Thursday, January 27, 2011

Biscuit Joconde Imprime with Dark Chocolate Bavarois - January 2011 Daring Baker Challenge

Thanks to Astheroshe from ACCRO, we have a very fun Daring Baker challenge for January! Wow, I never thought I could make such a pretty cake!

I must say I left it till the last minute - but then I had excuses, we were busy talking to the builders, kitchen designers etc etc, trying to sort out our home renovation.  At the same time, we also purchased an investment property, 900kms away...  oops, something has got nothing to do with cooking.

Anyway, it's the perfect excuse to the perfect French cake for the back yard Aussie BBQ for the Australian Day... or is it?  I have friends to impress.

So there it is, Biscuit Joconde Imprime with Dark Chocolate Bavarois.

It's a bit time consuming, but it's easier than I thought, the biscuit was soo nice and versatile, and I'm just so glad I did the challenge, because I can use it again and again for my future cakes, and everyone, including the most fussy eaters at the party, loved it!

The cake is very easy to get a nice slice out...

The original recipe is here.

I did half the recipes...

For the Chocolate Paste:
57.14g butter,
57.14g icing sugar
2 egg whites
48.57g cake flour
17.15g cocoa powder

Direction as per original recipe.

I do have half of the paste left.

For the Joconde Sponge:
56.67g almond meal
50g icing sugar
20g cake flour
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
10g white sugar
20g butter

Direction as per original recipe.

It came out rather nicely and easily after baking...  10 minutes in 200C oven.

I used a 20cm spring form pan, and lined the bottom with the joconde sponge as well.

For the Dark Chocolate Bavarois:

180g 70% cocoa dark chocolate
185ml milk
4 egg yolks (use the ones left from making Joconde sponge and paste)
60ml boiling water
100g white sugar
3 tsp powdered gelatine
375ml thickened cream

Heat milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering.  Set aside.
Whisk egg yolks and sugar together in a heatproof bowl, gradually stir warm milk into the egg mixture.
Pour into a clean saucepan and place over low heat.  Cook stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 5 minutes or until the custard coats the back of the spoon.
Pour custard into the chocolate (chopped up into chunks) and mix till all chocolate melts.
Pour boiling water over gelatine in a heatproof bowl and stir well to mix.   Add to the chocolate mixture.  Let it cool.
Beat cream till soft peak and add to the chocolate mixture.  Blend well.
Pour into the cake mould, put in fridge for 3 hours or more (in my case over night) to set.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Fragrant Tea Eggs

It was listed as part of the one of the Christmas recipes, the tea eggs on the Age, however, as one of the reader pointed out, it's a very old favourite Chinese street food.

It is however, very suitable for the hot summer weather, you can make a batch and have it cool, as is, with rice, with other dishes...

For this batch, I made 6.

6 large eggs.
1 cup dark soy sauce
1 cup light soy sauce
1 cinnamon stick
2-3 star arnis
1 tbsp raw sugar
a handful of goji berries
1 tea bag (any tea bag as desired, different tea will give different flavour, this time I used a normal Dilma tea bag).

Hard boil the eggs.
Wait for them to cool, crack the egg shells.
Put the ingredients in a pot and add the eggs.
Boil again for 30 minutes or more and then let the eggs soak in sauce until cool.

The shell will have marble effects...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Lamb Shank Confit & Cassoulet - First Daring Cook's Challenge in 2011

January Daring Cook's Challenge was hosted by Jenni from The Gingered Whisk and Lisa from Parsley Sage, Dessert and Line Drives, it's a cook off of a Confit and a Cassoulet.  Recipe is here.

I decided to do lamb shanks, and only 2 of them because it's summer here and we are not really keen on big pots of winter food.

However, the effort worth it, it's a very tasty dish, and we will do it a lot when winter comes.

It's a 3-4 day cooking process, and I started with rubbing the salt to the lamb shanks, leave it over night, in my case, in the fridge.

The next day, I added rosemary, thyme, bay leaves and cracked black peppers.   Added duck fat (from the roast ducks I did before) and cooked the confit in 180C oven for an hour.

Mean while, soaked the great northern beans in pot.

The third day, I took most of the duck fat out of the pot, lined the pot with bacon (I didn't use pork rind, just bacon with rind),
added pan fried Italian sausages, onions and beans, and some stock to cover.
Cook the cassoulet in 180C oven for an hour, and then 120C oven for another hour.

I must admit that it wasn't pleasant cooking that day as it was a hot 35C day!

The fourth day, it was cooler and the time to enjoy our cassoulet.  I cooked it again, took the whole pot out of fridge, wait till it warm to room temperature and cooked it in 180C oven for another hour.

Serve with home made sourdough bread....

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Post Christmas Panettone with the Left Over Fruits

I love panettones.

By the time we have the chance to make one (after the Christmas cakes, puddings and stollen) this year, it's already way over Christmas.

It was made in the holidays 2 weeks ago, as I have left over mixed fruits soaked in liqueur (that's not traditional, but anyway) and left over egg yolks.

So it's not exactly the recipe it should be, and I'd call it, the Left Over Panettone...

10g dry yeast
450g plain flour
4 egg yolks
80ml water
1 egg
100g caster sugar
170g butter, room temp
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla essense
1 tsp salt
Mixed fruit peels that were soaked in liqueur.

Combine yeast with lukewarm water in a bowl, stir to dissolve, stand until creamy, and stir in 70g flour until smooth, cover, stand till double in size, about 20 minutes
Add egg yolks, 180g flour and 50g sugar, combine, and add 100g butter.  Mix till smooth, and cover again, stand until double in size, about 1 hour.
Add the rest ingredients, the egg, honey, vanilla, rest of sugar and flour and butter to dough, mix well and knead till elastic.
Cover and proof the dough as you normally would...
Once the dough is triple in size, fold in the mixed fruit (which ever way)...

Usually the panettones are baked in a deep round tin and most of them are shaped into balls, but since my round tins are not deep enough, for this one, I just used the deep loaf tin.  Greased and Lined.

Cut a little cross on top...

Monday, January 10, 2011

New Year's First Sourdough Loaf

I haven't baked all that much during the holidays...  I mean, my days off from work.
We've got renovation of the house to worry about, extensions, swimming pool, rumpus room, family room etc etc and my new kitchen....

And it has been hot.  It hasn't been as hot as previous years but still, it's summer, my usual non baking season. 

But I miss my bread.

So I took the starter from the fridge, and started a dough again... and because of the warm weather, it was proofing a lot faster.

I didn't measure it precisely, I just want to feel the dough as I go, so roughly:
400g strong bread flour
120g 100% hydrated sourdough starter
pinch of salt
250ml water
35 ml olive oil

And it's a nice fluffy loaf...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

My Boy Jack & ANZAC Scones

Alright, it's 3 and half months to go to ANZAC Day and My Boy Jack was not about ANZAC.

Friday night, we channelled surfed to My Boy Jack, and we stayed till the movie finished, well, for me, on and off, because it's too sad I suppose.

That reminded me of the world wars again.  Especially the first World War and our family links to it. Whilst my own grandfather fought in the Second World War against the Japanese, hubby's Grandfather was actually an ANZAC, fought in Gallipoli.  Luckily, he was only wounded. So that was our family tie to the first World War.  The movie showed the brutal side of the war and even it was in a totally different battle field, it still made me think about hubby's grandfather, whom I've never met in person, only in photos, how he felt, in one of the most brutal battles in WWI, as a young patrotic 20 year old?  or was he 19? Similar age to John Kipling?  How did he feel when he saw his friends falling?  Guess we would never be able to find that out as he passed away years ago.  I can only thank God that he was sent home wounded and didn't have the same fate as Jack.  Otherwise I wouldn't have married my husband?

Every ANZAC Day, we would make ANZAC Biscuits, and the children helps as well.  So for some reason, when I'm trying to make a batch of scones today (it's a bit cooler today, so I can bake again...) it turned out, some what like ANZAC scones...

I don't usually take down measurements when I'm making scones, I'm not as good as MIL's mum who'd be able to throw together a batch of scones in no time, I do need to think a bit more as what I need to add, but it is more a touch and feel baking routine for me.

So approximately:

3 cups self raising flour.
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup rolled oats
75g butter, room temp.
2-3 table spoons golden syrup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
125ml milk
125ml thickened cream
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

I'm not 100% exact about the cream and milk, so take and give a few, just enough to make the scone dough.

Cut into 15 round shape scones with a cookie cutter of the size suitable.

Hubby interrupted me about scones being touching together in the baking tray, so I seperated them to make him happy (never again - he can't bake just likes to make comments) and they are not rising as high as I'd like them to, but rather expanded out a bit.

Still taste like it should be after 20 minutes in 200C oven, my oven is getting really old and yelling out to be replaced, so it's usually a bit lower temp than newer ovens and takes a bit longer to cook.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Simple Lemon Cheese Cake Slice

This is a non baking cheese cake, simple and easy and everyone liked it at Monique's birthday party.   I don't make a lot of chilled cheese cakes, but since it's already summer, a chilled cake seems to be more popular.

225g plain sweet biscuit
100g butter, melted
85g lemon flavoured jelly crystals
500g cream cheese
250ml thickened cream
zest of one lemon
Dessicated coconut - Plenty to sprinkle on top.

Grease and line a 3cm deep, 20cm x 30cm lamington pan.
Process biscuits in food processor until finely chopped, and then add butter and process till finely combined together, press firmly onto the base of the lamington pan and leave it in fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
Bring water to boil and add to jelly crystals, and then let it cool a bit.
Beat cream cheese, lemon zest and cream in till smooth, and gradually beat into lemon jelly mix.
Pour over the base in the lamington pan and chill in fridge for 4 hours or over night.
Sprinkle coconut over evenly before serving and cut in slices...

It's simple, and no heating up the kitchen in hot summer days... well, not a lot.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mango Ice Cream

We often buy mangos by the box over the summer, children love mangos and it's a lot cheaper to shop that way and share the fruits around.

However, there always a couple of mangos left, that we just felt we would like to move on to other fruits.

So I made this mango ice cream, to use up the last three ripe mango we got from the previous box.

Mango Ice cream

3 ripe Kensington mangos, fresh only, mashed.
100g sugar
250ml thick cream
150ml milk – full cream
5 egg yolks
1.5 tsp gelatine

Whisk eggs till light and fluffy.
Bring the milk, sugar and cream to boil and take it off heat, add gelatine and stir well.
Let it cool a while, and then add to the egg mixture, mix well.
Let liquid pass through sift, and add to the mango mixture.
Mix well and let it cool down in fridge.
Use ice cream maker as directed, or freeze in the freezer, but you have to bring out and stir occasionally if not using ice cream maker.

Adjust the amount of sugar as the sweet level of the mango.  It's very refreshing as you can still taste the original mango flavour.

Monday, January 3, 2011

What's Cooking During The Holidays?

Okay, we are on holidays.  Really, we have taken time off work.

Before the holidays, I've got this grand vision of baking, cooking etc etc, but then I found, we wouldn't be able to eat all the food...

So instead...  one dinner a couple of nights ago, we had the left over pizza, made from the fresh herbs we had, left over ham, left over antipasto platter, bit of pickled olives, capsicum etc...

And instead of staying at home cooking, we decided to take the children out... out doors...  We don't have a large ourdoor living area at the moment, so today, we went BBQ in the park...

We used this little fold over portable BBQ set we bought on the internet a couple of months ago, it's fun to start the fire...

Light with BBQ heat beads, just some simple sausages and wraps and a salad...

And we had the whole afternoon bush walking, bird feeding, and sight seeing from the top of Mount Dandenong...

Hmm... I don't miss the kitchen after seeing the smiles on children's face...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Roast Pork Loin and Roast Turkey Roll, Recap of Last Year and Looking Forward to the New Year

It seems so long ago that the Christmas Lunch was over... Was a big job for us and never got around to write about the food that day, apart from the Christmas pudding and the Christmas log - I am a dessert person after all?    So this blog is the recap of the last bit of cooking I did last year, and as we are renovating the house, the project is finally starting, my new year resolution is at least to get the new kitchen, bathrooms and outdoor decking in...  Cook more, in and out doors!  Oh, I didn't have to do much for New Years Eve, went out to friend's place for a lovely BBQ....  I did make the salad, but that was just a minor effort.

Alright, so the last bit of major cooking of last year.  The Christmas Lunch.

MIL brought over some salad, brandy sauce for the Christmas pudding and mum made some nice spring rolls and pan fried dumplings...

I did this sushi platter for the entree.

And the roast pork loin stuffed with figs and orange.

Figs marinated in orange juice, zest and liqueur, and spread on pork, rolled and tied...

Roast turkey roll, we only had 6 adults and 2 children, so not big enough of a crowd for the whole roast turkey.  We bought turkey on crown, and I de-boned the turkey, made it into butter fly cut.

Rolled in with some mozerella cheese, parsley and dill and some olives and bacon.

Tie up in a roll just as I did the pork.

Sear with olive oil first and then in the oven for roasting.

I also made cranberry juice to serve with the turkey.  It's hard for us to find fresh cranberries, so I used dry cranberries, with red wine and maple syrup and the cranberry sauce was just devine.

We also had roast potatos in duck fat and sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

I haven't been doing a lot of cooking lately as I have been running around trying to finalise a few things for renovations, starting with the kitchen.  We bought ILVE cook tops and oven which has a setting for pizzas, and BLANCO dishwasher, sink and tap, and it's just exciting talking to the designer about designing the new kitchen....

We will have outdoor decking as well and the 4 burner will be put to much better use....

Until then, I guess I will just try to cook as much as I can with my current kitchen!