Monday, August 29, 2011

Nigella Lawson Forever Summer Chocolate Peanut Bars

Jared and I spent the weekend at Mum & Dad's with Nana because the folks have gone to the Gold Coast for a week.  Jared was in the study for 10 hours both days working on a uni assignment so that left Nana and I to amuse ourselves.  And we did - we shopped and baked and read and snoozed. 

This was our baking feat - Nigella Lawson Chocolate Peanut Slice.  I love that in her pre recipe blurb she says she was laying in bed one night with a fist full of peanuts and a bowl full of chocolate and she thought to herself, 'surely we can combine this heavenly combination?' and she did.  I'm a big salt fan and a huge caramel fan so the combination made me very happy, and still is...  They are delicious and moreish.  I fell asleep with the box of slices next to the bed (as you do) and woke up to the heavenly smell of chocolate.  And some smeared all over the sheets and my brand new PJs....  whoops!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter
14 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk
4 tablespoons maple syrup
250g Salted roasted peanuts
250 bittersweet chocolate
75g milk chocolate

Heat oven to 160C. Line 23cm baking pan.
Shortbread: In food processor, process flour, sugar and butter until mixture looks sandy and begins to
clump. Turn into pan; press over bottom. Prick all over with fork.
Bake in the oven at 160C for 5 minutes. Lower heat to 150C and bake for 30 to 40 minute until crust is pale and golden.  Let it cool in the pan on wire rack.

Over medium heat melt the butter, add the condensed milk and maple syrup and stir into a gorgeous caramel.  Let it begin to bubble slowly and keep stirring for two to three more minutes and add the peanuts and whisk until all combined well.  Pour it into shortbread pan and ensure it is even and let it cool.

Over a water bath melt the chocolate and mix well.  Spread chocolate over peanut filling. Let cool. Once
chocolate is set, with sharp knife, cut into 24 bars.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ravinder Bhogal's Lamb Stew with Turnips, Pearl Barley & a Garlic Bread Crust

I wanted to cook something slowly and make a kind of casserole but I'm sick of the same old same old red wine/rosemary/bay leaves/carrots/celery & onion style of casserole.  So this recipe was exactly what I was looking for.  It has leeks, chilli, pearl barley, turnips and a garlic bread crust!  Totally different from your stock standard winter stew.

It smelt amazing as I caramelised the leeks, turnips and celery.  I've never used pearl barley before and it was really simple and a great addition to the meal - it fills you up though, I think I need a nap.

Jared loved it and finished off the pot which serves six!  Including the ten slices of garlic bread on top.  He described it as 'great bush tucker'.  I'm so happy with this dish.

1tbsp olive oil
500g diced boneless lamb shoulder
2tbsp plain flour
1 knob of unsalted butter
3 celery sticks, chopped into large chunks
1 leek, trimmed and chopped into thick rounds
300g  small turnips, quartered
½ tsp chilli flakes
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of rosemary
100g  pearl barley
500ml hot chicken or lamb stock
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the crust:
1 medium French baguette
3 garlic cloves, chopped
½ tsp sea salt
1tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
25g (1oz) soft unsalted butter

Heat the olive oil in a casserole. Dust the chunks of lamb with the flour, dust off any excess flour and then brown the lamb in the casserole on all sides. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and leave to rest on a plate.

Melt the butter in the same pan. Sauté the celery, leek and turnips for 10-15 mins until they have caught some colour and caramelised slightly.

Return the sealed lamb to the pan, add the chilli flakes, bay leaves and rosemary and fry again for 1 min. Pour in the pearl barley and hot stock and season well. Cover and leave to simmer on a low heat for 1 hr, topping it up with water if needed.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Cut the French baguette into slices on the diagonal. Make the garlic butter by pounding together the garlic, salt and parsley, then stir in the softened butter. Butter one side of each slice.

Take the casserole off the heat and arrange the sliced bread over the surface. Bake it in the oven for 20 mins or until the bread is golden and crisp. Serve piping hot.