Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Seafood Chowder with Spaetzle

We wanted something different, some warmth during the still cold months but something not as heavy as red meat.

I have been wanting to try out Kiwi chef Fleur Sullivan's recipe when she did it on Masterchef Australia a couple of months ago.  Please follow to the link to the original Master Class recipe.

I did use some gourmet marinara mix instead of the shell fish because it's easier for the children and used what I have on hand.  The marinara mix consists of prawns, calamari, mussels and king fish fillets.

For the Chowder:
100g butter
100g plain flour
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup white wine
2 tsp Hungarian paprika
600g gourmet marinara mix
chopped parsley and oregano
1 fennel
1 carrot
half of onion
1 glove of garlic
1 lt fish stock

For the Spaetzle:
250g plain flour
160ml milk
1 large egg
pinch of salt.


For the Chowder, melt butter in pan, sweat the vegitables, add in flour and cook and stir till it's sandy, add tomato paste and wine, make sure there's no lumps,  and slowly add the warmed stock to make roux, keep stirring to make sure there's no lumps.  Add herbs and spice, and then bring the sauce to boil and add the seafood mix, allow to cook quickly.

For the Spaetzle, mix ingredient to make a very wet dough, let it sit for a while when making chowder.  Boil a big pot of water with a bit of salt when chowder is almost ready, and put dough into the ricer (my potato ricer has got 3 discs and one of them is the spaetzle setting) and squeeze into the simmering water.

When cooked, drain and stir through some olive oil.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Chocolate Ginger & Peach Pudding / Cobbler

It was a warm pudding we made a couple of weekends ago, after our normal Saturday roast dinner.  Just like all things, the renovation and the flu and cold in the family had the best of me, and I haven't been doing much cooking and updating on the blog in the recent weeks.  Updating things slowly.

I made a ginger bread peach cobbler using one of the recipes from Super Food Idea's Magazine, a simple food magazine with a lot of easy everyday recipes.   This chocolate Ginger & Peach pudding / cobbler is just the adaption from that.

Chocolate Ginger & Peach Pudding / Cobbler
50g Dark Chocolate (Lindt's 70% Cocoa with Ginger)
50g Milk Chocolate
2 eggs
1 tbsp good cocoa powder
150g sour cream
200g SR flour
1/2 tsp bi-carb soda
100g room temperatured butter
150g brown sugar
1/2 tsp ginger powder (The ginger flavour from Lindt's is pretty strong, if use normal dark chocolate, use a bit more ginger powder)
815 can of sliced peaches

Cream butter and sugar.
Beat in eggs, one by one.
Melt chocolates with sour cream, let it cool to room temperature.
Mix the wet ingredients together, mix well.
Sift in the dry ingredients.
grease a baking dish, I used my 10" ceremic quiche dish.

Put in the peach slices (drained syrup).

Spoon on the batter.  Bake in 190C oven for 30 - 38 minutes, dust with icing sugar.

Spoon out and serve with fresh double cream.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Home Made Vanilla Honey Yoghurt

I have been making yoghurt for myself for a while, I like plain yoghurt, simple to make, can be used in cooking, dips and add a bit of fruit, coulis, jam, it's great for a snack.

However, I have been having trouble converting my whole family into home made yoghurt, maybe sometimes, but not all the time.  They are used to the sweet taste of flavoured yoghurts.

So recently, I have been making Vanilla Honey Yoghurt for them, it's easy, and it has the natural taste and as many natural ingredients I can put in.

It's simple.

1 lt milk, full cream, good quality milk, it's always a good sign to tell if milk is really milk - some milk can't be made into yoghurt.  Can we trust any products these days?
2 heap tablespoon of full cream milk powder
1 tsp vanilla essense
3 tbsp white sugar
1 heap tablespoon of good quality honey
2 heap spoon of plain yoghurt (home made will be best, you know what's in there, otherwise try to get organic yoghurt, full cream.  There are yoghurts sold in shops that will not make yoghurt)

Bring the milk to boil and then reduce heat to a slow simmer, let it simmer for 15 minutes.
Let milk cool to around 110F or 43-45C, add to the mixture of milk powder, vanilla, sugar and honey, stir through till smooth, and let sugar dissolve, add the room temperatured plain yoghurt to the milk mix.
I use my trust worthy thermo pot to keep the yoghurt warm over night, it can be a slow oven of 43C (110F).
Usually it takes 7-8 hours, the yoghurt will set in pot, and leave it at the back of the fridge to cool.  If it's left in a warm spot, yoghurt culture will keep multiplying.
Ready to be consumed when it's chilled!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Very Rich Dark Chocolate Glazed Tart with Profiteroles - Epicurious

I made it a while ago and didn't have time to post it.

Since Febuary this year, we have been talking to the builder, the draftman and the pool builders, and kitchen makers to negotiate our home renovation.  Although cooking is stress relief for me, sometimes, I just didn't have the energy any more after going around and look at different colours of paint, designs and spending whole afternoon in the hardware stores.

In a couple of week's time, I will be living without my kitchen, new one will be in, but old will be out.  We are in the mode of packing, reducing pantries and fridge items, and all of the renovation dos and don'ts.

I haven't put this tart on the blog before, it was a bit of reminder of our wedding cake, a big chocolate mud cake with profiteroles filled with chocolate creme pattiserie and lots of chocolate curls.

A dark chocolate tart based on this recipe from Epicurious Website:

Chocolate Glazed Chocolate Tart

The only thing I did different was using Arnott's Chocolate Ripple Biscuit instead of chocolate graham crackers (I'm  not sure if I can find it here).

Added profiteroles filled with vanilla creme pattiserie and drizzled with spun sugar, caramel to stick the profiteroles together.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Chocolate Walnut Cake with Strawberry Butterscotch Sauce

This were made last weekend? I bought some strawberries from the sales rack, not the best quality, but it's so nice on desserts, and I've promised the children something chocolate. I was playing around with a couple of things, and as usual, chucking in bits and pieces from the pantry, and I got this:

Chocolate Walnut Cake with Strawberry Butterscotch Sauce


150g SR flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g walnut (lightly toasted in pan and grounded)
50g ground almond
50g butter
100g olive oil
100g white sugar
100g brown sugar
100ml cream
50ml milk (extra if needed)
2 whole eggs - Beaten
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp all spice
100g dark chocolate
50g cocoa

Strawberry Sauce:

80g cream
50g butter
150g strawberry
1 tsp cream sherry
Juice from Half of a Lemon
50ml water
150g white sugar


For the Cake:
1. Heat up the cream to just boil with butter and pour over broken dark chocolate piece and white sugar, stir till smooth.
2. Wait until cool a bit, add in brown sugar and eggs and mix well.
3. Sift in flour, and spice mix together and mix well till smooth, mix in the nuts.
4. Add in milk and stir through to check consistency, add a bit more if needed to be.
5. Pre-heat oven to 190C and line and grease a 20cm cake tin.
6. Bake for 1 hour and check if skewer is clean when stick in.

For the Syrup:
1. Make sugar syrup with water and white sugar.
2. Add Strawberry and cook till liquid is pink. Add Lemon juice
3. Add sherry.
4. Take strawberry out, add butter, stir through till mix well.
5. Add cream and cook till creamy and mix through.

To serve: Add sugar strawberry on top of cake and pour sauce around cake.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Brioche with A Espresso Chocolate Cake Twist

A cakey bread or a bready cake?

Something I did when I can't decide what to bake.

Bread or cake....

This is done on a sheet of brioche dough, I used whole egg with milk so it's a bit toned down simple brioche, and a layer of espresso chocolate butter cake batter, rolled up and cut into scrolls, proofed again and baked into little cup cakes.

Brushed on a bit of egg wash on the bread sheet.

So, do you call it a cake, or a bread roll?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Poached Salmon with Creamy Rice and White Sauce

I love salmon, although it is a quite oily fish, every time we cook it, we end up eating quite a lot of it.  So break it down to smaller portions, poaching rather than pan frying, is the way that we can try to be a bit more cautious with what we eat.

We have 2 big pieces of Atlantic salmon cutlets, around 700g.  More salmon pieces can be used in the similar quantity of poaching liquid.

To prepare the poaching liquid, I put:
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup white wine
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
3 bay leaves
7-8 whole black pepper
1 onion
1 lemon (without skin)
parsley stems
and enough water to cover the fish.

Bring the poaching liquid to boil and then reduce the heat, poach the salmon in the lowest heat, for around 15-20 minutes, you shouldn't be able to see the liquid simmer.  Once cooked, take the salmon out and break it down into chunks, take out of all the bones.

Creamy rice:
2 cup chicken stock
2 long grain rice (jasmine or basmati)
1 cup risoni
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
grated parmesan cheese
Olive oil

Heat up olive oil in the sauce pan to cook rice, then add rice and risoni, stir till a bit fragrant and rice change a bit of colour.  Add warm stock, slowly and keep stirring.  Add warm milk, and salt and pepper.  The process is a bit like making risotto, add a bit more stock than 2 cup depending on the rice.   When almost cooked, add parmesan cheese and take the sauce pan off stove, close lid and let it sit for 10 minutes.

White sauce:
A bit of something to add to salmon and rice, so it's not too dry.  Just reduce some of the poaching liquid (it's already quite flavoursome) and add a bit of butter and cream.

My children are very fussy eaters and they are happy with this subtle flavoured dish.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Cakey Chocolate Chip Cookies - Martha Stewart Recipe

I borrowed this cook book from the library, and it's full of wonderful cookie recipes.

Martha Stewart's Cookies

Please follow the link to the actual recipe.
Cakey Chocolate Chip Cookies

Lovely cookies, and I'm addicted to Martha Stewart recipes!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Fudgy Double Chocolate Cake for Birthday

Luke didn't get chocolate cup cakes to bring to school, so I promised him a very chocolate birthday cake.  He's into simple things, so, a fudgy chocolate cake he chose from the library book Epicure Chocolate

Fudgy Double Chocolate Cake

120g butter
250g Lindt's dark chocolate 50% cocoa
2 cups self raising flour
2 eggs
1.5 cup sugar (I used 1 cup white sugar, 0.5 cup brown sugar)
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 180C.
Beat egg with sugar until ribbony and at the meantime, melt chocolate and butter. 
Mix the liquids once chocolate and butter cool a little, and add water and milk last.
Sift flour and cocoa powder together into a clean bowl,  and then add to the liquid.
Fold and mix well.  Line and grease a 20cm spring form tin (it's higher than normal cake tin) and bake the cake for 45 minutes. 
The cake might still be a bit gooey in the middle, that's fine.  Cool and then chill in fridge before apply icing.

Chocolate Ganache
100g Lindt's dark chocolate 50% cocoa

100ml thickened cream
30g butter

Luke didn't like other icing, but I had to explain to him that with out another colour, I can't write on the cake... the yellow icing was the bit of left overs from his cup cakes...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Lemon Cup Cakes with Lemon Butter Icing

I told Luke's teacher that I would make some cup cakes to send to his school on his birthday.

Just some simple ones as there's no baking competition in the local school and kids appreciate tasty cakes.  I did scratch the bottom of the barrel trying to find out what I can make when I was told, please do not send anything with chocolate or nuts due to allergy concerns...

No chocolate, that's a bit harsh, considering, Luke doesn't like any other cakes apart from chocolate.  Very occasionally, he'd take some vanilla cakes, but he's very very particular about fruits, dry or fresh in his cakes.

He doesn't like them and he prefers smooth texture.

But just butter cake, will that be a bit bland?  

As long as there's no chunks of fruit.   We settled down on:

Lemon Cup Cakes with Lemon Butter Icing

For 28 Cup Cakes
(including the students in his class, his teacher, the teaching aid and his speech therapist)
3 cups of Self Raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
200g salt reduced butter, room temperature
4 large eggs
1.5 cup sugar
1 cup milk
very fine zests of 2 lemon
Juice of 1.25 lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla essense

Lemon Butter Icing
50g butter
100g icing sugar
1.5 tsp yellow icing
Juice of 0.75 of lemon (juice of 2 lemons in total)

Pre-heat oven to 180C
Cream butter and sugar, till light and pale, add in eggs, one by one, I used bench top mixer on high.
Add in room temperature milk and vanilla and whisk till well mixed.
Sift flour and bi-carb soda in another clean bowl and add to the milk butter mixture.  Fold in well and add lemon juice and zest.
Share the batter in the cups and bake for 15-18 minutes, until it's turning a bit light brown.

For the icing, it's simple, just heat up lemon juice and butter, mix well and add in food colouring and icing sugar, till it's thick and glossy.  Apply to cooled cup cakes and add on a bit of sprinkles...