Thursday, January 28, 2010

mini marshmellow pavlovas

HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAY!! (for yesterday)

I love australia day. i abhor the idiots that do stupid things like cause riots and stuff because lets face it, thats just un-australian and i understand the whole aboriginal rights stuff, but that doesnt stop me from watching and laughing at bogans wearing their flags.
i also dont think there is any better way to celebrate living in a country than having a day off work, going to the beach, drinking a few beers with friends and family, eating charred meats from the BBQ with fresh bread and tomato sauce and finishing the night with fireworks and pavlova.

had a tame (but awesome) australia day this year, went to my friend hannahs for dinner, as her balcony = great fireworks watching spot. it was also her birthday, so cake was required. i wanted to make an 'australian' pavlova, but had to catch the bus, so decided that individual mini pavlova that i could stick in a container in my bag was the way to go.

this is my mums pav recipe. it makes an amazing marshmellow center with crisp outside. i remember fighting my brothers for a beater to lick when mum made it XD

Mini Marshmellow Pavlovas (green and gold theme)

3 egg whites (use four if you have that many. i didnt)
1/2 c castor sugar
1/2 tsp cornflour
2 tspn vinegar
1 tspn vanilla essence
Cream, kiwifruit and passionfruit to decorate

Preheat oven to 120 degrees. Place egg whites in bowl and beat with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Continue beating (dont turn it off till the end - just keep beating) add the sugar intermittently in about 3-4 goes with beating phases inbetween. (there has to be a better way to write that...) the mix should start to look glossy. add the cornflour, mix, vinegar, mix and vanilla essence. stop beating when its all combined! (beaters can be cleaned by licking) Spoon the mix onto a flat tray lined with baking paper, leaving a space of about 2cm between each pavlova. they wont rise, so how big you make them is how big they will be! Cook for about 1-1/2 hours, or until outside is crisp. Cool and serve with a dollop of whipped cream, slice of kiwifruit and passoinfruit ontop!

Once cooked, pav can be frozen (just in case)
if you want to make a big pav, just spoon the mixture into the middle of a baking tray, making a circle about 24cm diameter (or however big you want)
if you want to, put the mix in a piping bag and pipe 'nests' that you can fill with cream. alternately, pipe 'kisses' which can be stuck together with cream or dipped in chocolate
alternate toppings: strawberries, kiwifruit, passionfruit, peaches, raspberries, grated chocolate. remember: you always need cream!

choc chip cookies

as i type this, im devouring a chocolate chip biscuit. there are three left, and im wondering if its better to eat them all now and get them out of my house, or to eat them over the next few days.

a good choc chip biscuit recipe is pretty essential for anyone, i mean, what is more delicious than the smell of freshly baked cookies? someone should market that as a perfume i think it would go down well. and not to mention the fact that cookies are the funnest thing to bake because it tastes AMAZING raw :)

the reason for me baking biscuits was because i went camping with some mates over the weekend, and i figured choc chip cookies would be a great thing to take. these ones go exceptionally well with a dry beer, and are perfect late night tent snacks. also, they are hardy enough to roll around in the back of the 4WD available anytime in their plastic container!

this recipe makes quick and easy soft choc chip cookies. the BEST kind

so, adapted from Bill Grainger (great recipe books) here is:

Choc Chip Cookies

125g softened butter
2/3 c brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 egg
1 1/2 c plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/2 c chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Place butter and sugar in bowl and beat until light and fluffy. (recommend taste test at this stage) Add vanilla and egg, stir to combine. Stir through sifted flour, baking powder and salt. (note: i dont sift flour, still works) Fold through choc chips (second taste test) Roll or spoon walnut sized balls onto a flat tray lined with baking paper. Cook for 15 minutes. Cool and store in airtight container. Makes about 30.

Mix up double quantities of dough and keep it in the freezer (wrapped in gladwrap in a log) for emergencies. Just thaw slightly and slice, place on tray, cook.
Remove 1/2c of choc chips and add 1/2 c of chopped walnuts or pecans for a nutty change

Friday, January 22, 2010

chocolate cherry cupcakes

You may have noticed by now that I have a slight obsession with cupcakes. If you haven’t, heres the 411…I have a slight obsession with cupcakes. They are just sooo good!! soft amazing cake that is flavoured with various essences and then topped with…oh gosh…butter icing.

Butter icing may be the most amazing food in the whole entire world. It comes in a multitude of colours (and flavours) and it can be piped or spread and when you swipe it off the top of a cupcake onto your finger..ahh getting carried away.

Anyways, butter icing = heavenly.

Unfortunately, I am yet to master butter icing. However, I can make a wikid cupcake. Tonight I decided that the tin of cherries in my pantry would be used. I was going to make a cherry clafoutis, but the obsession drew me to cherry cupcakes. But why not make it better by adding chocolate?? Had to experiment a bit, coz I didn’t have the right ingredients (yet again) but they still tasted great.

Note: the benefit of me experimenting is that it means its stuff I have in my pantry…therefore stuff you will probably have in yours!!!

Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder (sift = good idea if you don’t want to mix forever)
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tspn baking powder
pinch salt
1/2 c dark choc chips (i decided it would be a good idea to add these. optional. but def a good option!)
¾ cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter (about 100g)
1 cup drained tinned cherries (bit less than one tin)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup cherry juice (keep the juice from the tinned cherries)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Line muffin tray with muffin cases. In a large bowl, mix together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and choc chips. Drain cherries, saving the juice. In another smaller bowl, mix melted butter, cherries, sugar, vanilla essence and juice. Mix well. (I gave the cherries a bit of a smash with a spoon. Word of warning, don’t eat this coz it tastes sooo good and you wont have any leftover). Pour half the wet mix into the dry, combine well. Add the rest of the wet mix, stir well. Spoon batter into muffin tray (about 2 tbspns to a case). Place in oven for about 20 min. Top with frosting.

Chocolate frosting

I just mixed quantities of butter, cocoa and icing sugar till it looked edible and thick enough to spread. But, here is the frosting recipe that I was supposed to use!

1 1/2 cups icing sugar
3/4 cup cocoa sifter
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp chooclate cream liqueur
1 tbsp strong brewed coffee or milk
pinch salt

Mix all ingredients together. Use a beater to make fluffier icing (and for ease). Spread or pipe on cupcakes


Use leftover tinned cherries as decorations for cupcakes
Alternately, use sprinkles or drizzle melted dark chocolate overtop...mmmm


I hereby promise to get better at taking photos.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

two egg twenty minute golden syrup cupcakes

5:50 hmmm gotta catch the bus at 6:25 (dinner at my cousins). def enough time to make cupcakes and have a shower
5:52 nearly light myself on fire while turning on the gas oven
argh only have 2 eggs!! google 'cupcake recipe 2 eggs'
no butter, no scales, but margarine and a tbspn '125g butter = tbspns'
5:57 bollocks no vanilla essence!! golden syrup...that'll do
6:10 right cupcakes in oven....shower quick
6:22 FREAK CUPCAKES BURNING due to lack of heat control in old oven TURN TRAY!!!!!!!
6:23 turn up oven, i gotta go in 5 minutes COOK DAMN YOU
6:26 cooked enough...oh freak how am i sposed to transport 12 hot cupcakes???
6:28 wrap tray in tea towel...can make icing when i get there
6:30 out the door. sweeeet
9:05 'omg alex these cupcakes are AMAZING!! what recipe did you use??'

so heres the recipe for:

Two egg 20 minute golden syrup cupcakes

125g butter (8 tbspns margarine. i used canola)
1/3 c castor sugar
2 eggs
2 tbspns golden syrup
1 1/2 c SR flour
1/2 c milk

Preheat oven to 190 degrees. Grease muffin tray or place muffin cases in. Cream butter and sugar in bowl (can use electric mixer) until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well until well combined, add golden syrup and mix well. stir in approximately half the flour and half the milk, combining well before adding the rest of the flour and milk. Spoon mixture into muffin tray. (about 2 tbspn/muffin case. Bake for about 15 minutes.

Icing (the one i was supposed to use)
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 cup icing sugar
4 tblsp milk
food colour

Mix the icing sugar and margarine in a mix master. when that is mixed through, add the milk. More or less milk can be added to taste. Add any colouring or vanilla essence to the icing mixture.

Icing (the one i actually used - all very approximate values)
4 tbspns butter
1/2 c icing sugar
3 tbspns milk

Soften butter, add icing sugar and milk, mix everything. Should produce a runny mix. Add more butter/milk if not runny enough. Add more icing sugar if too runny. Make to desired consistency (i had the runny icing thing happening as evidenced by photo - sorry bad shot, but dark kitchen + no time) add sprinkles if desired!

Add 1 tspn vanilla essence instead of golden syrup for a vanilla cupcake
Let cupcakes cool before trying to remove them from the tin (haha)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

wffls for bffls

'and in the morning, i'm making WAFFLES' - donkey, shrek

is there anything better than the humble waffle? i have vivid memories of getting back from church on sunday morning and convincing mum that waffles would be a much better breakfast than pancakes. getting numerous bowls out, heating up the waffle iron, beating cream, unsticking the mayple syrup lid from the bottle and defrosting frozen berries or slicing up fresh banana and strawberries. then, sitting down and fighting my brothers for the freshest (crispiest) waffle onto which a deluge of cream and mayple syrup would be placed. then, sectioning out one of the waffle 'hearts', and biting through, the softness of whipped cream with the beautiful fatty mouth feel, the sweet tang of mayple syrup that inevitabley drips all over your chin and down your arm and finally, the crunch of waffle, so soft in the middle and light as anything and soooo unbelievebly tasty.

waffles are probably my most favourite breakfast foods. i mean, pancakes are great and so is french toast, but i love crispy things, and so a fresh waffle is like joy on a plate.

the word waffle comes from the word, 'wafer' which is a thin, crispy bread backed between two 'irons'. today, most waffles come in two different shapes, the scandinavian 'waffle heart' (which is what i make), basically 5 intersecting hearts that can be split. or the belgian waffles, which are thicker and gooey-er and are typically a rectangle shape.

some more history for you...(note: i was VERY excited about this) waffle day. IWD originated in sweden (called
Våffeldagen bahaha) and is celebrated on the 25th of March. Why this day? Well, if you calculate, its nine months before the birth of Jesus, and therefore the supposed day the archangel gabriel told Mary she was pregnant. Why waffles? Because of their light consistency, the waffle is said to imitate the lightness of angels (hence gabriel). Also, this is considered the first day of spring in sweden. spring means new life, eggs mean new life and eggs are prominent in waffle recipies. make sense?

anyways, the whole reason i wrote this was because last sunday my friends and i had a 'waffle breakfast' (therefore the title..wffls (waffles) for bffls (best friends for lives)) alot of my friends believe that 'gelare' makes real waffles. i beg to differ. glare waffles are NOT waffles. they are a cheap, eggy imitation. please call me and i would be HAPPY to organise making REAL waffles for you :) or, if you have time, have your own wffls for bffls party! heres a recipe...

Best ever waffle batter (makes about 12)

2 c SR flour
1/4 c sugar
2 eggs, separated
3/4 c milk
1/2 c water
90g melted butter
1 tspn vanilla essence

Preheat waffle iron. Place flour and sugar in large bowl, mix. Add egg yolk, milk, water, melted butter and vanilla essence and beat (electric mixer ftw) until smooth (no lumps). In separate bowl, beat egg whites until they create peaks (ie: light and fluffy). Fold egg whites into batter.
When green light is on waffle iron, spoon (or pour) about 4 tbspns of batter onto the iron, close and cook until green light turns on again

use eggs at room temperature for a better mix
if doubling the mixture, add 1/3 of a cup of sugar instead (too much makes them too sweet)
if making savoury waffles, add even less sugar
grease waffle iron before the first use, after that they shouldnt stick
keep waffles in the oven (about 150 degrees) until ready for use so they dont go soggy and cold

the classic waffle topping is whipped cream and mayple syrup but also try:
fresh sliced fruit (banana, mango, nectarine, grapes, passionfruit, strawberries)
frozen berries (makes a great sauce too when defrosted)
yoghurt (in place of cream, healthier and just as tatsy)
chocolate topping
golden syrup

Other breakfast essentials
good friends
toast (fruit bread or a good sourdough)
danish pastries
fresh fruit
bircher muesli (or homemade muesli, see previous post)

enjoy!!! :) p.s these photos are actual waffles that i have made :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

i see your pancake, and raise you a pikelet

whats the difference between a pikelet and a pancake?

in my 'professional' opinion, a pikelet is about 5 cm diameter. so you can fit 4-5 in a frypan. a pancake is just a bigger pikelet (10-15cm diameter), usually made to the same size as the pan you are cooking it in.
but at the business end, you use the same batter for both recipes, just vary the size.

personally, i like pikelets better just because they are small, making them great for children, and you can churn out lots quicker. they are bite sized, and so dont require cutlery to be eaten, and are great for afternoon/morning teas with the society ladies.
also, smaller means you can eat more, so you can try different toppings etc without feeling like a glutton :)

so why all this pikelet talk? well for breakfast this morning we (hannah, alex and i) made ricotta and cinnamon pikelets - served with banana, raspberries, yoghurt and mayple syrup. want a recipe? yes please...

Cinnamon Ricotta Pikelets (with fruit and yoghurt)
1 cup SR flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 c sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 c milk
3 eggs (separated)
220g ricotta
About 5 tspn butter
1 banana (sliced)
defrosted frozen raspberries (about 1 cup)
vanilla yoghurt (about 1 cup)
mayple syrup

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Add egg yolks and milk, combine well. Beat egg whites until stiff (makes little peaks when you pull the beaters out). Add ricotta to wet mix, stir well. Fold egg whites into wet mix (best done in two batches). Heat large frypan. Add about 1/2 tspn butter to pan and melt (i didnt do this the first time and they burnt, but if you have a teflon frypan you can skip this). Spoon 4 seperate tbsp of mix onto pan (most fit 4-5 spoons per pan, left, top, right, bottom and possibly middle). Flip pikelet to cook on other side when the top has bubbles that burst. Dont have the heat too high or pikelets will burn!
Serve 3 (or more) pikelets on a plate covered with yoghurt, rapsberries, banana and a drizzle of mayple syrup!

Other toppings: mix and match to your preferences
Lemon and castor sugar
Ricotta and raspberries
Cinnamon sugar
Fruit (ie: peaches, strawberries, blueberries, nectarines)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Olé, Olé Olé!!

i made beef fajitas the other night for my friends.

haha i love saying fajita. fa-hee-ta. the name fajita comes from the spanish word faja (belt). the meat in fajitas is usually made from a specific piece of skirt steak, which located between the heart and lungs (literally the loaction of a belt!). fajitas are traditionally served with the meat in a pan, accompanied by a plate of warm tortillas, a selection of vegetables and condiments. MYO.

This fajita recipe comes form the weekend australian (with a little bit of modification). Because you marinade the meat, its ok to get a tougher (less expensive) cut of meat as it will tenderise, but remember to remove visible fat as fajitas are not a fatty meal. The mexican spice mix is also a great opportunity to go check out those loose produce stores.

Beef fajitas (makes 12 tortillas)

1 kg rump beef - cut into strips
3 red capsicums
2 green capsicums
1 red (or brown) onion
extra mexican spice
12 tortillas
1 avocado sliced
1 tomato sliced
3 carrots (grated)
2 cups grated cheese
sour cream

Mexican Spice:
(store in empty spice container - its a great spice for BBQ meat) - 1tsp = approx 5g
25g nutmeg
15g cumin
15g chilli powder
(can use chilli flakes)
15g ground coriander
5g garlic powder
(can use garlic salt and just dont add salt)
10g salt
5g ground black pepper
5g paprika
1.5 tsp thyme leaves
(i didnt add these it still turned out good)

100mL soy sauce
60mL lemon juice
60mL vegetable oil
300mL water
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp mexican spice

Make mexican spice.
Mix all marinade ingredients in bowl. Add beef strips. Marinade in fridge for 2hrs or more.
Chop capsicum into strips. Slice onion.
Arrange grated carrot, grated cheese, sliced tomato, lettuce and sliced avocado on a plate
(or on the chopping board for a rustic look)
Cook beef in frypan on a very high heat
(want beef to sizzle, not simmer), pour off any juices. (if you do it in batches its easier to ensure sizzle) return beef to frypan and add capsicum and onion. cook until onion is soft and capsicum is starting to soften.Mix 1tbspn of mexican spice into the meat.
Heat tortillas in microwave for 30 seconds.
Place meat mix
(leave it in the frypan, looks better) veges, salsa, sour cream and tortillas on the table and let the tortilla creativity begin!

Fry meat on the BBQ instead of a frypan to avoid making the house smell like fajitas - also less dishes!
Use wholemeal tortillas for a healthier option
To make guacamole, mash avocado, add 1 tspn of lemon juice, 1tspn of tobasco and a sprig of thinly sliced spring onion
Leftover meat mix can be frozen, as can leftover tortillas!!
Use baby tortillas for kids, they'll love the ownership of creating their own dinner
You can substitute the beef for chicken
For vegetarian fajitas, skip the marinade step, and fry (or BBQ) strips of eggplant or zuchinni. Sprinkle the veges with Mexican Spice before serving.