Wednesday, July 29, 2009

apricot chicken

yes, i'm going to post this recipe, and what's wrong with that? i know there are fancy versions of apricot chicken, but wrong with the good old original? it's comforting, and sometimes this just hits the spot.

1.5 kilograms of you favourite chicken pieces
35 gram packet of french onion soup mix
425 ml can apricot nectar

combine the chicken, soup mix and apricot nectar together and place in a baking dish. place in an oven set to 180 degrees celcius and bake, covered for 30 minutes. remove cover and bake a further 20 minutes.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

my first solo thermomix cooking session

i got my thermomix yesterday and as soon it had been put throught the dishwasher, i got cracking. i confess that i show no imagination - i made a risotto. i'm on a learning curve and i have to start somewhere. and because i'm me, i did some things different to what the recipe book said. i used masses of vintage tasty cheese, which i didn't grate and put into the bowl in chunks as the thermomix was going. it coped very well and the cheese melted and distributed itself through the unctiousness, i used wine to make up what i was short of in stock....but the one thing i did differently to the thermomix bible was to use hot stock and fry the onions, garlic and rice in a regular pan. i had the stock bubbling away in the thermomix bowl, and once i thought the aromatics had released their fragrance, and the rice was adequately toasted and coated in an abundance of butter and olive oil, i added them to the thermomix bowl to party with the bubbly stock. also joining the party, was the aforementioned cheese. it was a little clunky and awkward at first, but in next to no time it joined in and was a pretty smooth mingler.
do i like it? yes, but i need to have some time with it. i need to get to know it better - i'm looking forward to a productive working relationship. does that sum it all up?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

kumera and lentil soup

this is one of the easiest soups i know...almost as easy as opening up a can of cambell's soup; it's just fresher tasting, that's all.

1 kilogram kumera, cubed
3/4 cup red lentils, rinsed
stock to cover
salt and pepper to taste

pop everything into a pot, bring it to the boil and simmer until the kumera is tender. blend until smooth (or however you like it) and serve.

wasn't that the easiest? i'm not a big lentil person, but the addition of lentils with this really works well, so much so that if it is omitted, the soup just doesn't taste as good.

Friday, July 24, 2009

peanut butter cookies...with extras...

i'm not a big peanut butter eater, but tend to buy too much of it thinking we might be out of it. enter peanut butter cookies - a hero in the "using heaps of peanut butter" world.

1 cup (260 grams) peanut butter (use your favourite - smooth or crunchy)
1 cup sugar (220 grams) sugar
1 egg

m and ms
chocolate chips (again use your favourite - white, milk or dark)
dried fruit (your favourites, again - pears, apricots, cranberries)
nuts (cashews, walnuts, macadamias)

preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
combine the peanut butter, sugar and egg in a mixing bowl. add your desired extras, just keeping in mind that if you like putting lots of stuff in, you will have to have enough cookie dough to hold it all together. all the bits you put in can be chopped as finely as you like or left as rustic as you like.
form the dough into balls and place the on the baking sheet. pressthem down a little to flatten and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

banana caramel tart

the first time i had this was in a little cheese shop in eastwood...granny smith's? i'm embarrassed to say i don't remember the name, but that was probably about 20 years ago. i can't remember exactly what theirs was like either, but this one is pretty good - especially the least i think so. don't get me wrong, theirs must have been good enough for it to be memorable.

2 -3 bananas
300 mls thichened cream.

pate sucree
60 grams icing sugar
125 grams plain flour
pinch of salt
60 grams butter, softened
1 egg yolk

caramel filling
200 grams brown sugar
125 grams butter
35 grams cornflour
250 ml milk
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

make the pastry by placing the icing sugar, flour butter and egg yolk in to the bowl of a food processor and process until a dough is formed. refrigerate for 30 minutes.
preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius.
roll out the pastry to fit a 24 centimetre loose bottomed flan tin. place a 23 centimetre disc over the the base (or bake blind, if you prefer) and bake for 10 minutes or until light golden. set aside to cool.
prepare the caramel filling by combining the brown sugar and butter in a medium pan over low heat to melt the butter. blend together the cornflour and milk and add to the butter mixture. whisk while heating until the mixture boils and thickens. remove from heat and quickly whisk in the egg yolks and vanilla essence. cover and set aside to cool.
spread the caramel filling into the pastry case and cover with a layer of sliced bananas. whip the cream and dollop over the bananas to completely cover. refrigerate and serve.

Monday, July 20, 2009

lemon cream in the style of pierre herme in pate sucree tartlet shells‏

1 cup sugar
finely grated zest of 3 lemons
4 large eggs
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
280 grams unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces, at room temperature
salt flakes to fold through the emulsion to provide bursts of saltiness

things you'll need: a thermometer, a strainer and a blender.
bring a few inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan.
put the sugar and zest in a large heatproof bowl that can be set over the pan of simmering water.
macerate the sugar and zest together until the sugar takes on the lemoniness of the zest.
whisk in the eggs, followed by the lemon juice.
set the bowl over the pan, and start stirring with the whisk as soon as the mixture feels tepid to the touch. cook the lemon cream until it reaches 82 degrees celcius. as you whisk—you must whisk constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling—you'll see that the cream will start out light and foamy, then the bubbles will get bigger, and then, as it gets closer to 82 degrees celcius, it will start to thicken and the whisk will leave tracks. start to take great care at this point—the tracks mean the cream is almost ready. don't stop whisking or checking the temperature, and have patience—depending on how much heat you're giving the cream, getting to temp can take as long as 10 soon as it reaches 82 degrees celcius, remove the cream from the heat and strain it into the container of the blender; discard the zest. let the cream stand, stirring occasionally, until it cools to 68 degrees celcius, about 10 minutes.
turn the blender to high and, with the machine going, add the butter a piece or two at a time. scrape down the sides of the container as needed as you incorporate the butter. once the butter is in, keep the machine going—to get the perfect light, airy texture of lemon-cream dreams, you must continue to blend the cream for another 3 minutes. fold salt flakes through the cream.

pate sucree
120 grams icing sugar
250 grams plain flour
pinch of salt
125 grams butter, softened
1 egg
place the icing suagr, flour butter and egg in to the bowl of a food processor and process until a dough is formed.
dust a work surface lightly with flour. roll dough out and cut rounds to fit tartlet moulds; you should get 36 tartlet cases about 10-12cm in diameter.
prick well and bake for 14 minutes at 180 degrees celcius.
assemble the tarts with a dollop of lemon cream in each tart and top with shards of toffee.
do not attempt to blowtorch sugar sprinkled on the lemon cream as the cream will collapse.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

mork from the philippines

wenty and i went to yum cha today. after the bill was paid and i was waiting for him, i overheard the guy behind me answer his phone, "hello? hello?" "nanoo, nanoo" "nanoo" "nanoo nanoo".
i related this to wenty, who just replied that the guy was from the philippines. am i missing something? mork from ork used to say "nanoo nanoo" on the mork and mindy show and we were told that he spoke orkish (or whatever). well, now i've been told otherwise. mork is really from the philippines.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

choclate crackles

miss c had her party on saturday, and she made specific requests; she wanted fairy bread and chocolate crackles. can you believe it? she's nearly 18 (we had the party early) and she wanted children's party food. beanstalk did voice his disdain by asking if i had to listen to her, but then, i had already worked out what i was hoping to do.
the fairy bread was a real hit. it was gone...
chocolate crackles were popular too, but the time they were brought out, most of the crowd had had their fill.

250 grams copha
5 cups rice bubbles
1 cup coconut
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
5 tablespoons cocoa

melt the copha.
combine the rice bubbles, coconut, icing sugar and cocoa in a large bowl and pour over the copha and mix thoroughly.
spoon into 24 paper patty pans and leave to set.

that's it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


engine has a tendency to be sooky at times, and the day we had his party was no exception. never one to take that nonsense, i asked eddie to take wiggy and sly up to the local woollies and buy a bag of smarties.
the smarties served two purposes; i used them to lured engine away from his dad and to decorate his cake. i really believe in always having a more involved approach to cake making/decorating - it makes eveything more personal and memorable. never mind if you don't make the cake yourself, but if you can just do a little something, it's nice.
so, after i made and iced engine's cake, i left it quite plain. and i left it to him and his brothers and cousins to help adorn it. engine was quite absorbed and made sure the smarties didn't fall off the cake by pressing them deep into the cake. if he's too young to remember doing this, i'm sure there will be those who will remember...and remind him of how he added his personal touch to his birthday cake....and forgot about being clingy and sooky.