Thursday, March 31, 2011

Will Goldilock Come Over for Breakfast?

I absolutely love the humble porridge for breakfast, but we didn't have much time to have a proper breakfast with porridge and the only child who loves porridge, is the 4 year old girl, not exactly goldilock, she does have light brown hair.

However, what will Goldilock think, if she's coming over for breakfast?

For a healthy vegetarian breakfast, with all the nutrian that a growing body needs, with a balance of fibre, carbonhydrate, vitamin and protein, we have:

Porridge in milk, drizzled with honey and topped with fresh slices of banana.
Fresh squeezed orange juice of one orange
1 soft boiled egg
1/2 cup of home made yoghurt with jam....

Or it is too much?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Beef Osso Bucco With Pasta

It's nice to be able to stew osso bucco for a long long time, however it can be done within a couple of hours if time is short, and there's no need for pressure cooker.

We felt like some osso bucco and just did that one afternoon after I finish work, for dinner.  I do finish early, but it's still around 4:00pm when I get home.

We cooked 2 pieces of Osso Bucco.  I didn't make gremolata this time.

Just saute some onions and garlic, brown both sides of osso bucco, deglaze with white wine, add chopped parsley and passata, salt and pepper, simmer in low heat for as long as I can, in my case, around 1.5 to 2 hours.

Serve with shell pasta and shredded parmesan.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Cake with The Lot, Joconde Imprime, Chocolate Bavarois, Berry Jelly, Macarons, Cream and Chocolate Bark

This is the cake with the lot, for the BBQ party last Saturday.  And a lot of pain.  Not from the Berry Macarons, not from the Joconde Imprime or the Milk Chocolate Bavarois, but the jelly, the easiest one to do!

Thanks to the Daring Baker's Challenge in January, my last cake of this type was a crowd pleaser in the last BBQ party.  This time, we have a much bigger crowd so I'm thinking of a larger cake.  I made the wrapping slightly taller and instead of the dark chocolate, I used milk chocolate this time, with a bit less sugar in the bavarois cream.

Another plan, well, initial plan was to make mixed berry mousse to set on top of the bavarois.  I made enough berry coulis for the mousse and butter cream (of course the butter cream didn't work out).  It was a last minute decision to make jelly instead of mousse.

For some reason, it went over the cake and spilled, leaked out of the cake...  I'm not sure if it was because I forgot to line the baking paper inside the ring....  and I was sooo depressed at the time, the butter cream and the jelly, I almost threw the cake to the wall...

Hubby calmed me down.  It might not be the prettiest cake because the joconde is soaked with jelly a bit, so part of the cake looked a bit more purple than the other, it was already late at night,  I started the whole gig a bit too late in the afternoon, juggling between macarons, joconde, bavarois and dinner, the party is mid day the Sunday, there was probably not much time to make another one if I need to set the bavarois, jelly or mousse, or whatever.

And I needed some sleep, as hubby put it.

So, bright and not so early the Sunday morning, after a batch of pancakes for breakfast, I felt it's time, to get the cake up to something presentable.

I whipped some cream with a bit of cocoa powder and a bit of red and blue food colouring to cover the cracks and make some pattern, so the different colours of joconde wouldn't be so obvious, and there was some where to stand the macarons.

Temperred some chocolate (70% cocoa dark chocolate) with some of the berry butter cream melted together, and spread on silicon mat, made some patterns and got some chocolate bark...

It doesn't look so bad after all..

And no one at the cake suspected there was a major drama about the cake...  They loved it, bavarois was light, macarons are nice, and not so heavy after so much meat from the Barbe...  Have promised our friends will try harder next gathering...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Macaron Season Again? The Berry Chocolate Ganache Macarons...

Yes, I'm making macarons again.

As I have to age the eggs 4 days ahead, well, I usually do that for macarons, never take any chances with the egg whites, I have got my vision of berry flavoured macaron this time.

Not quite what I imagine to be.

This time, I adapted from Cecile Cannone's MACARONS.  I love shopping from Amazon, not only I can get books so much cheaper and so many more varieties than the book shops in Melbourne, but also cooking tools like cannoli cones, jelly icing colours... so much fun.

I was trying to re-create a mixed berry colour.

Macaron Shells:

3 large egg whites, aged 3-4 days at least and bring to room temperature with lid open the night before baking.
150g icing sugar
60g castor sugar
108g almond meal
15g cocoa powder
some drop of Wilton Jelly Food Colouring - Burgundy.


I had all the intention to make berry butter cream fillings, but it didn't work out well.
I made the mixed berry coulis, whisked the eggs with sugar and slowly cooked it, as the book suggested, but for some reason, when I went to whisk the cold butter, and slowly added the berry mixture, it never mixed together.

This is what I did for the fillings:
2 heap tbsp of berry butter cream
80g dark chocolate
70ml thickened cream.

Heat up the berry butter cream together with the fresh cream, melt the chocolate and here is the berry chocolate ganache.

Looks like my chocolate saved the day again.

I made macarons last Saturday afternoon for a party on Sunday, our family's job was to provide dessert, and of course I couldn't just bring the macarons, even though I knew, the host family, our dear friends absolutely love macarons and they loved Cecile's book last time they visited us!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake - March 2011 Daring Baker's Challenge

Oh I love yeast, and I love sweet bread, yeast cakes, making them are just fun, and so many varieties!

Thanks again Ria from Ria's Collection and Jamie from Life's a Feast, this month's Daring Baker challenge is so much fun.  The PDF recipe is here and I won't repeat, download the recipe, it's really good. 

Yeasted cakes are great for breakfast, afternoon tea, morning tea whatever, and it's super easy when you need to bring something to share at work as well...

Our family loves fruit breads and fruit cakes, so we made a fruity version of this lovely cake:

Mixed fruits with peels and cherries
Brown sugar
Golden syrup (or dark corn syrup)
All spice powder
Ginger powder
Cinnamon Powder
1 tbsp of cherry liqueur,

Soak for 2-3 hours.

Make dough, proof, roll out to a square, make meringue and spread on.

Spread on fruits.

Roll up and make a ring.

Make cuts.

Brush on egg wash after the second proofing.

Bake, and brush on a bit of cream, sprinkle on cinnamon sugar....

And cut and eat...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Linseed, Chick Pea & Oats Sourdough

Most of the times, I prefer my bread fluffy.
Sometimes, I like bread more dense.

This is the type of bread really dense, and filling, and great for using as breakfast toasts....

I used linseed, wholemeal flour, bread flour, water, olive oil, chick pea flour, pinch of salt, sourdough starter and rolled oats.

It's fun to mix different ingredients into the dough and see what will come out of it...

And what shall I do next time?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Thai Style Tom Yum Chicken

Every one loves Thai food, well, almost every one.  Not every one can cook authentic Thai food.  So, I guess my family just have to settle with Thai influenced dishes, that we enjoy.

It's rather quick and easy and has a bit of punch.

3 table spoon of Tom Yum Paste - I didn't make them, bought from the Asian grocery shop recommended by friends
1 chicken about 1.2kgs - chopped in chunks
4 small egg plants
1 red chillie
2 ripe tomatoes
2 table spoon of fish sauce
Splash of rice wine
Handful of green shallots (I didn't have corriander that day)
2 Kaffir Lime Leaves
Vegetable oil
Salt to taste
1 knob of ginger, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed

Heat up oil in pan, roughly brown the ginger and garlic till fragrant, throw in the chicken pieces, and lightly brown.  Add egg plants and tomatoes.
Stir in the tom yum paste, and then add on fish sauce and rice wine, add lime leaves salt and water, stir and reduce heat to let simmer.
Once everything is cooked, add shallots and cook for a further 5 minutes, serve with rice.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Cheesy Zucchini Pea & Potato Pancakes - How to Make Fussy Little Eaters to Eat Veggies...

I grate vegetables into my pasta sauces, so children will eat some veggies they normally don't eat.  Veggies haven't been their favourite food, but they have been good with some of them, broccoli, lettuce, cucumber, tomato, carrots, some times, and they normally love peas.

They are not too keen on zucchini, so it's time to hide it, again.  I have got some left over mashed potato so I put in as well.  It's simple, tasty and ready in half an hour.

Cheesy Zucchini Pea and Potato Pancakes:

Make 6-8 depending on sizes
2 eggs
1 cup milk
pinch of salt
white pepper
1/2 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup mashed potato
30 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 cup finely grated zucchini
1/2 cup peas (frozen or fresh)
1/2 cup of shredded cheese (I used a mixture of mozzarella and cheddar)

Extra vegetable oil to fry.

Beat eggs with salt, add olive oil and milk.
Sift in flour, mix well till smooth, add white pepper.
Fold in the veggies, zucchini, potato and peas, and the cheese.
And the pancake batter is ready.

Add a bit of salad and my 4 year old loves tomato sauce with her frankfurt....  We have to cut it up for her, she's still not confident with her knife...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Simple Buttery Water Roux Dough Loaf

I have been lazy with my bread making - into the routine, nothing new, alternative sourdough and white loaves for the children.

Last week, I thought, I might try the water roux dough again.  It's an interesting bread, and I haven't used that method for hmm... almost 4 months?  Can't remember.  Just a simple water roux dough loaf, and turned out pretty well, children loved it.

Water Roux - The Day Earlier
20g flour
100ml water

Mix flour with water in a clean pot, bring it to simmer and stir quickly to make a smooth silky roux paste, cool and store in a air tight container in fridge.

Soft Buttery White Loaf
350g strong bread flour
160ml whole milk (a lot of water roux bread recipes call for milk powder and water, I'm not quite sure why, but since I'm not a huge fan of processed products, I usually use fresh products whenever I can, unless there's a scientific reason not to)
1 large egg
50g butter
7g dry instant yeast
Water roux made the day before
pinch of salt
1 tbsp sugar

Warm up the milk and add yeast to it, set aside and let it froth up - for about 15 minutes
Add sugar and flour to the yeast mixture, and salt, make sure salt is away from the yeast.
Add water roux to the rough doux and the egg, start kneading, and slowly knead in all the butter, bit by bit.
I normally knead the dough for a couple of minutes and leave it in the bowl, cover by damp cloth for 10-15 minutes and go back and knead again, repeat till the dough is elastic, and then leave the dough in an oiled container, coverred in a warm spot to proof.

The bread only takes about 1-2 hours to proof for the first time, and then it's time to shape the dough into a greased loaf tin for the second proofing, around 1 hour and into a preheated 190C oven to bake for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spiced Triple Chocolate Love Heart Cake with Macarons

It was Bianca's birthday a week before, but we didn't have her over until last weekend.  She told me after Monique's birthday cake, that she'd like to have a love heart cake, that kid, since she was little, she's always full of love, and loves to feel love.

My initial plan was a white chocolate mousse cake with strawberry jelly, use the strawberries to form a love heart.  But the cake wouldn't survive a trip down to Mornington in 30C heat as we decided to bring the cake down to Mother in Law's, and share the birthday cake with her.

So I made a cake that family love, and would survive a car trip of over an hour in a hot day.

I used a 20cm round spring form and a heart shaped mini tin.

Spiced Triple Chocolate Love Heart Cake with Macarons

100g milk chocolate
100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa - I used Lindt's)
5 egg yolks
1 large egg
50g dark chocolate chips
1 tbsp golden syrup
1/2 tsp all spice powder
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
200 g Self Raising flour
100ml whole milk
2/3 cup brown sugar (firm packed)

Preheat oven to 160C, line and grease the spring form, grease the heart tin.
Melt the chocolate.
Cream butter with sugar, beat in egg yolks and egg till smooth. 
Add chocolate and syrup to the mix, keep beating.
Sift together spices and flour into the mix, add milk and mix till smooth.
Fold in the chocolate chips.
Scoop batter into the pans and bake cakes, 20 minutes for the small one in heart shape tin and 40 minutes for the big one, cool on rack.

Put the cakes into the freezer.

And.... make the macarons...

Go out for dinner.  The cake need to be chilled before it can be shaped.
Make the chocolate butter cream - the same batch used in the macarons.

Shape the round cake using the shape of the small one, slice the top of the cake to be level.

Apply the chocolate butter cream. 

Add the macarons on top, sides and the writing...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Macarons? Ah....

I haven't made macarons for a while.

Probably I have been used to "no need to be precise" attitude of baking, and my 40 year old oven - ah, it's as old as me if not older, I can't wait for my kitchen renovation to happen and my new ILVE oven to be up and running...

But at the meantime, I have to work with what I've got.

I have been collecting macaron recipes, and have been keen to try out some.   One of the books that I like is I love macarons by Japanese Pastry Chef Hisako Ogita.  I normally use the French Meringue method, I've got all the time on earth to age the egg whites anyway.

I don't think I've done a good job this time, considering I'm trying to do a red velvet macaron.  This is what I did on Saturday.

Anyway, this is how it goes:
3 egg whites
150g pure icing sugar
18g cocoa powder
several drops of red food colouring
65g fine white sugar
90g almond meal (the original recipe specified almond flour, maybe there's the slight difference)

The oven is definitely not correct as it's not cooking the cookies properly as according to the time specified, so I had to bake them for a bit longer, and some of them cracked a bit because the oven heat is not even.

Chocolate Butter Cream Filling:
100g 72% cocoa dark chocolate
4 tbsp icing sugar
175b butter - softened to room temperature
1 tbsp milk - plus extra if needed

It's a simple filling, bit more moist than butter cream using cocoa powder.
Melt chocolate (microwave, bain marie, whatever is handy), cool a little, but not to let set again.
Whisk butter with icing sugar till soft and well mixed. 
Add a little cooled chocolate and mix well.  Add milk as needed.

I must admit using bench top mixer is a lot quicker, however I was watching tele on Saturday night after the cookies were baked, and I decided to mix it with hand whisk whilst watching ....  Iron Chef.

It worked anyway, and helped to burn a few calories.

It's easy to store the macarons, in air tight containers in freezer, but I have other uses for those cookies....

To be continued....

Monday, March 14, 2011

Home Made Yoghurt with Cranberry Sauce

I love home made yoghurt, it has a different texture and so much nicer.  I normally just make plain yoghurt, and add on home made jam or sauces, or sometimes just drizzle with honey.

Plain yoghurts are in cakes and other dishes when yoghurt is needed, so it makes sense to make plain ones.  I've posted how I make my yoghurt, but nowadays, I usually make 1 litre at a time.

It's simple to make yoghurt at home, the method is here.

For the cranberry sauce, it's a sweet sauce but not as thick as jam as I didn't use gelatin.

Soak dry cranberries in some sherry over night.
Add enough water to cover and raw sugar (or white sugar).
Add some mixed spice powder and cinnamon, reduce to thickish consistency.

It's nice as a snack or part of breakfast.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Banana Pancakes with Apple and Rhubarb Syrup

I did wake up a bit early this morning, wasn't the best weather for cooking, but it was humid and warm and I couldn't sleep well.

So I end up making pancakes for the family for brekky.  I have some very ripe bananas, lots of apples and got some rhubarb stalks on sales the day before.

If I'm making sweet brekky for the family, I'd like to make sure they have some fruits.

Spiced Apple & Rhubarb Syrup

3 stalks of rhubarb, cut into chunks
2 royal gala apples, pealed and wedged (can be red delicious, pink lady etc)
2/3 cup of raw sugar
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tbsp golden syrup
enough water to cover half of the fruits

The method is pretty simple.  Coat the fruits well with the cinnamon, sugar and syrup, add water and bring it to boil.  Simmer for a couple of minutes until the rhubarb is soft.

Banana Pancakes

2 large eggs
1 ripe banana
50g butter
4 tbsp white sugar
1.5 cup milk (approx)
200g self raising flour
Bit of olive oil for the pan

Beat eggs with sugar until it turns pale.  Beat in softened butter.
In another bowl mash the banana, add room temperature milk.
Add the mixtures together and mix well.
Sift in flour, and add a bit more milk if needed the consistency should be just coating the back of a wooden spoon.

Serve pancakes with softened apple and rhubarb and syrup, and dollop of whipped cream (with a bit of icing sugar).

Happy family!