Friday, September 17, 2010

Another Sourdough Bread - Rye Falafel Sourdough

There're some nice mid-eastern grocery shops around where I live, and I often find bits and pieces there - and one of the shops have got some really nice Falafel Mix that I buy sometimes.  When the rest of the family are having Schitzels, Steak and Chops, I often make up a pattie for myself and for just one person, it's hardly worthy to make falafel mix from scratch - unless I can be bothered washing up, cleaning all the time or make enough to freeze...

Anyway, my excuse of buying pre-mixed quick fix stuff, but this batch is pretty good.

And when I was making my sourdough breads, I was thinking, why not use some of the mix and give it a bit of kick...  So there you go....

Felafel Rye Sourdough Baguettes
100g Sour dough starter – 100% hydrate
1 tbsp salt
220g water
250g bread flour
100g rye flour
50g dry felafel mix (mix of ground chickpeas, chickpea flour, onion powder, garlic powder, coriander powder, sesame seeds and dry parsley)
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp all spice powder
2 tbsp polenta
50ml Olive Oil

Mix all ingredients and knead well.
Knead for 6 minutes and stand for 30 minutes, repeat 6 times. The dough should be pretty wet, but will be able to knead to elastic through the process.
Add olive oil around the bowl and cover with damp cloth to prove until double sized.
Shape dough and roll into rectangle sheets, roll up like scrolls, and cut slits on top.

Proof again till dough in size or more.

Bake in 230C oven for 20-25 min.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

September Daring Cook Challenge - Food Presevation, Canning, Apple Butter & Tangelo Marmalade

Thank you John from Eat4Fun, I indeed had great fun doing this challenge... My first ever Daring Kitchen challenge.

I had all the intention of trying out canning whilst watching Italian Food Safari, but this challenge really got my lazy butt out and moving...

I made Apple Butter as challenge called - it's a new name in Australia and here we call it paste.  Anyway, it's really nice with savory - pork or using as a spread on crackers and breads.

The original Canning or Freezing instruction and recipe can be found on The Daring Kitchen Website.  I encourage all to try out, even you are not interested in becoming a Daring Cook!

I made marmalade using Tangelos and they are just soooo much better than shop ones, now that they are nicely canned, they will last for quite a while without me trying to find fridge space....  I've made jams, but never tried canning....

Now, this is my apple butter:

7 Small Pink Lady Apples – they are sweet crisp and very juicy and very very much Australian – a cross between Lady Williams and Golden Delicious. I use them in apple pies, crumbles, and tarts than Granny Smith, and my family gets fresh apple juice every day, mostly Pink Lady ones these several weeks. I guess the main reason to use Pink Lady is that I have got them on hand.

125ml Cider
1 tsp Mixed Spice (clove, nutmeg, etc)
1 tsp Cinnamon powder
½ tsp ginger powder
1 tbsp brown sugar
4 tbsp raw sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup – I’m not a fan of artificial sweeteners and would rather take the calories.

I peeled and cut apples in cubes, so they will break down quicker.

Cook with cider till they break down, and I simply mashed them with a potato masher – I suppose I could’ve used my potato ricer if I didn’t peel them first.

Add in sugar, golden syrup and the spices, keep mashing….

And cook further – I halved the original recipe, because I wasn’t sure of the outcome, so the same pot can be used again I suppose? I used the diffuser when I’m not stirring…
It’s only a small quantity so it was pretty easy to reduce, and I turned around the spoon, it’s not dropping…

It tastes quite nice on my sourdough bread, and I’m pretty sure hubby would love it with the chops or roast pork.

I’ve been doing a bit of researching about the preserving jars and unfortunately preserving is no longer popular in Australia and jars are hard to find, unless I order on line, and buy in bulks. I have made jams and chutneys etc, and made pickles with mum, but never preserved them in jars, we just made enough to go around until we need them again, or put them in freezer. So it’s a first time for me, and I’d like to try the canning option, even though it’s hard to get jars. Some forums on the internet here mentioned that you can use old jars, so I found this jam jar that was in perfect order with pop top lid, and the apple butter I made just fit into that 500g jam jar. Of course, the recommendation is always use new lids, but finding lids are not easy…
As I only have one jar, I said to myself, just try it and see how it goes, the jar was checked not leaking, and it was boiled and cleaned before I put the hot apple butter in again.
Put a tea towel at the bottom of the deepest pot I can find, and fill up with warm water – fingers crossed!

Set the timer for 30 minutes and waited until it cooled a bit before I took out my first “baby”… Pressed down the pop top, and it stayed down…

It worked, I couldn’t believe my eyes, but hubby said, what if I want it tomorrow? I guess we will just have to open the jar again very soon….

And I’m sure that I will be collecting jars from now on, we might get a good crop from our apricot tree again and this time when I make apricot jam, I don’t need to give them away to anyone I can find who would take them of me!

And for marmalade, this is the recipe I used.

I bought a bag of tangelos from shop for 99C, quite a lot of them, so I varied the quantity a bit and voila!

Cook the peels first...

Lovely Jam!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cinnamon Caramel Fruit Twisted Loaf - Lots of Fun

Once there's a nice plain dough for any keen baker, the choice is endless.

The best plain dough for my breads so far is the Pain Viennois Dough recipe I got from Emmannuel Mollois, and I've made my adaption version using some wholemeal flour, and have since reduce the quantiy to:

200g strong bread flour
150g wholemeal flour
160ml milk
1 egg
40g butter
30g sugar
5g salt
2 tsp fresh yeast

for a normal every day loaf and been using the bread in plain toast, basically everything.

Today, whilst making bread again, I thought, it's the last week before we are going on our holiday, why not make a bigger loaf and without the wholemeal flour.

And half way through, I changed my mind, so I end up with 2 loaves, one plain, one Cinnamon Caramel Fruit Twist loaf, hubby just loves his cinnamon fruit breads...

For today's 2 loaves:

For the dough:
480g strong bread flour, extra for dusting.
60g butter
250ml full cream milk
2 large eggs (59g)
3 tsp dry yeast
40g sugar
5g salt

For the filling of one loaf:
2/3 cup mixed dry fruit with peels
4 tbsp brown sugar
40g butter
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp all spice powder

extra cinnamon powder and raw sugar for dusting.

Syurp wash made from hot water, sugar and gelatin.

Heat milk up and then cool back down to around 40-45C.
Add in dry yeast and wait 10-15 minutes for it to get frothy.
Put salt at the bottom of the mixing bowl (make sure it’s away from the yeast), add flour and sugar and make a well in the middle.
Add yeast mixture liquid – I’ve used the bench top mixture for this recipe, but you can use hand….
Turn the mixer to low spead with dough hooks, start kneading till a soft dough is formed, add eggs, one by one till dough is smooth
Keeo the mixer working the dough, gradually add soft room temperature butter which was broken into small cubes, and until all lumps are gone and dough is smooth, that will take around 15-20 minutes.
On a nice clean bench , spread some dry flour, and knead with the help of a dough scraper if you need to use one, as the dough can be wet and sticky. 
Set the dough to rest for a while in between kneading, until the dough pass the window test.
Get a big bowl and grease the bottom a little, put the dough in.
Cover the dough with cloth and leave it to proof for 2-3 hours till it's double the size.
Knock the bubbles back, cut the dough into 2 portions, the plain loaf takes 3/5 and the cinnamon loaf takes 2/5.
Grease tins, shape the plain dough and leave it for proofing.
Using a rolling pin, roll out the smaller dough, until it's quite flat and spread on the fillings (melt butter and work it with the brown sugar and spices, mix very well).

Spread on the sugar butter mix first and then the mixed dry fruits, roll up into a long thin log, twist and form a hook shape, cut sides so it shows the layers.

Leave in another greased loaf tin, cover both tins with clean cloth and proof for another 2 hours (it's cold in my house, probably not so long in warmer environment.
Brush both on syrup wash.  Spread on more cinnamon and some raw sugar on top of the fruit loaf.
Bake in preheated oven 190C or 375F for 25 minutes.

The bread is really light and fluffy! 

So happy with the tast and submit this to Yeastspotting!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Chocolate & Raisin Bread & Butter Pudding - an Easy Classic Dessert

It's an classic dessert, the humble bread and butter pudding, very English, or shall we say, very Australian.

Great for the cool wet days and I happenned to have 3/4 loaf of my normal Eggy Loaf left so before I make another loaf of bread, I decided to use it in a dessert tonight.

Chocolate & Raisin Bread & Butter Pudding

1/2 Cup Raisin
100g dark chocolate (I use 70% cocoa Lindt's)
50g softened Butter - enough to butter all slices of bread
600ml Milk
4 eggs
12 Slices of Bread (it can be white bread, raisin loaf etc)
2 tsp Vanilla Essence
1 tsp cinnamon powder
4 tbsp raw sugar
2 tbsp rum
1 tbsp golden syrup

Grease an Oven dish (mine is oval, 18cm X 25cms).
Remove crust, butter both sides of bread, lay one layer at the bottom of the dish.
Layer with dark chocolate squares and raisins.
Lay the rest of bread covering the chocolate and raisins layer.
Whisk eggs, whisk in sugar and mix very well, add milk, rum, vanilla essence and cinnamon powder.
Pour over bread and drizzle the golden syrup on top.
Bake in pre-heated oven - 180C for 45 min or till golden.

Serve with Vanilla Icecream....

Friday, September 10, 2010

Roast Chicken with Master Stock - Simple Week Day Dinner

The family like roast chicken, with potato, rice, pasta, it's just an easier meat for the children and because the meat itself is pretty plain, you can basically cook it with any flavour... mix and match, more varieties... very simple as well, when the children are still young and not eating a lot, a small chicken, quick to roast and a nice dinner.

With in budget...

This one has a bit of oriental flavour so we have it with rice.  Master stock can be made up from different spices...  I actually use whatever on hand and whatever I can think of at times, but this is what I did this time:

Master Stock Roast Chicken

1 tsp 5 spice powder
1 tsp clover powder
2 pcs of dry mandarin peel
½ piece of brown rock sugar
1 whole chicken 1.2kg
1 Cassia Bark (or cinnamon stick)
1 knob of ginger
½ cup shaoxin cooking wine

Add all the ingredients to a pot apart from Chicken,

add enough water.
Boil the liquid until it’s bubbling and add the chicken, simmer and turn sides for 15 minutes.

Roast chicken on rack without cover, in 185C for 15 minutes, turn and roast for a further 10 minutes.
Cut in chunks and serve with rice... 

Thicken a bit of master stock with extra orange juice and brown sugar for dipping sauce.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Cinnamon Raisin Loaf

Although I love my wholemeal sourdoughs, hubby's not a big fan, and we do need different breads...  He's got super sweet tooth so I normally make him something sweet for his brekky.

This is one of his favourite bread:

Cinnamon Raisin Loaf
• 380g Strong Bread flour
• pinch of salt
• 1 tsp instant dried yeast
• 1 cup milk
• 2 tbsp raw sugar
• 2 tbsp brown sugar
• 1 whole egg lightly beaten
• 50g softened butter
• 1 cup raisins
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1 tsp all spice
• 1 tsp vanilla essence

Mix flour salt, all spice, cinnamon and half of raw sugar and brown sugar.
Heat milk to moderate temperature, lukewarm, add half of raw sugar and yeast, and stand for 10-15 minutes till frothy.
Rub softened butter into the flour mix, until it resembles bread crumb and add vanilla essence and egg.
Add yeast mixture and egg, and add mix to a rough dough.
Add raisins and knead. It’s better to knead 6 minutes rest the dough for 30 minutes – and repeat the process for 6 times, until it’s smooth elastic and not sticky to hand.
Leave dough in a clean lightly greased pot and cover to proof till double the size.
Cut dough in 5 different portions and roll up to smooth rolls, set in a greased tin, proof till full size.

Brush on egg wash.
Bake in 190C oven for 30 minutes.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Some Random Cooking...

Been doing some thing pretty random last couple of days, in regards to cooking..  Tried a few recipes and bits of this and that...

Totally random - as the teenager Bianca would say :)

I tried some sourdough breads - well, I make sourdoughs several times a week, that's the only bread I'm eating, whole meal sourdoughs, this one is not whole meal because I've decided to try out the 3:2:1 dough, which is 300g flour, 200g water and 100g 100% hydrate starter, the bread was good, but I miss my whole meal flour and other bits and pieces...

I did some Peking sauce spare ribs - nothing special, just feeling like doing something really easy and hmm... take away style, I am getting lazy.

I did my version of Har Mee (prawn noodles) today with Hokkien Mee (noodles) and curry prawn bisque (sounds weird, but I did use rice wine for the bisque and seasoned with curry powder for the Har Mee) and some how hubby reckons it's very "Noodle Box"...  Really can't be bothered to take a photo of the noodles.

Roast pork in master stock.  But I wasn't really happy with it, it's only for hubby and I hate pork personally myself.

Father's day brekky, the normals, scrambled eggs, toast with home made banana bread (yeast bread not the normal "cake" style banana bread) and home made marmalade, grilled tomato, bacon, mushrooms...

So the highlight for last weekend's cooking, apart from the big cake, it was actually the calamari rings and chips... I used eggs and self raising flour for the batter, coat it with bread crumbs made from my sourdough  loaves and they were crispy & crunchy even when they were cool...

Well, guess I might be qualified for a local takeaway joint...

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Father's Day, The Cake to Say I Love Daddy

I watched Emmanuel Mollois made the pretty pretty Le Papillon on Wednesday....  and it looked soooo good....  original recipe by Denis Ruffel.

So I decided to do something for fathers day, for dad and hubby...  the 2 fathers in my family.  My father in law passed away a couple of years ago...

That cake is basically a layered chocolate mousse cake, and you can use any fruits in season... hmm... on hand, I have got loads of citrus... it's Spring now, still no stone fruit yet, a lot of oranges from last Autumn and I even made tangelo marmalade out of some.

And I thought the butterfly the Le Papillon might be just a bit too girlie for the fathers, and since I have left over egg whites from the sabayon, I decided not to waste it and use it for some macaron batter... soo....

This is my Le Papillon, the cake does have a couple of butterflies, teddy bear and love hearts....

As the cake takes 2 days, I made the cake yesterday afternoon and decorated it today...

The Biscuit
100g almond meal
80g icing sugar
50g egg (1)
80g egg yolks
150g egg white
20g caster sugar
62g corn flour
32g cacao powder
35g melted butter

Sugar Syrup
100g water
135g caster sugar

Other Fillings:
250g home made marmalade
Chopped Oranges, 1 normal orange, 1 blood orange
100g crushed wafer

The Chocolate Mousse - the filling
80g egg yolk
100ml sugar syrup
400g dark chocolate - 70% cocoa - Lindt's, 100g plain, 300g Lindt's Orange
750g thickened cream

Chocolate Ganache
300g dark chocolate 70% cocoa - Lindt's
100ml milk
300ml thickened cream
4 tbsp castor sugar
125g butter

Pink Macarons in different shapes and letters.

The Biscuit - this is from the recipe provided by Emannuel and I didn't cheat!  Check the link to the original Le Pipillon if you want to make it and not sure..  it's a very nice soft and delicious sponge with no raising agents other than the eggs...
Blanch together the almond meal, icing sugar then add the egg and the yolks and mix until ribbon consistency. In a separate bowl whip the egg white then add the caster sugar at the last minute. Incorporate the egg white to the egg mixture, then sieve together the cornflour and cacao powder and add to the mix. Add the melted butter and mix in. Cover two oven trays with grease proof paper and spread the mixture evenly over the trays and cook for ten to twelve minutes at 180°C. Take the trays out of the oven and let them cool. Put a piece of baking paper on top and turn the biscuit over and remove the baking paper from the bottom. Cut three discs out of the biscuit; one the size of your mould, one smaller then the first and the third smaller than the second.

The Sugar Syrup
To make the syrup, bring the caster sugar and water to the boil, turning off when it gets to the boil. This syrup will be used for a number of different stages in the original cake but the lazy me only used it once.

The Chocolate Mousse
Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie (a double boiler or on very low heat in a saucepan), in the meantime whip the cream and reserve it in the fridge. Mix the yolk and the sugar syrup together (this is called the sabayon) and beat until it has thickened a little. This is ‘the blanch’ and it starts the cooking process of the eggs. Then put it in a saucepan and cook it on the stove whisking all the time for about six minutes until it has thickened and reached a stage that it just holds a ribbony shape.  Continue to whisk it till it is cooled, it will hold for about 15 minutes after it has cooled.

In a large bowl, add the melted chocolate to the whipped cream then gently fold the sabayon, (the egg and sugar) into the chocolate and cream. **Note: this is best done with two people. The warm chocolate needs to be poured into the whipped cream as quickly as possible and onto only one position in the cream otherwise the cream may split. - However, I did achieve this by myself (yes hubby is standing by in case of disaster, but I found that I can do it with the bench top mixer, I just whip the cream last....  it does make me feel guilty when I asked hubby to help out making his own cake lol...

Cut the oranges into small pieces. Coat one side of all the discs with the marmalade. I didn't have a dome cake tin so I used a square tin, bit afraid of not able to get the cake out so I lined it with cling film...   Put some of the chocolate mousse inside the mould and put the first layer of sponge cake/biscuit, the put some orange pices and add more mousse, repeat the process to get the second layer in and the oranges and mousse and then spread some of the crushed wafers, 

and the large biscuit disc and voila this cake goes in the freezer overnight.

The Next Day
Make the Chocolate Ganache. The original recipe called for Masse a Glace which I don't think I'm able to find within short period of time, so I used the old ganache method....  Boil cream and milk and butter, mix well with sugar and pour over chocolate bits to melt, stir until it has got shiny ribbony smooth look, let cool a little.

Take the cake out of the freezer and unmould it by warming the metal tin a bit and slide the cake out. 

Line the cake tray with foil (I haven't got anything bigger than the cake carrier for this cake, so I have to line the foil, it's very big cake actually and I wouldn't be able to use Emmanuel's method to lift the whole thing, and pour over warm chocolate ganache, because it's not a dome cake like the original recipe, I have to use the spatula to smooth out the ganache from the centre to the sides and make sure all sides are covered by ganache...

I baked the macarons so they are on the cake, and sides...... I wasn't the best with piping but some how Monique still recognised the love hearts, and teddy bear and the butterflies on the sides...  and of course, I love Daddy... I feel like I'm a little gal again....  I was once daddy's little gal, just like Monique is today...  so dad got half of the cake and hubby got the other half...

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Simple Ricotta Cake with Walnut, Torta Di Ricotta

Well, maybe another day, I'd do things different because I will make a proper short crust pastry base.  I guess rushing is not good for cakes...

I used biscuit base this time, and not so impressed - for a quick Torta, it's not bad, but I think I have just reminded myself why I haven't been buying biscuits and cookies?

Torta Di Ricotta – Simple Version

150g sweet biscuit, scotch fingers, short bread etc
50g butter
500g ricotta cheese
Juice of 1 lemons
Zest of 1 lemon
200g sugar
3 eggs
250g mascarpone cheese
1 tbsp Marsala
1 tsp vanilla essence


Crush biscuit and butter, cover the lined 20cm spring form tin.
Put it back in fridge, chill to set.
Separate eggs and leave them in room temperature.
Whisk egg whites, till light and fluffy and add sugar, gradually, form a firm meringue.
Whisk all the cheeses in a separate bowl, with egg yolks.
Add lemon zest and juice, and marsala and vanilla essence.
Fold in egg mixture with the cheese, fill up the spring form.

Bake in 190c for 50 minutes and then cool, and leave in fridge over night to set.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Monique's Chocolate Chip Cookies... She made them...

The 3.5 year old has been offering the chocolate chip cookies to all the visitors and telling them she made them...

She did... not the dough, but she shaped them and pressed them on to the trays with a mighty fork...

She's a typical mummy's girl when it comes to cooking and she loves to "help" out, stiring the mixtures, shaping the cookies, anything...

A junior Masterchef contestant in the making?  If she keeps up the interest till hmmm 5 years later maybe?

Just some simple chocolate chip cookies for children's snacks... they are normally pretty hungry around 3:30pm to 4 ish, especially the 10 year old Luke, after school...  So some warm milk and cookies or yoghurt and fruit are just the norm for after school snacks....  Working full time sometimes means dinners are usually ready after 6pm...

I used self raising flour in the mix, so the cookies are still nice without using too much butter, a cross between butter cookies and rock cakes?  Not as many eggs.

Chocolate Chip Cookies


190g Self Raising Flour
60g dark chocolate chips (more if desired, or just use chopped dark chocolate)
1 egg – lightly whisked
100g butter
25g cocoa powder
5 tbsp castor sugar

1. Pre-heat oven to 190C, line a cookie tray.
2. Cream butter and sugar.
3. Add egg to the mixture and mix well.
4. Sift cocoa powder and flour into the bowl and mix well, add chocolate chips, mix.
5. Shape into 1.5cms in diameter small round pieces, use the back of fork, press the cookies lighly, and place evenly on cookie tray, leave enough space as they will become bigger.

6. Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden. Cool on rack.

They will keep in air tight container for some days, or disappear within a day or two if they are just laying around on the table like this:

A Cute Dessert for the Children - My Experiment of the Layered Jelly

My children like jellies, I guess it's a children's thing.

The boy only likes the fruity ones, but the girls like everything sweet...  It's an experiment anyway, because I finally bought some Agar Agar from the Asian grocery shop and was keen to try out the result...

Coconut Red Beans & Lemonade Jellies

Red Bean Layer:

½ cup red beans
350g water
½ cup brown sugar
1.5 tsp powder gelatin

Slow cook red beans with water till beans double in size and become pale and soft, add in sugar and cook to melt. Turn off heat, add in powder gelatin.
Wait till a bit cooler, put in mould, and put in fridge to set.

Coconut Layer:

1 x 400ml can coconut milk
100ml full cream
10g agar agar
1/3 cup white sugar

Slowly cook everything till all agar agar melt (instead of powder agar agar, I’m using leaf agar agar, taking a bit longer to melt).
Cool slightly – agar agar setting point is high, so have to work quickly before it sets – and add to the moulds where red bean paste is, back to fridge.

Lemonade Layer:

2 lemons
500ml water
200g white sugar
3 tsp powder gelatin

Juice lemons, add juice to water and sugar and boil to melt.
Sift into the jug where the gelatin is and stir well to mix.
Cool, and pour over coconut layer and back into the fridge to set over night.
I used silicon muffin tray as moulds, and this will give me 12 jellies.