Sunday, December 23, 2012

{Cherry & Almond Cupcakes}

We were given a tub of cherries by our neighbour and they just scream merry christmas, don't you just love cherry season? these little ruby fruits are particularly sweet and delicious so I decided to whip up a christmassy cupcake as you do.

I want to say merry christmas to you, everyone who stops by, I really hope you have a super christmas, we have lots of family around for this one so its extra special, and I can't wait to pop on my frilliest apron and cook christmas dinner for the people that I love !! And so if you've got a few cherries lying around and a hankering for a cupcake you know what you need to do ♥

...the cupcakes
115g butter, softened
220g caster sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
150g self raising flour, sifted
125 plain flour, sifted
125ml milk, room temperature
1 teaspoon almond extract
6 cherries pitted and chopped 
cherries to decorate

...the frosting
250g butter, softened
4 cups icing sugar
1 tsp almond extract
6 cherries pitted and chopped

Preheat oven to 180. Line 12 cupcake tins with cases. Cream butter, sugar and almond extract till pale, add eggs one at a time mixing between each one, add in the flours and milk in alternate batches and mix till thats all combined then lastly add in the cherries, stir thru then spoon a generous tablespoonful of mixture into each case.  I do this using two tablespoons, one to pick up and one to drop off. Bake for around 18 minutes, cool on a rack then frost.

For the frosting just whack it all in your mixer and whizz it till its fluffy.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

{Brown Butter Banana Bars}

We got a fancy camera a while back. I've not really been using it, it's a bit scary fancy but today I braved it to do justice to these brown butter banana bars. How cute is that name? I do sometimes make things just because they have a cute name. Call me shallow.

So you see those flecks in the icing? those my friends are brown butter, this icing is a revelation, maybe the best icing I have ever ever tasted! Really? Yes Really! It surely does make the humble banana cake sing, you should really try these bars, maybe you've got a couple of bananas ready to go, and I don't mean to go on and on about the icing but well you put it on the banana bars while they are still slightly warm resulting in just the right amount of buttery icing melting into the cake, so are you on your way to the kitchen or what?!

...banana bars
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
60g butter, softened
1 egg
1 cup (about 2)very ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

...brown butter icing
60g butter
2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk

Heat oven to 180. Line an 20cm square brownie pan with baking paper. In a large bowl, beat together sugar, sour cream, butter, and eggs until creamy. Add in bananas and vanilla extract, stir then add flour, baking soda, salt, stir some more until just combined. Pour into pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool slightly and then remove from pan using the paper to lift. 

Meanwhile, for the icing, pop your butter into a heatproof dish with either a lid or a plate on top. Microwave butter for 5 - 7 minutes, you will hear it bubble and pop and afterwards it should be perfectly golden brown with those delightful little brown flecks (you can also do the same thing on the stove top). Add the icing sugar, vanilla extract and milk. Whisk together until smooth and thick.

Spread the icing on the bars after they have cooled for about 10-15 minutes, you don't want the icing to slide right off but you want enough warmth in it that it does the slightly melty thing.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

{Gilberts Prawn Curry + Fruit & Nut Pilau}

We love a curry around here, I've made another one today, a beef massaman with spuds and carrots and it'll be finished off at dinner time with some peanuts and coriander, yum, its so good I keep sneaking mouthfuls of it, fingers crossed there's enough in the pot to last out the day!

This prawn curry belongs to a delightful character called Gilbert, I came across Gilbert while watching an online SBS series called Harvest. Its about a group of residents who live in an apartment complex with a bad reputation who start a community garden which in turn heals the residents and brings them together.  They are lovely stories, all of them tinged with sadness but they are real stories and all of those involved have a gentleness about them and the love they share for growing and sharing food is inspiring.  

Gilberts prawn curry was taught to him by his mum, its delicious and as long as your little people like prawns it's kid friendly too, it is a gentle, softly spoken curry, just like Gilbert.

..the paste
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp chilli powder (could reduce for kids)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ginger
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup water

...the curry
1 red onion
6 tbsp peanut oil or ghee
1 tsp turmeric
6 medium sized tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
400ml coconut milk
1 kg prawns, preferably with tails on
- Gilbert used cooked prawns but I used raw
bunch of fresh coriander

In a small bowl, add all the ingredients for the paste and stir to combine.

Chop the onion into halves and roughly slice.  Over a medium flame add the ghee or oil and when hot, add the slices of onions. When they begin to brown, add the turmeric, cook for a few more minutes, stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

Add the paste to the pan, and cook for a few minutes and keep stirring. Add roughly chopped tomatoes and bay leaves, coconut milk and stir and cook for five minutes then add the prawns and cook till they turn pink (or if you use cooked prawns like Gilbert just til they are warmed thru).  Sprinkle over the coriander.

...the pilau
1 cup basmati rice
1 medium-sized red onion, halved, finely sliced
4 tbsp peanut oil
1 cup mixed dried fruit and nuts (a mix of peanuts, cashews, walnuts and sultanas)
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp salt
2 bay leaves

Wash the rice and leave soaking in a saucepan of water for 30 minutes.

Heat the oil in a wide, heavy-based pan with a lid. Add the onions and fry until starting to brown, remove onions from pan, leaving the residual oil behind.

Add the nuts, dried fruit and cinnamon to the pan, and gently fry. Drain the rice and add to pan, stirring well.

Add the turmeric, salt, bayleaves, 2 cups of warm water and the cooked onions to the pan.

Cover the rice with a lid and simmer gently for about 12 minutes or until water is absorbed and the rice is cooked.

Turn off the stove and remove lid when done. Cover the rice with a clean tea towel. Replace the lid and set aside until ready to eat. (The tea towel absorbs any moisture that may collect under the lid.)