Thursday, July 30, 2009


If I was choosing a cake at a bakery or a cake shop, I am not sure that I would choose a lamington. I love cream with a passion, but shop bought lamingtons never seem to have a great cream to cake ratio for me.

Last week I had half a bottle of cream in the fridge and felt inspired to make some sort of cream cake. I have never made lamingtons before and thought I would give them a try. For those readers who don’t know what lamingtons are, they are an Australasian (NZ and Australia) creation from what I can gather – pieces of sponge cake dipped in either a chocolate or raspberry syrup, rolled in coconut and preferably filled with lots of whipped cream.

Often home made lamingtons are actually made with shop bought sponge. I (of course) wanted to make everything from scratch, so turned to the recipe for lamingtons from my favourite kiwi baking book, Ladies, A Plate. The sponge was a very easy two egg sponge, baked in a square 20cm pan. You then leave the sponge to cool, cut into squares, freeze (to stop the cake crumbing as you dip) and then dip firstly in your chosen syrup and then secondly in coconut. Even though I am huge fan of chocolate, I prefer raspberry lamingtons, as I often find the chocolate syrup too strong. Raspberry lamington syrup is easily made by making a packet raspberry jelly and leaving to semi set until it is the consistency of egg white. This was so much easier than I thought. You could actually use any flavour jelly you want, but raspberry is traditional.

I filled the lamingtons with a generous amount of whipped cream (flavoured with vanilla and icing sugar), topped with little icing flowers to make them look pretty and took them into work for morning tea where they were greatly appreciated.

Raspberry lamingtons (from Ladies, A Plate)

115g butter
150g castor sugar
2 eggs
180g flour
1 tsp baking powder
115ml milk
1 tsp vanilla

• Cream butter and sugar, then add in eggs one at a time
• Combine flour with baking powder and milk with vanilla
• Mix alternately the flour mixture and milk mixture into the creamed mixture
• Spread into a 20cm square lined tin and bake at 180c for 20 minutes
• Once cold, cut into squares, freeze for about 15 minutes, then dip each square into jelly made as per the packet instructions, but only set partially until it is the consistency of egg white
• Once dipped in jelly, dip in coconut and leave to set
• Serve filled with whipped cream

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Caterpillar Cookies

It was my cousin’s three year old son’s birthday a couple of weekend’s ago. I made these cute little caterpillar cookies to take along to the party. And the kids actually ate them. I often think that kids just eat the icing off cookies, but they do seem to like shortbread biscuits. These caterpillars have got a good ratio of icing to biscuit I guess.

I haven’t blogged about “what we had for dinner” for a while, and I know that some of the people that read this blog like to know easy week night meal ideas. Last night we had free range pork chops which I marinated in maple syrup, olive oil and Dijon mustard and then roasted on top of slices of fresh pear. To go with it I roasted red onions and kumara (my favourite kumara is by far the orange kumara which has a much softer and sweeter flesh when cooked than the purple), then tossed them with balsamic drizzle (a Telegraph Hill product which is balsamic vinegar reduced until it becomes sticky, sweet and caramelised), crumbled feta cheese and baby spinach leaves. I don’t like pork chops, but my husband does and he loved these. I ate more than my fair share of the kumara salad though, as kumara is one of my favourite things.

I bought the organic kumara from the Takapuna Sunday market which has fabulous produce. I try and go every second weekend but have been a bit remiss lately and I think that last Sunday was the first time I had been in a couple of months. For about $20 I bought mandarins, broccoli, organic garlic, organic kumara, red onions, rosemary, parsley and apples. I also bought a jar of the most wonderful peanutbutter from a man who normally sells it at the Nelson farmers market. I hope to see him at Takapuna again.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

TWD - Vanilla Ice Cream

This week’s TWD challenge was vanilla ice cream and was chosen by Lyn of café Lynnylu. I decided to make only 1/3 of the recipe as we weren’t doing any entertaining this week and ice cream isn’t something you really crave in the middle of winter. But after I made the ice cream I so wished that I had made the whole recipe – this is some of the best ice cream I have tasted!

The recipe was quite rich with two egg yolks for every 2/3 c milk and 1/3 c cream. I made the vanilla custard on Saturday and churned it on Sunday. The vanilla custard even without churning into ice-cream was absolutely delicious. Instead of infusing a vanilla bean into the milk and cream, I used vanilla sugar (which I make myself by storing a split vanilla pod in a canister of castor sugar) and also about ¼ tsp of vanilla paste.

I looked at all the variations to the ice cream and thought that mint chocolate chip sounded yummy, but because I had made my base so vanillary (not a word, but you know what I mean) I thought by adding mint I might have competing flavours. So I decided to make what would be my favourite flavour, if you could get it commercially – vanilla, double chocolate ice cream. I added chopped semi sweet chocolate chunks and chopped white chocolate chunks during the last minute of churning. It was divine!

Unfortunately because I only made 1/3 of the mixture, my ice cream only made two generous scoops. I decided to have ice-cream for lunch yesterday. I scooped myself one generous scoop and ate it slowly to savour each delicious mouthful. Then I asked my husband if he wanted any ice cream. When he said no, I greedily at the second scoop. It was sooooo good. I really wished there was more in the freezer that I could go and make now. I will definitely be making this again.

See what variations the other TWDers made here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Daring Bakers - July, Mallows

It is Daring Bakers time again and I was so excited by the recipe for July. There were two types of cookies that we could choose from – or do both if you wanted. I chose the cookies called Mallows – these are pretty much like a home made mallowpuff.

These cookies would almost be my favourite Daring Baker challenge yet. I loved them because they look amazing, but were actually very easy to make. The biscuit base is a plain little biscuit with a hint of cinnamon. They are not sweet enough to eat just by themselves, but are just perfect when you put the marshmallow topping on. The topping is marshmallow made by beating egg whites and then pouring in a hot sugar syrup. The marshmallow even by itself was deliciously light. You pipe the marshmallow onto the little cookies, leave them to set and then dip the whole thing in melted chocolate. Amazingly delicious.

I made only 1/3 of the recipe for the bases, but I did make the full marshmallow recipe. I poured the rest of the marshmallow into a tin, drizzled it with some left over melted chocolate and cut it into pieces.

I will definitely be making these cookies again. They are easy to make but impressive enough that people will think you are so clever!

The July Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

Check out the other Daring bakers here.

Friday, July 24, 2009

On a Mission

I have mentioned on my blog a number of times that caramel slice is my youngest sister’s favourite. To be completely honest, it is actually my favourite too and I love making it. Tan slice is probably my favourite style of caramel slice – particularly chocolate tan slice. When I was in Christchurch a few weeks ago my Dad and I went to the Cup, a wonderful café in the Cashmere hills. I had the most delicious piece of tan slice there. A vanilla tan slice, but with thick caramel and chocolate chips as well as the crumble on the top. Oh my goodness, it was so good!

Last weekend my second to youngest sister was up, so I made some chocolate tan slice for her to take home with her (my two youngest sister live in the same town). I always like to make new recipes, even though I have a fabulous chocolate tan square recipe that I have devised myself and which I have put on my blog in the past. I had a look through some books and found a recipe for an oaty tan slice in Allyson Gofton’s book Bake. I decided to make it a chocolate oaty tan slice as Hayley prefers chocolate slices, so I took out ¼ c flour and added in ¼ c dutched cocoa. The oats were actually a bit of a token gesture and unless you knew they were there, I don’t think you would notice them. I also found that the mixture was a bit dry and didn’t make enough for the topping – I had to add a few more oats and butter to stretch it to cover the base. So, I don’t actually rate this recipe that much and even though it looks delicious (and was delicious) it was not a recipe I would put in my recipe book if I was writing one (being my life long dream!). If you want a delicious chocolate tan slice recipe go to my recipe here.

Oh, and if you are ever in a café and try a piece of caramel slice that you think is the best, let me know what it is like so I can try and re-create it. I am on a life long mission for the best ever caramel slice

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pressed Cookies

It was a rainy Saturday afternoon a couple of weeks ago and I felt like doing some baking. I suddenly remembered my cookie press which my parents in law gave me to me for my birthday some time ago. It’s been packed up for a while with having moved, built etc. Pressed cookies are not a huge thing in New Zealand so the only recipes I have seen for them have been on the internet, and also a whole ago there was a recipe in Cuisine magazine. I dug out the appropriate cuisine magazine and made these little pressed biscuits.

It was quite a frustrating experience as the bottom of my cookie press kept unscrewing as I was pressing – I’m not sure that I had it on tightly enough. It took me about 20 minutes to press one tray of cookies, and I only made little flowers as unscrewing the bottom to put in different discs was a bit of a mission. The whole experience was a little like running a marathon (well, a half marathon in my case – I haven’t attempted the full distance yet) – during it you think, this is so awful, I’m never doing this again, but when you see the finished results (pretty, light, slightly spicy chocolate cookies) you think it wasn’t so bad and I will try this again soon!

On Monday night I was home alone and made my old stand by which I had in the past when my husband was more regularly away for business – corn soup. The recipe is based on one from Bill Granger’s first book, Sydney Food and is essentially ginger, spring onions and corn (I use frozen) cooked in chicken stock and seasoned with soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine and sesame oil. I love it. The flavours are incredibly clean and fresh and it takes only about 10 minutes from start to finish to make – the perfect home alone meal.

Chocolate Pressed Cookies (adapted from Fiona Smith recipe in Cuisine)

175g butter
½ c sugar
1 egg yolk
1 ½ c flour
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp cocoa
½ tsp mixed spice

• Cream butter and sugar, beat in egg yolk and vanilla
• Then stir through dry ingredients
• If you have a cookie press, follow the instructions to press the dough into pretty shaped cookies. If not, either roll into a log, chill and slice or roll into balls and flatten with a fork
• Bake at 180c for 15 minutes

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

TWD - Raspberry Blanc-Manger

This week’s TWD recipe is Raspberry Blancmanger and was chosen by Susan of Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy. I have to admit, looking at all the photos in the book, this is probably the recipe I would be least likely to choose to make, and I was a little reluctant. But, OH MY GOODNESS, do not judge a book by its cover!! The blancmanger was absolutely delicious and the most fantastically easy summery pudding.

I imagined blancmanger to be a bit like cold curdled custard – I am not sure where I got this impression from, but I think the thing it is closer to is ambrosia, an easy pudding made with whipped cream, yoghurt and marshmallows. The blancmanger is made by combining milk warmed with sugar and ground almonds, lightly whipped cream and gelatine. You then fold through raspberries or the fruit of your choice. It is the middle of winter here, so not exactly raspberry season, so I bought some frozen raspberries which I defrosted on a paper towel before folding into the pudding.

I made a third of the recipe which made one cute little heart shaped pudding (pictured above) and a 10cm round pudding as well. I was a little nervous turning the pudding out, but I followed Dorie’s instructions to dip the container in hot water for a few seconds before turning out. It worked like a dream. We loved this pudding and I will certainly be making it again! Thanks to Susan for a great choice and for making me get out of my comfort zone.

See if the other TWDers enjoyed it as much as we did here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Chic Shortbread

Just a short post today – I made and decorated these handbag and shoe cookies for a work colleague’s birthday. They still didn’t turn out quite as perfectly as I would have liked, but that’s probably because I don’t practice enough. The shortbread do taste delicious though!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Love em or hate em

It is tamarillo season in New Zealand. I have never really eaten afresh tamarillos – when I buy them I use them to make tamarillo relish which is one of my favourites. But a couple of weeks ago we has friends over for dinner and I tried out a recipe from Dish magazine which was chocolate puddings with melting centres and tamarillos poached in a mint syrup. We had them with vanilla bean ice cream. I absolutely loved the chocolate pudding which was one of the nicest I have made, but the tamarillos were yuck – way too sour for me and they didn’t seem to taste of anything even after being poached in the sweet syrup. Our guests loved the tamarillos, but neither my husband nor I ate them. I was going to post about the puddings, but my photo was taken in a rush and was blurry and did not do the puddings justice (I had only made enough for the 6 of us to eat and I am still at that slightly embarrassed stage that I am photographing food before we eat it!).

I still had 5 tamarillos in the fruit bowl and I hate to waste things so I thought I would make my husband some tamarillo muffins – even though he doesn’t like tamarillos I thought that the muffin might disguise any overwhelming tamarillo taste. I based my muffins on a recipe in Allyson Gofton’s new book, Bake, substituting some of the white flour for wholemeal and using rice bran oil instead of butter. The muffins have lovely texture and look great, but unfortunately I couldn’t fool my husband and he doesn’t really like them. So tonight, I will be making his favourite – banana bran muffins with dried apricots. I have still included the tamarillo muffin below for those of you who love tamarillos. You could substitute the tamarillos for other fruit like diced mango, peaches, apricots, blueberries etc.

Tamarillo and Cinnamon Muffins (adapted from Allyson Gofton, Bake)

4 tamarillos, blanched, peeled and diced
1/2 c flour
1 c wholemeal flour
1/3 c sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
½ c yoghurt
1 egg
1/3 c milk
¼ c rice bran oil

• Combine dry ingredients
• Whisk together yoghurt, egg, milk and oil
• Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, pour in wet ingredients and tamarillos, mix gently – do not over mix, it’s ok if there are still bits of flour in the mixture
• Spoon into greased or lined muffin tins and bake at 200c (not fanbake) for 16-18 minutes

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Easy Peasy

I have always loved cooking and especially baking. By the time I left university I already owned a few cook books – mostly Australian Womens Weekly books and some of those fundraiser type cook books which since then have become some of my most prized possessions. I have also always loved watching cooking shows on tv – although up until the last 8 or so years these have been few and far between. I probably didn’t realise how serious my addiction to cooking was until my husband (to be at that stage) and I bought our own place – a small one bedroom apartment above the bike shop we owned at the time (push bike, not motor bike!). The apartment was brand new and having my own kitchen, that no-one else would ever cook in, after six years of flatting, was bliss.

At that time the celebrity chef thing had not quite taken off, but in New Zealand we had Jo Seagar, the cook who unashamedly used copious amounts of cream and butter in her somewhat traditional New Zealand cooking and who coined the phrase that her cooking was “easy peasy”. I remember feverishly writing down the recipes as I watched the programme. She started publishing books as well with titles such as “You shouldn’t have gone to so much trouble darling”. I had three of Jo’s books and at the time I loved them as the recipes were indeed “easy peasy” and used simple ingredients to get great results.

The next few years celebrity chefs were the thing and I got lost in the world of Jamie, Nigella and others. But, I have recently gone back to looking at my Jo Seagar books. I actually have her two most recent books, based on recipes cooked in her cooking school and café which she has in Oxford in North Canterbury. I have been there once with my mother and grandmother. And Jo is back on Food TV – I watch her shows on Saturday afternoons. I still much prefer the style of Annabel Langbein, Ruth Pretty and other NZ food writers, but Jo Seagar, is still worthwhile having on your shelf. I made these triple chocolate oat cookies from one of her more recent books and it is a winner.

Triple Chocolate Oat Cookies (from Jo Seagar Cooks)

250g butter
¾ c sugar
3 tbsp condensed milk
½ tsp vanilla
1 ½ c rolled oats
1 ½ c flour
1 tsp baking powder
¾ c each chopped white chocolate, dark chocolate and milk chocolate (I just used a mixture of white chocolate and dark chocolate chips)

• Cream butter and sugar, then beat in condensed milk and vanilla
• Stir in dry ingredients and then chocolate
• Roll into balls and flatten with a fork
• Bake at 180c for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

TWD - Brioche Plum Tart

This week’s TWD recipe is brioche plum tart and was chosen by Denise of Chez Us. One thing I liked about this brioche was that Dorie said that the French would call it a poor or skinny brioche because it has a small amount of butter and eggs compared to normal brioche – this appealed to the fitness freak side of me. I also liked that you added melted butter to the dough rather than softened butter that you add a cube at a time like with normal brioche. This made the brioche dough so easy to make and I am really not sure that the end result was any different.

Plums are not in season in NZ at the moment, but I really wanted to make the tart with plums rather than a variation, so I bought some Californian plums – something I never usually do as I hate buying fruit that isn’t local or is out of season. I also didn’t have any plum jam and when I walked to the supermarket to get some, they didn’t have my favourite Barkers plum jam, so I decided to use nutella instead. I actually think my variation was quite inspired (but have since read on the brioche thread that others also decided to use nutella). I love brioche with chocolate in it and so the nutella appealed to me.

I halved the recipe and made 4 tartlets – two in mini tart tins and two in mini brioche tins. The dough is spread with the ham – or nutella, the plum slices placed on top and the lot sprinkled with chopped almonds and sugar. I ate mine warm from the oven spread with extra nutella. These were nice, but I don’t think I would be racing to make them again. See if the other TWDers liked the tart here.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Housewarming Houses

My friends moved into a new house a couple of weeks ago and so over the weekend I made them these little gingerbread houses as a house warming gift. I am not so good at cookie decorating if I don’t have something to copy – so these houses are a little dull. I couldn’t seem to find any pictures of fairly basically iced house cookies – only really fancy ones that I wouldn’t have had a hope of being able to copy. If anyone has seen any cute easy to copy gingerbread houses on the internet, can you please post a link as a comment to give me a head start next time I have a friend move house!

Saturday night was a rare night at home for us with nothing on. I made a really delicious home made pizza for dinner before we settled down to watch the tour de France go through Andorra – this was so much fun as we followed parts of the tour de France five years ago and spent a couple of nights in the gorgeous principality of Andorra. I made a basic tomato sauce for the pizza by reducing a can of crushed tomatoes with some red wine and then mixing in some crushed garlic, salt, pepper and a little sugar. I topped the pizza with roast pumpkin, olives, crumbled feta and parmesan. It was delicious.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Ginger and Walnut Cupcakes

It has been so long since I did some baking and brought it into work, that I thought I better do some. My poor work colleagues – when we started building the house, the builders got all the baking. Even though we finished that two months ago, I’ve been a bit remiss about bringing in morning tea.

So I decided to bring in cupcakes for morning tea today. Recently I got from the library a NZ book called Divine Cupcakes and it had a recipe in it for ginger cupcakes with ginger caramel icing and little gingerbread hearts on them – it really captured my imagination so I decided to do something similar for morning tea.

I actually used the gingerbread cupcakes from the crapbapple bakery recipe book. I played around with the recipe a bit, using sour cream instead of yoghurt and upping the spice quantities. The cupcakes have a little sliced crystallised ginger in them and also some walnuts which add a bit of interest. I used the divine cupcake recipe for the icing which makes a lovely creamy icing. I made little heart shaped gingerbread using a peggy porshen recipe. I normally use an Annabel Langbein recipe for gingerbread biscuits, but wanted to try something different and I really liked the peggy porshen recipe which uses muscavado sugar in it.

I think the cupcakes look so cute, and I am sure that everyone at work appreciated them too!

Ginger and Walnut Cupcakes (adapted from Crabapple Bakery Cook book)

150g butter
1 ¾ c sugar
4 eggs
1 ½ tsp vanilla
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 c flour
¼ tsp b soda
2 tsp ginger
½ tsp allspice
2/3 c natural yoghurt
1/3 c chopped crystallised ginger (I used preserved)
¾ c chopped walnuts

• Cream butter and sugar, then beat in eggs one at a time and lastly vanilla and grated ginger
• Combine dry ingredients and stir into butter mixture alternately with sour cream
• Stir in chopped ginger and walnuts
• Spoon into cupcake cases and bake at 170c for 20-25 minutes
• When cold frost with ginger caramel icing

Caramel Ginger icing

125g butter
200g brown sugar
80ml cream
1 tbsp ground ginger
500g icing sugar

• Melt together butter and brown sugar, then boil for 2-3 minutes
• Stir in cream and ground ginger. Leave to cool until lukewarm
• Mix in icing sugar, leave to cool and then beat until fluffy (I added a bit more cream to loosen the mixture)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Quick and Easy Bread

I made this fabulous bread in the weekend that I adapted from a Julie Biuso recipe that I cut out of Taste magazine a while ago. It is a really easy bread to make, as all you do is mix the ingredients together, pop into your loaf tin and bake – no rising, kneading or waiting. It’s kind of similar to soda bread, but nicer as it has that yeasty taste to it rather than a soda taste. We ate a few slices warm with butter when it came out of the oven, had some more as mouse traps on Sunday for lunch and I sliced and froze the rest.

For those of you that don’t know what mouse traps are, I guess the best way to describe them is that they are a bit like cheese toasties or even welsh rarebit. I make them by mixing together grated cheese, an egg, my secret ingredient of a good spoonful of wholegrain mustard and then bits and pieces that may be in the fridge – chopped ham, tomato, red pepper, chopped herbs, crushed pineapple – pretty much whatever. On Sunday I used roasted red pepper and corn. Very yummy!

Last night for dinner I made the yummiest pork meatballs. I added fresh breadcrumbs, grated fresh ginger, hoisin sauce and chopped coriander to pork mince, seasoned, rolled into balls and oven baked for 12 minutes. We had these with extra hoisin on the side, brown rice and bok choy stir fried with garlic, ginger and oyster sauce – one of my favourite kinds of meals.

Grainy Bread (adapted from Julie Biuso recipe in Taste)

2 tsp dried fast active dried yeast
½ tsp raw sugar
425ml warm water
3 tbsp each rye flakes, linseed and wheatgerm
1 tsp salt
1 c plain flour
2 c wholemeal flour
1 egg, lightly beaten

• Combine yeast, sugar and water and set aside
• Combine remaining dry ingredients. Make a well in the centre, pour in the egg and then the yeast mixture
• Stir with a wooden spoon to combine – the mixture will be porridge like
• Pour into greased loaf tin and bake 50-60 minutes at 200c until the loaf is crusty and sounds holoow when tapped on the bottom.
• Cool on rack

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

TWD - Tribute to Katherine Hepburn Brownies

This week’s TWD recipe is Tribute to Katherine Hepburn bownies and was chosen by Lisa of Surviving Oz. Lisa isn’t a regular TWD baker, but won the recent TWD logo competition and so got to choose a recipe. I had been curious about this recipe for a while – the name sounds slightly mysterious. I love Katherine Hepburn movies (especially those with Cary Grant in them as well!), and was interested to know that she was a brownie baker. While I am on the topic of KH though, I must say that I was disappointed with the portrayal of her by Cate Blanchett in that movie about Howard Hughes – I cant remember the name of it. I didn’t think Cate Blanchett was the right person to be playing Katherine Hepburn – although I don’t know who I think would be.

Back to the brownie. This was one of the best brownies I have ever made. The brownie batter didn’t have melted chocolate in it, just cocoa powder. I think brownies made with just cocoa powder often have more depth of flavour that those made with melted chocolate, especially if you use a dutched cocoa powder like I did. These brownies had very little flour and only two eggs. They were studded with chopped pecan nuts and chopped dark chocolate. They were subtly flavoured with coffee (which to be honest I couldn’t taste) and a small amount of cinnamon – detectable but not in a big way.

The brownie was baked for 30-35 minutes which gave a delicious fudgey texture. I would definitely make these brownies again – they baked up exactly as I like my brownie to be – dark, fudgey and small surprises with the chocolate chunks and pecans. See if the other TWDers enjoyed them as much here.

Monday, July 6, 2009

You Want Pies with That - Taste of Summer

This month’s You Want Pies with That theme is “a taste of Summer”. It is the middle of winter here at the moment, so conjuring up summer pies was kind of a hard one. I think one of the things that signifies summer to me is berries – I love strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, any kind of berries! Last summer I bought a large 2 kilo box of blueberries and froze them in 1 cup plastic bag lots for muffin making over the winter. I thought that they would also make a good pie for the taste of summer pie.

I had some leftover chocolate pastry in the freezer, so used that to make these little blueberry cheesecake pies. The filling is basically a cheesecake filling using cream cheese, yoghurt, vanilla, eggs and sugar. I made the pies in large muffin tins and managed to get four. They are quite big though – probably just a little larger than a single serve. I did really like the chocolate base though. There is something about chocolate pastry which is just delicious! Check out the other pies here.

Taste of Summer Blueberry Pies

Chocolate shortcrust pastry to line tins
80g cream cheese
50g natural yoghurt
1 egg
40g sugar
½ tsp vanilla
½ c blueberries

• Line muffin tins with chocolate pastry and blind bake
• Beat together cream cheese, yoghurt, egg, sugar and vanilla until smooth and creamy
• Divide blueberries evenly among the cooled pie cases. Spoon over the cheesecake mixture evenly
• Bake at 180c for 22-25 minutes or until set

Friday, July 3, 2009

My scullery

The shelving went into our scullery last week, so yay, the kitchen is now all finished. I thought you might like to see some photos. They are a bit blurry because I forgot to turn off the micro switch, but they give you the general idea. I am so delighted with how it has turned out. All the under bench pull outs house our food and supplies which leaves the shelving for things like books, more awkward kitchen pieces etc.

Behind those glass roller doors are my food processor and cake mixer and also the toaster, jug, toasted sandwich maker etc. Initially I was a bit nervous that I wouldn’t have enough space for all of my cook books, but I have so much space and more! I did a count and I have about 180 cook books. I love when other people post photos of their book collections and I can have a look at any titles that interest me, so if you have any questions about any of my books, post a comment.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Gluten Free Cakes

My Mother’s cousin came for lunch a couple of weeks ago. She is coeliac and so of course I made a gluten free lunch. I made a quiche with ham, spinach and feta in it and instead of using a pastry base, I used cooked brown rice mixed with an egg which I pre-baked. The recipe was in Taste magazine a few months ago. We had it with a baby spinach, cherry tomato and boccocini salad.

For pudding I wanted to make a gluten free cake, but not the obvious lemon and almond or orange and almond. I searched through my recipe box and actually found a number of recipes that, while not specifically marked gluten free, more or less were. My only concern was the ones with baking powder in them – I wasn’t sure whether normal baking powder is gluten free or not. So I ended up making these chocolate and ginger gluten free cakes. They actually had no flour substitute in them – simply butter, eggs and chocolate with sliced crystallised ginger sprinkled over the top. They were lovely moist little cakes and very quick and easy to prepare. We ate them with natural yoghurt.

Chocolate and Ginger Gluten Free Cakes (Julie Le Clerc)

150g butter
300g dark chocolate
3 eggs
1/3 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
½ c crystallised ginger

• Melt butter and chocolate together
• Beat eggs, sugar and vanilla together until thick, then stir in the chocolate mixture
• Spoon into cupcake cases and sprinkle sliced crystallised ginger over each cake
• Bake at 160c for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

An Old Favourite

When I was a child bran biscuits were always a staple in our house. Mum didn’t make them, but there was a wonderful bought bran biscuit that came in a yellow packet – I think the brand was kohi or something like that, which tasted pretty home made. I am not sure if you can still get them or not. As children we used to eat them with butter or with cheese. Sometimes I would eat them with peanut butter, as I pretty much love peanut butter on anything – pikelets, wine biscuits, crackers – anything!

Home made bran biscuits are really easy to make and are the perfect thing to have with cheese if you have guests coming over. I made bran biscuits a couple of weeks ago as a pre-dinner snack when some friends came over. They are easy to make – just mix, roll, cut out and bake. I like to make mine into rectangle biscuits, but you could cut them into rounds or whatever other shape you wanted to make. I served these with blue cheese and my home made quince paste (I had run out of blue cheese by the time I took the photo). They are delicious and if you haven’t tried them before, you should!

Last night for dinner we had boneless chicken thighs which I stuffed with breadcrumbs, sage and cottage cheese and wrapped in streaky bacon (loosely based on a recipe from cuisine magazine), with steamed cabbage tossed with fresh mint and roast kumara. Very delicious, but quick and easy.

Bran Biscuits (from the Edmonds book)

125g butter
¼ c sugar
1 egg
1 c bran flakes
1 c wholemeal flour
1 c plain flour
1 tsp baking powder

• Cream butter and sugar, beat in egg
• Stir in remaining in ingredients
• Roll out dough thinly, cut into shapes and bake at 180c for about 20 minutes