Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Chai-Spiced White Chocolate Tart

I made this tart AGES ago and like the obsessive food blogger I am, took lots of pictures and meticulously edited and catalogued them.  I then promptly forgot all about them until this morning when I was looking for another bunch of images for another long-forgotten dish. Who knows what amazing things I could do if  my real life didn't keep distracting me.

Chai-Spiced White Chocolate Tart
slightly adapted from here

For the Pastry:
200g "00" flour
100g cold unsalted butter
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon iced water, if needed
Pinch of salt

For the Filling:
300g white chocolate, roughly chopped (I use one with hazelnuts.  If you are using plain white chocolate, throw a handful of chopped, toasted hazelnuts in.)
150ml cream
150ml milk
4 green cardamom pods, crushed
1 stick cinnamon
4 cloves
Pinch of salt
1/3 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 egg yolk

Make the Pastry:
Put all the pastry ingredients except the water, into a food processor and blitz until it comes together as a dough.  Use the extra water only if the dough is too dry.  Form into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Slide a baking sheet in the oven to heat up.

Take the pastry out of the refrigerator and and roll it out to line a greased 23 cm (9 in) loose-bottomed tart pan. Press the pastry into the sides and base of the pan, prick the base with a fork and trim off any excess pastry.

Line the pastry with baking paper, pour in some baking weights and bake for 15 minutes on the heated baking sheet. Remove the weights and paper and return the tart to the baking sheet in the oven to cake for a further 5 - 10 minutes, or until cooked through and golden. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Make the Filling:
Put the chopped chocolate into a heatproof bowl.

Put the cream, milk and spices into a medium pan, place over a medium heat and bring to a simmer.

Pour the hot cream mixture, through a sieve to strain out the whole spices, over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate melts.  Set aside to cool.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg together and add the cooled chocolate mixture.  

Pour the filling into the tart shell and bake for 15 minutes at 180C, then reduce the temperature to 130C and bake for a further 20 - 25 minutes or until golden and set.  Leave to cool to room temperature before slicing.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Mustard Pretzels

I've been doing a lot of yoga lately.  Twisting dough into pretzels is a change from twisting myself into one.

Mustard Pretzels
Makes 12
slightly adapted from here

For the Pretzels:
1 teaspon caster sugar
3 teaspoons dried yeast
60g unsalted butter, melted
657g bakers flour
3 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds, toasted and crushed

For he Boil:
110g baking soda
1 egg yolk whisked with 1 tablespoon water to make an egg wash

For the Seed Mix:
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
2 teaspoons onion flakes
1 teaspoon garlic granules
1 tablespoon nigella seeds

Make the Pretzels:
Combine the sugar, yeast and 375ml of lukewarm water in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Set aside for 10 minutes until foamy.

Add the butter, flour, salt and mustard seeds.  Using the dough hook, mix on low speed for about 7 minutes.  Scrape the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest on a warm spot for about an hour, or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 160C. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper.  Set aside.

Make the Boil:
In a large, wide pan, bring 2.5 litres of water to a boil and add the baking soda.

Make the Seed Mix:
Put all the seeds into a small bowl and mix:

Shape and Cook the Pretzels:
Divide the dough into twelve even portions and shape them into pretzels (see photo above).

Boil the pretzels in batches (about 3 at a time), for 30 seconds, then flip them over and boil for 30 seconds on the other side.  Use a slotted spoon to fish them out of the water and transfer them to the prepared baking sheet.

Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with the seed mix.  Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, until golden and cooked through.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting

We have recently been away to watch and support our youngest son Joey (and his team) represent Victoria at the Australian Junior Volleyball Championships on the Gold Coast. The week before this event (an event that he has been training for for months) he came down with a vicious virus that beat him up quite a bit. It robbed him of his energy and appetite and even saw him at the hospital one night. Though he managed to be just well enough to fly out with the team, he played the first few matches still sick. As the week progressed, he slowly recovered. He is still on the Gold Coast at a training camp, eating meals for elite athletes. I'm guessing I'm going to have to make another batch of these cupcakes for when he gets home. I'm pretty sure he'll have his appetite for something decadent by then, if I know my boy.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting
Makes 12

For the Cupcakes:
125ml water
110g unsalted butter, chopped
1 egg
80g plain, unsweetened Greek yoghurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
150g plain flour, sifted
¾ teaspoon baking soda, sifted
220g caster sugar
¼ teaspoon sea salt flakes
75g peanut butter (I use a natural one)
25g cocoa powder, sifted

For the Frosting:
300g caster sugar
75ml cold water
2 egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make the Cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 160C.  Line a 12 hole cupcake pan with paper liners.  Set aside.

Put the water and butter into a large saucepan and heat until the butter has melted.  Remove from the heat and add the egg, yoghurt, vanilla, flour, baking soda, sugar and salt. Whisk to combine.  Placea third of the batter into a separate bowl and add the peanut butter.  Whisk until incorporated and smooth. Set aside.

Add the cocoa powder to the remaining batter and mix until smooth. Spoon the peanut butter batter into the bottom of each liner.  Top with the chocolate mixture. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the Frosting:
Put the sugar, water, egg whites, cram of tartar and salt into a heatproof bowl.  Whisk with a hand held electric beater until smooth, about 30 seconds. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water.  Don't let the pan touch the water. Continue to whisk the mixture at high speed for 7 minutes, or until stiff and glossy.  Remove from the heat, add the vanilla and beat until incorporated.

Spoon the frosting into a piping bag and pipe generously onto each cupcake.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Zucchini, Asparagus and Goat Cheese Galette

A buttery, flaky crust filled with creamy cheese and bright veggies.  What more to do need to ring in Spring... apart from a nice crisp white, may be.

Zucchini, Asparagus and Goat Cheese Galette

For the Pastry:
1½ cup "00" flour
¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
115g cold, unsalted butter, diced
5 - 6 tablespoons iced water

For the Egg Wash:
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

For the Filling:
300g zucchini sliced into 1cm pieces (You can use any zucchini you like.  If you're lucky enough to get some baby zucchini with flowers, detach the flowers and reserve them. Cut the zucchni in half lengthwise.)
300g asparagus, tender ends only
180g soft goat cheese
¼ teaspoon sea salt flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
Zest of 1 lemon
1 egg
2 small red chillies
Handful basil leaves, divided
½ cup Parmesan cheese, divided

Make the Pastry:
Put the flour, Parmesan and salt into a large bowl.  Add the butter and rub it into the flour using your fingertips until the some of the butter is fully incorporated and some is in pea-size pieces (a rubble).  Add 4 tablespoons of the water and use your hands to bring the dough together.  Add more water if needed. Don't over work the dough.  Tip t out onto a piece of plastic film, wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Make the Egg Wash:
Combine the egg and water in a bowl and whisk together.  Set aside.

Make the Filling:
Preheat the oven to 210C. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper.  Set aside.

Spread the asparagus and zucchini over the prepared baking sheet, season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 20 minutes.  Set aside.

Combine the goat cheese, zest and egg in a bowl and mix until combined. Set aside.

Make the Galette:
Line a large baking sheet with baking paper.  Set aside.

Roll the pastry out to a 30cm round on a lightly floured work surface. Transfer it to the prepared baking sheet.

Spread the goat cheese mixture over the dough, leaving a 2cm border around the edges.  Sprinkle with half the Parmesan, then arrange the roasted zucchini, asparagus, chillies, half the basil and the reserved zucchini flowers if using, evenly over the top. 

Fold the edges of the dough into the centre. Brush the exposed edges of the dough with the egg wash and sprinkle the rest of the Parmesan over the lot.

Bake for 30 minutes, until the crust is golden and filling is hot. Scatter the remaining fresh basil over.

Leave to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Raw Vegan Caramel Slice

I'm at a stage in my life where I just accept that I'm going to eat two pieces of caramel slice for my lunch and there's no point in arguing with myself about it.

Raw Vegan Caramel Slice
slightly adapted from here

For the Base:
120g blanched, sliced almonds
25g desiccated coconut
6 medjool dates, pitted
60ml melted coconut oil, cooled

For the Filling:
20 medjool dates, pitted
240g almond butter
125ml maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Topping:
60g coconut oil
80ml maple syrup
35 raw cacao powder

Make the Base:
Line a 20cm square cake pan with baking paper.  Set aside.

Place the almonds, coconut, dates and oil into a food processor and blitz to moist crumbs.  Scrape into the prepared pan and press firmly, making it as even as possible.  Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Make the Filling:
Put all of the filling ingredients into a food processor and blitz until as smooth as possible. Spread evenly over the chilled base and return to the freezer for another 15 minutes.

Make the Topping:
Put all the topping ingredients into a heatproof bowl and suspend the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water.  Stir until melted and smooth, then pour over the filling.  Smooth out to the edges and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before cutting.  Use a hot knife to slice.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Spiced Orange Cake with Rum Raisin Ice Cream

This is the kind of cake you bake when your hens are laying like the clappers and your orange trees are sighing with relief every time you pluck a golden orb from its branches... which would be right about now in my world.

Spiced Orange Cake with Rum Raisin Ice Cream
adapted from here

For the Ice Cream:
1 cup sultanas
1 cup dark rum
150g caster sugar
6 egg yolks
500ml full cream milk
500ml cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the Cake:
3 whole oranges
300g ground almonds
300g caster sugar
2 teaspoons baking poweder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
7 eggs

Make the Ice Cream:
Put the rum and sultanas into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave to soak overnight. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons of the rum. Blitz half of the sultanas in a small food processor to make a paste. Set aside.

Place the sugar and yolks into a medium saucepan.  Whisk until pale and thick, about 2 minutes, add milk and stir until smooth.  Place over medium heat, and stir until the mixture thickens and can coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes.  Strain through a fine sieve into a large bowl.  Add sultanas, sultana paste, reserved rum, cream and vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the custard, and refrigerate until completely cold.  

Churn in an ice cream machine according to manufacturers instructions.  Eat straight away, or spoon into a freezer-safe container and chill in the freezer to firm up.

Make the Cake:
Put whole oranges (unpeeled) in a saucepan.  Cover with cold water, bring to the boil, reduce to simmer and cook for 2 hours, then drain.  When cool, cut in half and remove the pips, then put them (skin and all) into a food processor and blitz until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 160C.  Grease and line a 24cm round cake tin.  Set aside.

Weigh the orange pulp.  You'll need 450g (discard the rest). Place it back in the food processor, along with all the dry ingredients and the eggs, one at a time, until the batter is smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for about 60 - 80 minutes, or until the sides start to come away from the tin.  If the cake is browning too quickly, cover loosely with foil.

Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin before turning it out.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Roasted Pumpkin and Walnut Salad

At this time of the year, just about every local cafe is selling pumpkin soup as their "soup of the day". Me to the cafes "Come on guys, pumpkin has so much more to offer!!!" (Not to mention, I'd love a bowl of leek and potato soup, or minestrone just to mix things up a bit). If you, like me, can't face another bowl of pumpkin soup without going postal, give this warm spiced salad a try. 

Roasted Pumpkin and Walnut Salad
Serves 4

1kg butternut pumpkin, cut into 1cm thick wedges
2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons ground cummin
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
½ cup parsley leaves, roughly chopped
½ cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
½ cup labne

Preheat the oven to 200C.  Line a baking tray with baking paper.  Set aside.

Put the pumpkin wedges into a bowl.  Set aside.

Put the garlic, cumin, sweet paprika, smoked paprika, lemon zest and juice, salt, olive oil, pomegranate molasses into a bowl and whisk together. Pour 2 tablespoons of it into the bowl with the pumpkin. Toss to coat and lay the pumpkin wedges onto the prepared tray.  Roast for 45 - 50 minutes, until tender and golden.  Remove from the oven and arrange on a serving platter.

Spread the walnuts onto the tray and roast for about 5 minutes, until toasted.  Scatter them over the pumpkin.  Dollop the labne on top and drizzle over the remaining dressing (spiced oil mixture). Finally, sprinkle with parsely and mint.