Tuesday, June 30, 2009

No TWD for me this week

The TWD recipe for this week is Perfect Party Cake and was chosen by carol of Mix, Mix, Stir. I made it last year for a Daring Bakers challenge and I dont think it was the best cake I have ever made, so i decided to flag it this time. I was also away in christchurch for a long weekend and so had limited time available anyway.

Please check out the other TWDers though and you will see lots of wonderful cakes!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Daring Bakers June - Better Late than Never!

I must apologise for the lateness of my Daring Bakers challenge for June! The funny part is that I actually made the challenge a few weeks ago! But I was in Christchurch over the weekend and while I had every good intention of posting on my sister’s computer, time got away on me. This posting is also going to be a bit brief!

The June Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart... er... pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800's in England.

I have always wanted to make a bakewell tart ever since I tried a mini bakewell tart in a small village in yorkshire. Bakewell tart is a tart filled with jam (traditionally raspberry I think), a frangipane (ground almond mixture) and then topped with flaked almonds. I used my own home made peach and vanilla jam to fill the tart. The peach jam went really with the almond frangipane filling. We had the tart at a dinner party with friends in early June and I served it with the honey peach ice cream I made for the TWD challenge a few weeks ago – a perfect combination.

I really loved this tart and loved the opportunity to make it! See if the other Daring Bakers loved it here.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Friends for Lunch

On Sunday we had two of my university friends, their partners and children over for lunch. One of my friends lives in wellington and I hadn’t seen her for two years, and I don’t get to see the other one all that often as she lives an hour on the other side of Auckland, so it was a nice catch up. I made a tart for lunch. I think that is a good kind of thing to make for Sunday lunch. It is fairly light and also it doesn’t matter if it is served piping hot, warm or room temperature, it will still taste good.

I used another recipe from Rachel Allen, Bake for this tart, amending it somewhat to my tastes. The tart as written in the book was a goats cheese, spinach and potato tart. My tart was a feta, spinach and kumara tart, mostly because I don’t really like potato, but love kumara and goats cheese is a bit of an iffy thing to serve people for lunch as people tend to either love it or hate it. Instead of stirring the parmesan through the egg and cream custard used to fill the tart, I sprinkled it in the base of the blind baked shortcrust tart, covered that with spinach, then the kumara slices, dotted with feta and poured over the custard (4 eggs, ½ c cream, a pinch each of cayenne pepper and freshly ground nutmeg, salt and pepper). The tart was lovely. We had it with a baby spinach, chickpea and feta salad with a raspberry vinaigrette dressing.

I made the cute little cupcakes pictured above for pudding. They were lemon and poppyseed cupcakes with cream cheese icing and topped with some little flowers I made at one of my cake decorating classes last year (they last forever in an air tight container). They looked very sweet and were greatly appreciated by my friend’s almost 3 year old daughter.

Oh, and the two people I randomly picked to pay it forward to are Megan (who doesn’t have a blog but told me about the cake shop in Howick that I must visit) and Gaye from Laws of the Kitchen. Can you guys please e-mail me to confirm that you want to play (you will each need to agree to pay it forward to two people within 365 days) and if yes, your addresses. My e-mail is tcmatdavenportsharbourdotcodotnz

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

TWD - Coconut Roasted Pineapple Dacquoise

This week’s TWD recipe is coconut roasted pineapple dacquoise and was chosen by Andrea of Andrea in the Kitchen. This is another of those recipes that I would probably not have tried but for being part of the TWD group and another recipe that I was more than pleasantly surprises with.

While I have made many pavlovas and meringues before I have never made a dacquoise. I am not sure of the precise definition of a dacquoise but I would guess that it is a layered meringue cake. This particular dacquoise was layers of coconut and almond meringue layered with whipped white chocolate ganache and grilled pineapple. To say it was delicious would not be doing it justice.

I halved the recipe and made a really big dacquoise, so the full recipe must be ginormous! I also had to make a few other adjustments on account of not reading the recipe through properly before I began (a common fault of mine). I made the meringue layers on Friday night and only when I went to bake them did I realise that they had to be baked for 3 hours. Now, I thought that was a really long time. When I normally make pav or meringues, I cook them for no more than an hour and a half at a slightly higher heat than Dories suggested and then turn the heat off and leave them in the oven overnight. That is what I did in this case and it worked perfectly. I baked the meringue layers at 120c for 1 ½ hours and then switched the oven off and left them in there overnight. They turned out perfectly.

Layers of white chocolate ganache seemed just a bit rich for me, so I filled my layers with whipped cream, using the white chocolate ganache only on the top. I also didn’t have quite enough cream to be able to put it on the sides to stick the shredded coconut to, so I sprinkled the coconut on the top layer. We ate the dacquoise on Saturday night. My little sister came to visit – she had a 5 hour stopover before flying out to KL for a conference and we had the dacquoise for pudding. It was so delicious, but the three of us probably only ate about a 1/3 of it. I ended up throwing the rest of it out, which was a waste, but by the next day it had really softened, so I didn’t feel like I could even take it into the neighbours. It was so good though. I actually think it would be wonderful with raspberries rather than the pineapple.

See if the other TWDers loved it as much as I did here

Monday, June 22, 2009

not quite flowers

I made these cookies last week. They are meant to be flowers, but it was only after I cut them out that I realised that my flower cookie cutter is actually not very flower like! It had far too many petals. So, the flower cookies didn’t turn out as I had hoped, so I just made them a bit squiggly instead. On Saturday morning I went over to Millies and bought a new flower cutter. I can’t wait to use it.

Last night for dinner I made this delicious pasta dish. The recipe was from Rachel Allen Bake. It was a baked pasta dish, but the interesting part was that you didn’t have to pre-cook the pasta, just add boiling water and cream to it (I used evaporated milk which worked just as well) before you added the rest of the ingredients. The rest of the ingredients included a can of crushed tomatoes, capers, chopped olives, basil and I used chopped ham. Then you covered the top with parmesan, feta and grated cheddar. This dish was so simple, but really really delicious. I would definitely make this again. I was amazed that the pasta did cook through (there were a few crunchy bits on top, but I actually quite liked those). It was very tasty and made great leftovers for today’s lunch.

Friday, June 19, 2009

One of the best Caramel Slices

I think I have mentioned here many times before that caramel slice is my youngest sister’s absolute favourite thing. I think her favourite is chocolate base with chocolate topping, but I made this slice for her a couple of week’s ago. The recipe is from one of Bill Granger’s books. The base is a coconut (but not so you would notice) one and the topping is straight chocolate.

Those little white grains you can see on top of the cake are fleur de sel grains. Bill recommends sprinkling the caramel slice with fleur de sel to make it a bit more grown up. I don’t think I would have tried it if I hadn’t made those salted caramels from the daring bakers challenge last year, which absolutely out of this world! The slight saltiness of the fleur de sel works perfectly with the caramel and the chocolate. I wouldn’t try it with normal sea salt (unless you are a huge salt fan) as I think it would be too salty, but the fleur de sel is incredibly mild (and incredibly expensive!) and is just perfect.

On Wednesday night I made a barley, pumpkin and bacon risotto for dinner. Barley sounds like an unusual thing to make risotto from, but it actually works really well. You do have to cook it longer than for a normal risotto as the barley grains take a lot longer to soften. The barley also retains a lot more bite than rice does, but I really like that nuttiness. My husband said it was the best risotto he had tasted – can’t ask for much more than that!

Chocolate caramel slice (from Bill Granger Holiday)

225g unsalted butter
125g (1 cup) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
90g (1 cup) desiccated coconut
110g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
100g brown sugar
400ml tin condensed milk
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g good-quality dark chocolate
15g unsalted butter, extra
Preheat oven to 180C. Lightly grease and line a 20 x 30cm baking tin with non-stick baking paper.
Melt 125g of the butter. Sift flour and baking powder into a large bowl, add coconut, caster sugar and melted butter and stir until well combined.
Press the mixture firmly into the base of tin, place in oven and bake for 12 minutes or until light golden.
Meanwhile, place the remaining butter, brown sugar, condensed milk, golden syrup and vanilla extract in a medium size saucepan over a low heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar, bring to the boil then continue to cook, stirring over a low heat, for a further 5 minutes or until light golden. Remove from heat and pour evenly over base.
Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.
Once caramel is cool, place chocolate and the extra butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, stirring occasionally until chocolate has melted. Spread chocolate evenly over the caramel.
When chocolate has set, cut into squares.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pay It Forward

Some time ago one of my favourite bloggers, Lorraine from Not Quite Nigella participated in Pay It Forward, a round the world “game” in which you receive a parcel from someone somewhere in the world and then you have 365 days to “pay it forward” by on-sending a parcel to two other people. I was one of the very lucky recipients of Lorraine’s pay it forward parcels and my parcel arrived last Friday.

Lorraine did ask me what kind of things I liked, and so I told her that cupcake accessories are quite limited in NZ, so anything to do with cupcakes would be well received. I must say that I was so delighted to receive this lovely parcel full of cupcake decorations such as sugar flowers and roses, and cute cupcake cases. There was also some Australian chocolate covered macadamia nuts (macadamias are by far my favourite nut!) and the cutest koala shaped cookie cutters that are just too cute for words (for those of you haven’t guessed already, Lorraine is based in Sydney).

My favourite of all the items in my pay it forward parcel though are these cute little sugar princesses. They are just too adorable. I think I will have to wait until the next time my wee niece comes up to make some cute cupcakes to put these on. They are almost too cute to use!!

So, now it’s my turn to pay it forward. Please leave a comment on my blog by Monday 22 June, and I will randomly choose two people to pay it forward to.

And, thanks Lorraine – you are a star!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Steamed Puddings with Caramel Sauce

We have been on dinner party overload at our house of late. I guess after 8 months of not having anyone over, and then lots of friends wanting to come to see our new house, it’s a probable outcome. The pudding pictured above was one had when friends were over a couple of weeks ago.

For nibbles when they arrived, I had marinated some olives, had a dish of salted mixed nuts and made a delicious pea and feta dip which we had with mini grissini. I was actually a bit disappointed with the main, which was another recipe from Dish – chicken pieces stuffed with Italian sausage and cooked in a tomato and onion sauce, with crispy roast potatoes and a green salad. The chicken was nice for an everyday meal but didn’t seem quite special enough for a dinner party.

Pudding was very yummy though. The pudding was pumpkin and chocolate individual steamed puddings with a caramel sauce. The recipe is a Julie Le Clerc one that I pulled out of your home and garden magazine when she was the food editor (which tells you how long I have held onto the recipe for – it must be at least 8 years I think!). I love pumpkin, chocolate, steamed pudding and caramel all on their own, so the combination was going to be a great one for me and it was.

The puddings used steamed, mashed pumpkin which keeps the puddings very moist. The highlight for me was the caramel sauce – I love caramel anything and I eventually had to throw the rest of the sauce out as I kept going back to the fridge and dipping my spoon in!!

Pumpkin & Chocolate Puddings with Caramel Sauce (adapted from a Julie Le Clerc recipe – makes 6)

1/3 c rice bran oil
1/3 c raw sugar
1 egg
¾ c mashed pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp each baking powder and baking soda
¼ c wholewheat flour
½ c plain flour
½ c chopped dark chocolate

• Beat oil and sugar together, then beat in egg until thick and pale.
• Mix in pumpkin, vanilla and spices and then dry ingredients and lastly the chocolate.
• Spoon into 6 greased ramekins and bake for 25-30 minutes at 170c or until a sharp knife comes out clean
• Serve with the following caramel sauce:

100g butte
½ c cream
1 c brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla

• Combine ingredients in a small saucepan and stir over a gentle heat until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves
• Increase heat and boil for two minutes or until syrupy

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

TWD - Honey Peach Ice-Cream

This week’s TWD recipe is honey peach ice-cream and was chosen by Tommi of Brown Interior. It’s the middle of winter here, so ice-cream isn’t the first thing I would think of making on a winter’s afternoon, but it was actually the perfect accompaniment to the Daring bakers’ challenge this month (which I cant reveal yet of course but if you are a daring baker you will know what I mean). We had friends over for dinner on Saturday night and I made both – very delicious.

Peaches obviously aren’t in season here either, so I used canned. You were meant to poach the fresh peaches in honey to soften them. Because mine were already cooked, I drained them, warmed the honey and pureed the peaches and honey together. After doing this I read that you were meant to reserve some of the peaches to stir through the ice-cream just before it was ready. Oops. But in hindsight, I’m not sure that chunks of frozen peach would have been all that appealing.

To be honest, I am actually one of those freaky people who doesn’t really like stone fruit. In fact, I am not a big fruit eater at all. The only stone fruit I like are cherries (which I adore) and plums. I don’t like peaches, nectarines, apricots etc. But, I did like this ice-cream. I used quite a mild honey so that flavour wasn’t all that dominant. Because the peaches were pureed, the flavour wasn’t too strong. I would definitely make this ice-cream again and it is good to know that you can used canned fruit when the fresh stuff isn’t in season.

See how the other TWDers did here.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Baking for Hospice

Last week was another round of baking for hospice. I tried something different this time, making these cheesecake brownie bites. I made them in some new little cup cake cases which are purple with white spots –very cute!

The brownie bites are very easy to make. Simply make your favourite brownie recipe, spoon into cupcake cases, blend 125g cream cheese, ¼ c sugar, 1 tsp vanilla and an egg yolk together and dollop over the brownie mixture and then swirl with a tooth pick. These would be fabulous to take on a picnic as they are fairly sturdy, you don’t need to worry about icing getting everywhere and they are already in individual serves.

For those of you who might be wondering, the re-design of my blog is still happening - I am just waiting on the final version back from the designer. There were a few people who asked about a recipe index. At the moment you can find that right at the bottom of the page, but i will have it in a more obvious place once the re-design is complete.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Moccachino cupcakes

Yesterday I wrote about recipes from Dish magazine. Today my recipe comes from the latest issue of Taste magazine. I subscribe to three magazines – Dish, Taste and Cuisine. Taste is probably my least favourite, but I still keep subscribing to it as I don’t like to miss out!! The recipes in taste are a lot more basic than in the other two magazines and are more what I think of as every day recipes. I don’t tend to make nearly as many recipes from Taste as I do from Dish and Cuisine (especially Dish).

This month I was excited to see that one of my favourite food writers, Julie Le Clerc is now doing a monthly column for Taste. I have all of Julie le Clerc’s books and attended many of her classes when she taught occasionally at the Epicurean cook school. Julie is a fabulous baker, and her recipes in her first column for Taste were part of a baking special. All of the recipes caught my eye, but I made the recipe for moccachino cake last weekend when we had our neighbours in to have a look at our new house. Instead of making one big cake, I halved the recipe and made cupcakes.

This recipe was so easy. It was basically a melt and mix recipe, but the cake was still lovely and light, not heavy like some melt and mix cakes are. The cake didn’t have a really pronounced coffee flavour, but the chocolate wasn’t so strong that it out weighed the coffeness – it was actually a well balanced cake. The cakes were iced with a coffee buttercream icing and I put the little silver dragees on top, but chocolate coated coffee beans would have been quite appropriate.

These cakes are definitely worth trying!

Moccachino Cupcakes (adapted from a Julie Le Clerc recipe in Taste magazine)

1/3 c rice bran oil
1 tbsp instant coffee
1/3 c boiling water
50g dark chocolate
½ c & 2 tbsp sugar
¼ c cocoa
1 egg
½ c & 2 tbsp flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ c yoghurt

• Mix oil, coffee, boiling water and chocolate in a small saucepan and then warm over a gentle heat until the chocolate has melted
• Stir in the sugar and cocoa, until the sugar has dissolved. Leave to cool
• Stir in the egg (lightly beaten) then the flour and baking powder and lastly the yoghurt
• Spoon into cupcake cases and bake at 170c for 20-25 minutes
• When cold ice with buttercream icing made with 50 g butter, 1 ½ c icing sugar, 1 tsp vanilla and 2 tbsp hot strong coffee

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Delicious low fat cake

Dish magazine is my favourite cooking magazine. I love the recipes, style and presentation. The magazine has been grown out of the old Epicurean cook school which I used to attend every Saturday morning and lots of night classes as well. The Saturday classes were taught by Claire Aldous, who is the food editor of Dish. One of the reasons why I love the magazine so much is probably because I love Claire’s style of cooking and that has influenced the way that I cook.

We had friends over for dinner a couple of weeks ago and I cooked the whole menu from the latest issue of Dish. Our friends bought the nibbles, and for the main we had salmon baked with labne and lime, a barley and broad bean salad and a salad of oranges and carrots tossed through baby spinach. There was quite a Moroccan feel to the dinner – salmon is one of my favourite foods and with the yoghurt topping it was lovely and moist as well as tasty. The barley salad was meant to be a faro salad, but they didn’t have faro at the supermarket and barley is a very economical alternative.

Pudding was a lime and yoghurt cake which I served with poached quince and whipped cream. The photo really does belie how delicious this dessert was. The cake had very little flour and was mostly sour cream and yoghurt with eggs and the zest and juice of a lime. While the cake looked like a normal cake, it actually tasted like cheesecake – it had a very creamy texture, but probably only about 1/3 of the fat of a cheesecake. I would definitely make this cake again, as it was easy, utterly delicious and was enjoyed by everyone. We had 6 people for dinner and there were a few slices left over, so it could easily feed 8.

Lime and Yoghurt Cake (from Dish magazine)

5 eggs, separated
1/3 c sugar
3 tbsp honey
2/3 c flour
250g sour cream
250g thick plain yoghurt (I used Cyclops)
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp olive oil

• Whisk egg yolks, sugar and honey until thick and creamy
• Mix in flour, sour cream, yoghurt, zest and juice of lime and olive oil on low speed
• In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until firm peaks form (but not too firm)
• Fold egg whites into the other mixture (fold a little in first to loosen and then the rest)
• Spoon into a lined 20cm round cake tin and bake at 160c for 50 minutes or until set

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

TWD - Parisian Apple Tartlet

This week's TWD recipe was chosen by Jessica of My Baking Heart nd is Parisian Apple Tartlet. I must be honest and say that this is a recipe which didnt really appeal to me. I am not a huge lover of flaky pastry (although I do love short crust pastry!!) so the idea of an apple tart which was basically an apple on flaky pastry, dotted with butter and sprinkled with brown sugar, didnt really appeal.

But, I must say, I was very pleasantly surprised!! It's recipes like these that make you glad you bake with the other TWDers as I truly would not have tried this recipe but or it being picked. My husband and I both loved it. I used some rough flaky pastry that I had made some time ago and frozen. I used a gala apple as they are in season at the moment. The tart was delicious - enough brown sugar to make it slightly sweet and the butter dotted on top gave a lovely golden colour to the tart. We ate ours with mascarpone and it was very yummy.

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

Monday, June 8, 2009

Birthday cake Cookies

Last week I made these birthday cake cookies fir a friend for her birthday. They are simply round chocolate cut out cookies iced together in little stacks with chocolate melts which i tinted pink. I think they look great - very effective for something so simple.

Tonight for dinner we had one of our favourite quick and easy meals - pork mince stir fried with soy sauce, hoisin sauce, chinese cooking wine, coriander and noodles, served with roasted chopped peanuts on top and some greens (tonight was broccoli). I often change the sauces that I use with thes combination, adding fresh ginger, oyster sauce, sweet chilli sauce or black bean sauce as the mood takes me. It takes about 30 minutes in total to make this and it is really delicious. The perfect thing to have after a busy day (I was at a conference all day today so didnt feel like doing too much by the time I got home!)

Friday, June 5, 2009

You Want Pies with That - Childhood memory pies

Ellen at Kittymama chose the You Want Pies With That theme for May which is a childhood memory pie. I had to think long and hard about this one as I had a wonderful childhood and converting only one of my memories into a pie was going to be tricky. I think of my ideas for these kind of challenges when I am out running in the morning, and it was on such a run that I had my inspiration for this pie.

My Aunty Margaret is my Mum’s older sister. She and Uncle Bill don’t have any children of their own and when I was growing up my sisters and I would often go and stay with them in Dunedin, 2 ½ hours away from where we lived, in the school holidays. Sometimes I would go by myself, but usually with my sister next to me in age, Rachelle. We would have a wonderful time and be totally spoiled.

Aunty Margaret did the pastry baking in a local bakery in the mornings in those days. Uncle Bill was a TV technician, working from home, so while Aunty Margaret was at work in the mornings, we would play while Uncle Bill worked, mostly playing shops with an old cash register that Aunty Margaret had for that purpose, her cans, packets etc of food in her well stocked larder and real money – people were paid in cash those days and Aunty Margaret honestly used to give us real money to play with. I always had to be the shop keeper, and Rachelle the customer – the prerogative of the bossy older sister! I had a supermarket obsession even in those days (I think it is in my blood, my Grandad owned the equivalent of a 4 square shop, and I ended up being a check-out-chick at New World after school and in University holidays).

This big long story is leading onto the story of my pie!! Aunty Margaret’s specialty at the bakery she worked at was custard slice. I think custard slice is an iconic Kiwi creation – thickened custard sandwiched between layers of flaky pastry and topped with white icing and coconut. I didn’t really like them as a child, but if you ever get a chance to try a denheath’s custard square you must – they definitely take custard squares to another level. If you live in new Zealand you can order Denheath’s Custard Squares from their site – they are a treat not to be missed!

I digress, my pie in honour of Aunty Margaret’s custard square are mini custard pies. I was going to ice the top with white icing and sprinkle with coconut, but I thought that may have been gilding the lily a bit. The tarts are really easy to make and were very delicious. I made a small batch, using only 1 egg yolk, and got 5 small tarts. For someone who doesn’t really like flaky pastry all that much, I ate one of these quite happily. I had made my own rough puff pastry a while ago and there was a leftover bit in the freezer, but you could use bought sheets of flaky pastry. Check out the other pie makers childhood memory pies here.

Custard Pies in memory of holidays with Aunty Margaret and Uncle Bill

3 egg yolks
120g sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
200ml cream
200ml milk
2 tsp vanilla

• Whisk together yolks, sugar, cornflour, and then whisk in cream and milk.
• Cook over a low heat until thick
• Stir in vanilla and chill the custard
• Line muffin tins with thinly rolled puff pastry,. Fill each pie with custard and bake at 180c for about 20 minutes or until pastry is browned and custard has set

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Baking by Baked

Friday night is usually a pretty quiet night for us. We always have a drink at work, so by the time I get home I don’t usually feel like making something for dinner – usually it’s take aways and TV. Last Friday night was the same, but I really felt like baking something and I hadn’t made cookies for ages, so I got out Baked, a recipe book I bought after seeing it reviewed on Peabody’s blog and made these peanut butter and milk chocolate chunk cookies.

The cookie recipes in Baked seem to have an awful lot of eggs in them. Some of the recipes have 5 eggs to 240g butter which would make the dough far too sloppy to work with I would imagine. This particular recipe had only 2 eggs for a 240g butter recipe. I halved the recipe and also scaled the eggs back to one egg yolk rather than a whole egg. I prefer my cookies to be a bit robust and I think it is the eggs that give a flat cookie.

The recipe called for milk chocolate. The book said that milk chocolate is the perfect combination with peanut butter – and they are right! These were probably the nicest peanut butter and chocolate cookie I have tasted. I would definitely make these again. My half batch made about 16 large cookies and they were all gone by Saturday afternoon.

Dinner last night was pork schnitzel pan fried with sage leaves and chopped olives. I served it with a roast vegetable salad – roast red peppers, kumara and pumpkin tossed with home made dukkah and cooked green beans and drizzled with a dressing made with blended natural yoghurt, lemon juice and feta. The recipe was an adaptation of a recipe from Dish magazine and was so delicious!

Peanut butter and Milk Chocolate Chunk Cookies (adapted from Baked)

120g butter
½ c each castor sugar and dark brown sugar
½ c peanut butter
1 egg yolk
½ tsp vanilla
1 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
100g milk chocolate, cut into chunks

• Cream butter and sugars, add peanut butter and then egg yolk and vanilla
• Stir in flour and baking soda, then chocolate
• Roll into large balls and flatten slightly
• Bake at 180c for 14 minutes- they will still be a bit soft but will harden as they cool

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dinner Party Delights

Our first dinner party in our new house was a couple of weeks ago. It was a pretty casual affair – my two youngest sisters were up from Napier for the weekend, so it was us, them, one of their boyfriend’s and a young friend from work and her boyfriend who are about the same age as my youngest sister. We have just had our dining room chairs re-covered in a gorgeous bright turquoise fabric, so this was the first time sitting on those as well.

My youngest sister organised nibbles. The main was a roast of beef which I rubbed with dried mustard powder, salt and pepper before roasting. With that we had a yummy roast pumpkin and baby spinach salad with a tahini and yoghurt dressing and cous cous studded with dried cranberries, pine nuts, almonds and chopped coriander.

Pudding was my favourite part though. It was the tart pictured above, a caramel berry crumble tart. This pudding encompassed some of my favourite things – raspberries, caramel and crumble. Yum! The recipe is one that I pulled out of Delicious magazine a very long time ago. I can’t remember the writer whose recipe it is – other than that she is a Scottish lady called Sue someone. I did adapt the recipe slightly, making my own caramel rather than using store bought (I did this by microwaving in small bursts, ½ a tin of condensed milk, 1 tbsp each of brown sugar and golden syrup and about 25g butter), and using raspberries rather then the brambles specified in the recipe (I don’t think you can get those here). When I make this again (and I will as it was so delicious) I would use brown sugar rather than raw sugar, as the raw sugar granules were a bit big and left the texture of the crumble a little crunchy I thought.

Oh, and here is a sneak preview of our not quite finished kitchen. Still waiting on a few things to complete it, but it is so functional – I am loving it!!

If you love berries, caramel and crumble as much as I do, this is a must try recipe.

Caramel Berry Crumble Tart

• Line a tart tin with your favourite shortcrust pastry recipe (you don’t need to pre-cook the tart shell)
• Fill with 300g dulche de leuche (or use my caramel recipe above, cooled)
• Scatter over 1 cup berries of your choice (I used frozen and they were fine)
• Top with crumble made with 75g flour, 50g rolled oats, 75g raw sugar (I would use brown next time) with 75g butter rubbed in
• Bake at 180c for 35-40 minutes until golden

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

TWD - Cinnamon Squares

This week’s TWD recipe is Cinnamon Squares and was chosen by Tracey from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures. This is one recipe that I have had my eye on making for a while. The swirl of chocolate and cinnamon through the middle of the cake looks so appealing! The cake is meant to be iced with a chocolate icing, but mine isn’t – I will explain why below.

Friends of my husband’s called on Sunday morning to say that they were in Auckland and would be popping in on Sunday afternoon, so I decided to make my cinnamon squares for them coming. But they arrived while the cake still had about 15 minutes to go in the oven. So, I had to serve the cake warm with no icing on top. I was going to ice the rest of the cake, but there wasn’t actually much left of it.

I enjoyed the cake warm - it is a fairly robust cake and seemed to be a bit lighter when warm. I bet it was delicious with the chocolate icing on top, but it was also a nice plain cake. Very easy to make and I guess you could make lots of variations – raspberry jam swirled through the middle would be nice.

See what the other TWDers thought here.