Tuesday, July 27, 2010

{Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt Cookies}





I found this recipe over at a delicious blog called baking=love which I believe is true, over there Nessie called them world peace cookies and prior to that they were called Korova Cookies after the restaurant in Paris they were originally created for, I've given them my own name as that's half the fun, they are really lush, cakey with a dense chocolate flavour and a little hit of salt, yum. I've been off the baking a bit this last week and concentrating on my crochet !! still you can't keep me out of the kitchen for long, there are always a dozen things I can't wait to make. So enjoy these, they are indeed special enough to bring about a bit of world peace.

...the cookies
2 1/2 cups plain flour
2/3 cup dark cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
300 g unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
300 g dark chocolate, cut into chunks

In a mixer cream butter until pale then add both sugars, salt and vanilla and beat for another couple of minutes. Sift in the flour, baking soda and cocoa and mix till combined, lastly add in the chocolate and mix through.

Lay out four sheets of plastic wrap about 30cm long, divide the mixture between them, its crumbly so tip it out and form it into a log with your hands then use the clingfilm to roll it twisting the ends into a 4cm wide log, so you finish with four logs. Pop them in the fridge for at least 3 hours before baking. Or place them in the freezer to use later.

Preheat the oven to 160 and line your baking tray with baking paper. Slice the logs into 1 cm thick slices and arrange on the baking tray leaving a little bit of room between. Bake for 12 minutes then take them out of the oven and leave them on the tray for a couple of minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

{Sourcream Banana Bundt with Chocolate Glaze}




This morning I whipped up this little bundt cake for my pal around the corner at who was going to make her own birthday cake today .... I think not .... Happy Birthday Bren, hope you enjoy it, it was baked with love x just look at that shiny glaze, you could check your lippy in it !

... bundt cake
115g butter
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tbsp milk
2 to 3 ripe mashed bananas

...chocolate glaze
100g dark chocolate chopped small
95ml cream
30g icing sugar

Preheat oven to 180. Brush your bundt tin with butter and then a fine layer of flour and pop it in the fridge till the batter is ready. Cream butter and brown sugar till pale, add eggs one at a time and combine. Sift in flour and baking soda, add in banana, sourcream and milk stir till combined. Dollop it into your tin and then pop it into the oven for 40 - 50 minutes til a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 20 minutes then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

To make the glaze, bring the cream to the boil, take off the heat and add in the chopped dark chocolate and stir it around then once its all melted add in the sifted icing sugar, stir it some more till smooth then drizzle over your bundt.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

{Apricot Ginger Square}




To celebrate conquering the granny square I made this for Jay the biggest pea in my pod, he loves apricot slice and this ones yummy and a bit zingy with the fresh ginger hit, this weekend I had made a white chocolate blondie for some friends who had us over for dinner, when we got home he asked "got any of that blondie here?" sadly no our cupboards were bare and he put his sad face on, so this one honey is all for you.



...the slice
250g butter
2 cups plain flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup apricot jam or preserve
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

Preheat your oven to 190. Grease and line a 20cm x 20cm baking tin.

Cream the butter and two sugars, add egg yolk and vanilla and give it another mix then tip in the flour, baking powder and salt and mix until the dough comes together and its a bit crumbly. Transfer 1/2 cup of the dough into a small bowl and pop it in the fridge.

Use your fingertips to press the remaining dough evenly into the baking dish, pushing the dough up slightly around the edges. Combine the jam and fresh ginger in a small bowl then spread the mixture evenly over the crust, leaving a 1cm border, lastly crumble the remaining refrigerated dough over the top. Bake until golden, about 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before cutting.

    Thursday, July 8, 2010

    {Biodegradable Orange Bird Feeder}





    How cute is this! we love feeding the birds at our house, they get all the toast, sandwich and soggy biscuit leftovers plus we have a bird feeder in the front garden which we fill with seeds most days, this is a little project I came across on rhythm of the home, we had lots of fun making it and now its hanging in a spot chosen by the wee peas and we are having even more fun watching it and our little feathery friends stopping by for nibbles.

    ...bird feeder
    one large orange
    skewer
    string
    birdseed

    Cut the top third of the orange off and scoop out the flesh from the big bit using a spoon.

    Poke a skewer thru diagonally in two directions then using the skewer poke the string thru the holes so it crosses over in the middle (see second photo).

    Fill with seed and hang in a tree.

    {Caramel Crumb}





    Sweet as, this is caramel crumb slice, its gooey and caramelly and the biscuit and crumbs are really soft and delicious, I made it for Jack who loves caramel milkshakes, I remember when I was little my favourite instant pudding flavour was the butterscotch one, so we have similar tastes, it seems both my boys have inherited my sweet tooth or maybe thats just a kid thing, what was your favourite instant pudding flavour?

    ...the caramel
    395g tin of condensed milk
    50g butter
    2 tbsp golden syrup
    pinch of salt

    ...the crumbs
    175g butter, softened
    ¼ cup sugar
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1½ cups plain flour
    ½ cup rolled oats

    Put the condensed milk, butter and golden syrup into a small saucepan and stir over a low heat for five minutes until the mixture becomes thick and golden. Add the pinch of salt and let it cool.

    Preheat the oven to 180. Grease and line the base of a slice tin around 23cm x 23cm with baking paper.

    In a mixer (or by hand) cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the flour and oats and mix it so it comes together like a crumble. Press 3/4 of the mixture over the base of the prepared tin, dip your fingers into flour to help. Pour over the cooled caramel and spread it out evenly then scatter over the remaining crumble mixture.


    Bake for 30–35 minutes until golden. Cool in the tin for 10–15 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool. Cut it into small squares.

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010

    {Playdough}






    Today we had so much fun making playdough, because its school holiday time and there is no kindy to break up the week we were in need of an activity, this is so fast and simple, Jack helped measure all the ingredients into the saucepan then once I'd cooked it he dripped and kneaded the colour into the four balls of dough, all in all it kept the kids busy and quiet for almost two hours! Little Billy played happily with the dough and since it has nothing nasty in it it didn't matter that he ate a bit !

    ...the dough
    2 cups flour
    1 cup salt
    1 tbsp vegetable oil
    2 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
    2 cups cold water
    food coloring

    In a medium saucepan, mix together the flour, salt, vegetable oil, cream of tartar, and water. Cook uncovered over medium heat for about five minutes stirring constantly until the dough is the consistency of lumpy mashed potatoes.

    Tip it onto a board and give it a bit of a knead, divide the dough into four equal balls with an indent in the middle, drip 6 to 8 drops of food coloring into each piece and knead the color into the dough this is the part Jack loves, watching them change colour before his eyes, once the balls are all coloured then play !

    If you store the playdough in a plastic bag or airtight container, it will stay nice and soft and last for ages.

    Monday, July 5, 2010

    {Beef Strogonoff}




    I mentioned in my lime custard bars post we were off to the country for the weekend with friends, it was gorgeous, chilly and filled with lots of little surprises like the tiny bats we found asleep on the outdoor furniture one morning, I loved the constant smell of wood fire smoke, we enjoyed a few bottles of red and on saturday night, my night to cook we had beef stroganoff with fresh pasta. 

    I prepared it early in the morning and then later that day while it was in the oven there was plenty of time to retreat into the sunny wintery garden with a cup of tea, a magazine, a horse looking over the fence for company and my excited happy boys busy exploring and collecting fire wood.

    ...the strog
    500g beef pieces (or use rump)
    2 medium onions, sliced
    250g sliced mushrooms
    3 cloves garlic crushed
    50g butter
    1 tbsp flour
    2 tbsp tomato paste
    1/2 cup red wine
    1 1/2 cups beef stock
    300ml sour cream
    2 tsp paprika
    s+p
    big handful flat leaf parsley

    Melt butter in a frypan, add onions mushrooms and garlic and cook for ten minutes on a medium heat, remove from pan. Season beef with salt, pepper and paprika add to hot pan and seal, brown on all sides (you may need to add a bit of olive oil to the pan here). Return mushroom mix to the pan and stir thru the flour, cook off for two minutes then add tomato paste and cook for another two minutes then add wine and stock and bring it to the boil. 


    Transfer to an oven proof dish with a lid and cook at 180 for 1.5 - 2 hours or until beef is tender (alternatively simmer gently for the same amount of time on the stove top covered). Once tender, stir thru sour cream, chopped parsley check seasoning and serve with fresh fettuccine, mash or even on rice.

    Friday, July 2, 2010

    {Lime Custard Slice}




    This is a rework of the lemon bars I posted earlier, Jay was given a bag of limes so I thought I'd try it with those, its just as good, so if lime is your thing then you'll love it, I gave it a new name too, just so it felt special. We are going away to the country for the weekend so I made it to share with our friends who kindly invited us to their family bach, its cold where we are going as its close to a mountain so I'm going to make a beef stroganoff tomorrow night, I'll post my recipe for that next week, have a good weekend.

    …the base
    225g unsalted butter, softened
    70g icing sugar
    275g plain flour

    …the lime custard
    400g caster sugar
    4 eggs
    4 tablespoons plain flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    Grated zest 2 limes
    90ml lime juice, strained

    Pop the softened butter and the icing sugar into your mixer and cream it (or you could do it by hand). Add the flour and combine until the mixture starts to form a ball. Tip into a lined swiss roll tin (or something at least 30 cm x 20 cm) and press flat, make sure its not too thick anywhere. If the mixture is sticky, dip your fingers into plain flour.

    Bake in oven preheated to 170 for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven. While the base is cooling, make the topping.

    Tip sugar and eggs into your bowl and mix them till pale, add the flour, baking powder, lime zest and juice whizz it till its all combined. Pour the mixture on top of the base then return it to the oven and bake for a further 30-35 minutes, or until pale golden in colour and firmish to the touch. Cool in the tin, cut it up and store in in an airtight container.

    {Chicken & Herb Stirfry}



    We overdid stirfrys about ten years ago when they were all the rage, and I ended up going right off them, they got too big, too many ingredients and so this is the only stirfry I cook these days, you can do it with chicken, beef or pork its best if you cut the meat really finely, if its still a little bit frozen then into matchsticks, yes matchsticks, it takes a minute but its worth it, this is enough for two, its from the cook book 'Cooking Under the Influence', they call it the lightning stirfry and it is super fast once you've done the prep.

    ...the stirfry
    400g chicken breast
    1 red chilli, chopped finely
    2 cloves garlic chopped finely
    olive oil
    1 cup bean sprouts
    1/2 bunch coriander, chopped
    1/2 bunch basil leaves, ripped
    1 tbsp fish sauce
    1 tbsp soy sauce

    Pop the sliced chicken (or beef or pork) into a bowl and add the chilli and garlic, now get your wok hot, add some oil and stirfry it in batch's, cook it quickly over high heat so you pick up a bit of colour, once all the meat is done chuck it all back in the wok and add the sprouts, herbs, fish sauce and soy, toss it around for a mintute and you are done. Serve with rice, extra soy or a squeeze of lemon if there is one hanging around in your fruit bowl.