake for about 1 hour (cover with foil if beginning to brown too much), until firm to a gentle prod in the centre.

A skewer pushed into the centre should not have any uncooked mixture adhering when removed.

Meanwhile make the syrup: put the limejuice, zest and sugar in a small saucepan.

Place over a gentle heat and stir, without allowing to bubble. The sugar should dissolve a little. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, prick it all over with a skewer then spoon the syrup over it, leave to cool in tin. When cool turn out of tin, remove lining paper and cut into 12 pieces and serve, either as a cake or as a dessert.


E.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Lamb Shanks

I originally took this recipe from a Jamie Oliver Show. It is so simple but has so much flavour! I think its the balsamic that really gives it kick. After three hours the meat just falls straight off the bone. Its really so simple! Once you put it in the oven you don't need to touch it again until you're ready to eat. The meat is so tender that you almost can't tell the difference between the mash and the meat! Its all so soft and melt in your mouth...

4 lamb shanks
2 carrots
2 sticks celery peeled
1 brown onion
2 tins chopped Italian tomatoes
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
3 sprigs rosemary
1 tablespoon dried chilli
1 tablespoon plain flour
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup white wine
2 tins chopped tomato
Salt & Pepper
Olive oil
Mashed potato

Using pestle and mortar, bash up coriander seeds, dried chilli, a decent few pinches of salt and pepper. Add one-tablespoon plain flour and mix together well. Coat the lamb shanks in this mix.

Cover the bottom of a saucepan with oil and fry off the lamb shanks until they are golden. Set them aside.

Using the same oil that the shanks were cooked in, add the chopped onion and fry off for a few moments then add finely chopped carrot and celery. Then add a few decent pinches of salt and pepper. Add the whole sprigs of rosemary. Add four tablespoons of balsamic and cook it off until the liquid is quite reduced. Then add white wine and cook again until it reduces. Add the two tins of tomatoes and stir through.

Place the lamb shanks in the bottom of a baking dish and pour the sauce over the top. Cover and cook in oven at 180ยบ for around 3 hours.

Serve on a bed of mashed potato.
E.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Chocolate Petits Fours


My girlfriend at work, Marika, pointed this recipe out to me and said "look how easy it is!" and by golly was she right! It literally took two minutes! As the recipe suggests. And tastes so decadent! Very quick and easy and impressive if you were to get a last minute invite to a dinner! They are very rich so really just ONE with a liquer coffee would be sufficient! They're like little blocks of chocolate ganache! mmm

200g 70%-cocoa dark chocolate, broken into pieces
200ml thickened cream
20g butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cocoa powder

Place chocolate, cream and butter in a heatproof, microwave safe bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on MEDIUM for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every minute with a metal spoon, or until almost melted. Add vanilla and stir until smooth.

Line base and sides of a 4cm deep, 7cm x 25cm bar pan with baking paper, allowing 2cm overhang at both ends. Spoon chocolate mixture into the pan. Refrigerate until firm. Cut into small squares and dust thickly with cocoa.

E.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Toffee & Chocolate Blondies

I found this recipe on another blog and as soon as I saw the photograph I fell in love. It looked so enticing. And the real thing was even better than I expected. I served it warm with a big dollop of whipped cream on the side.

The recipe from the Desert Candy blog I took it from, asked for American chocolate coated toffee bars. Being in Australia I decided to use Fantales! And I am so pleased that i did.
The thing I love about these blondies is that it can be served warm with whipped cream as a dessert or cold with a coffee as a delicious afternoon treat.

6 tbl butter, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 tbl instant espresso
1 tbl hot water
2 eggs
1 tbl vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped chocolate
1/2 cup chopped Fantales
3 tbl Kahlua

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

Grease and flour an 8” square baking pan (I lined mine with foil, then grease the foil)

Dissolve the espresso in the hot water in a small bowl and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sifted flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the espresso and the vanilla.

Beat in the eggs one at a time.
Fold in the flour mixture, stirring just until any streaks disappear.
Stir in the chocolate and fantales.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
As soon as you remove them from the oven, use a pastry brush to brush the Kahlua all over the top of the blondies.

Cool completely before cutting into squares.

E.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Tomato & Basil Risotto


This is one of the first meals Sathya ever cooked for me. I was blown away that anyone in my (then) age group could cook something so yummy! The next time Sathya cooked it, I sat at her kitchen table and eagerly wrote down every step she did! When the first opportunity arose for me to cook it I remember being so nervous! I had never cooked a 'meal' in my life! (besides toasties and 2 minute noodles).

I had all the ingredients cut up, prepped, measured and ready to go as I was so scared I would make a mistake and ruin it! But I didn't ruin it! It was perfect! In fact, its turned out perfect every time I've made it. Its become an old faithful that I love and crave. It's so simple I can do it with my eyes closed. I don't even have the original recipe anymore, I just measure approximately as I remember...

2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 bunch basil
3 tbsp Olive oil
Salt & Pepper
50g butter
3/4 cup water
1 1/4 cup Arborio Rice
1 Red onion
2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
75ml red wine
100g parmesan, grated
175g bacon, chopped

Blend tomatoes, basil, olive oil & salt and pepper in a food processor (not essential if you dont have one (if this is the case, just chop the basil finely and mix with tomatoes, oil and S&P).

In a saucepan melt the butter and add the chopped red onion. Fry the onion on low heat for 7 minutes until it is transparent. Add the rice and stir. Let it sit, stirring occasionally for a few minutes. Add wine and tomato paste and cook off until alcohol smell disappears.

Pour into the pot the tomato & basil mixture and stir. Bring it to a simmer and leave for around 5 minutes. Add the water. Place lid on pot and put in 180 degree oven for a good 40 mins. Stir once or twice.

Remove from oven and add the parmesan and stir it through. Return to the oven for another 15 mins. Meanwhile, fry the bacon off until crispy.

Serve in a bowl with crispy bacon over top, more parmesan and some basil leaves.

E.