ANZAC slice – taste tester

It was 9pm on a Monday night when I turned to TimmyC on the couch (the hardest place to get up from) saying that I would like to make a slice for work morning tea the next day. He did his usual eye roll but then agreed to helping me make something that I assured him was going to be easy. To be honest, I hadn’t even looked at the method but luckily it was fairly easy to throw together.

I love chewy ANZAC biscuits, so I adhered to tips to take out the slice from the oven earlier to keep the chewy texture and I read some comments which said it was a bit bland or sweet enough so I added an extra tablespoon of golden syrup. This is ten times easier than ANZAC cookies because there is no rolling and pressing, it’s just throwing it into one pan and cutting it up later. You have to make this, even if just for the smell.

ANZAC slice

Ingredients (in Australian units)

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1.5 cups rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup desiccated coconut
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 125g butter
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 1/2 tsp bi-carb soda
Equipment
  • slice pan
  • baking paper
  • large mixing bowl
  • small saucepan
  • spatula
  • wire rack

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160C (fan forced) and line a slice tin with baking paper
  2. Throw in all the dry ingredients into a big mixing bowl and make a well in the centre
  3. Place butter and golden syrup in the saucepan and put it on medium heat until the butter melts
  4. Take the saucepan off the heat and add the bi-carb soda (which will foam up, just keep stirring until it all dissolves)
  5. Pour butter mixture into the well and mix together
  6. Place mixture evenly into the lined slice tin and place it in the middle shelf of the oven
  7. Bake for 25 minutes (for a chewy texture) and let the slice cool on a wire rack (without the tin)

Tips~

I think using a high quality golden syrup makes all the difference in this slice. I use Lyle’s golden syrup made in the UK which can be found in a lot of supermarkets.

Cauliflower and leek soup

As the temperature dips in Australia, it definitely feels like soup weather. I was supposed to post this earlier for a friend but since tomorrow is forecasted for possible snow in Canberra, this might be the perfect timing.

Cauliflower and leek soup

Serves 4 (10 minutes prep, 45 minutes cooking time)

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 cups (500mL) of vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup (125mL)of thickened cream
  • salt and pepper
Equipment
  • deep pot
  • stick blender
Method
  1. Thinly slice the white part of the leeks (yes it needs to be said for some people)
  2. Heat a pot to medium/high heat
  3. Add some olive oil and sauté garlic and leeks until translucent
  4. Add florets of the cauliflower and diced stem to the pot and stir fry for 5 minutes
  5. Add the vegetable stock
  6. Bring to boil and then reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes
  7. Take off heat and blend the soup with the stick blender until smooth
  8. Return to low heat, add cream and then salt and pepper to taste
  9. Ready to serve when it is hot again (but not boiling)

 

Tips
For a smoky bacon flavour, crisp up 250g diced smoked bacon and blend most of it in step #7. Top with remaining bacon bits when serving.

 

This is a picture of the bacon version, I didn’t top mine with bacon because I ate the remaining bacon. Let’s keep that a secret between you and me.

Playing Tourist and Pork Belly Adobo with Filipino Garlic Rice — shenANNAgans

This is really to serve as a reminder for me to make this, but hopefully it inspires you too! shenANNAgans is so talented, go check out her blog.

Pork Belly Adobo with Filipino Garlic Rice takes hours to cook and the smell of it stays in the house for days, it is a very fatty, high-calorie dish and certainly not something you eat every day, but it is TOTALLY worth the indulgence!!! Working in the hospitality industry is sometimes like traveling the world, it seems to attract adventurers…

via Playing Tourist and Pork Belly Adobo with Filipino Garlic Rice — shenANNAgans

Creamy chicken pie recipe

I went to buy a creamy chicken pie the other day but they were sold out, so I had no choice but to make myself some as I had already promised my stomach. I like to be efficient when I can (or some people would call me lazy) so I bought a roast chicken so 1) I wouldn’t have to pre-cook the chicken for the pies 2) to have delicious chicken sandwiches for lunch and 3) I could just roast chicken for general snacking.

I also used this opportunity to use or random bits and pieces in my fridge like slices of cooked haloumi, vegetables that were looking a bit sad and also use up some of those frozen vegetables that I thought I’d eat to create a healthier meal or curry puffs.

So here we go…

Creamy chicken pie recipe

(serves approximately 16 smallish pies)

Ingredients

  • 1 cooked chicken breast shredded (use haloumi as a vegetarian alternative)
  • 2 cups frozen or fresh vegetables chopped into little pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1.5-2 cups thickened cream
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  • 6 sheets of puff pastry
  • spray oil
  • egg wash

Equipment

  • Oven
  • Wok or a big fry pan
  • Texas muffin tin *see tips
  • Pastry brush

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C and spray oil onto your muffin tin
  2. Heat some olive oil in the wok on med-high heat and then cook the garlic for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the onions and sauté until translucent
  4. Mix in your vegetables
  5. Add a dash of water and cover until all the vegetables are relatively soft
  6. Pour in your cream and let it simmer (take out your puff pastry to defrost)
  7. Add in your flour and stir in until the mixture has thickened (add more flour if it is still too runny)
  8. Remove off heat and season to taste
  9. Cut 4 defrosted puff pastry sheets into quarters for pie bases
  10. Cut the remaining 2 sheets of pastry into 9 equal squares for pie lids and cut two small slits in the centre of each square
  11. Mould the pie bases into the muffin tin and fill with pie filling
  12. Delicately stretch the pie lids over each pie and tuck in the edges for a neater look
  13. Brush on egg wash and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown

Tips

I really like the Texas (6x) muffin tin size but you can use a normal 12x muffin tin, which will mean smaller pies

You can make the mixture a few days ahead of time and just spoon the filling into defrosted pastry on the day. I have never had a pie left over for freezing but I’m sure you’re able to.

I served 1-2 pies per person with a side of salad for a meal

Enjoy!

Any jam and almond tart recipe      

I haven’t forgotten about my New Year’s resolutions and I know the clock is fading fast, but I’ve been plugging along behind the scenes working away at the list.

I have a confession to make, for some reason I love buying jam. I don’t have something in mind to use it for, although I would love it if someone would make me fresh scones on a daily basis. I just like tasting it at markets, buying lots of different flavours and it just sits there in my cupboard begging to be used. Recently I bought a whole stash of Walsh’s homemade jam made in Boorowa and when I went to put them in the cupboard, I noticed I didn’t have any room left because it was filled with other jams, chutneys and relishes. I have a problem (one of many) but let’s work on that part later. When I found this recipe I was so happy that it was delicious and buttery, it was also a tart and best of all it used roughly a jar of jam!

This recipe for a tart base is so easy! I’ve used orange marmalade and peach and mango jam so far but I’m dying to try this with more of a berry style jam or Black Horse’s plum and cinnamon (which is one of my favourite jams).

Any jam and almond tart

Original recipe taken from here.

Ingredients

Filling

  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 150g flaked almonds
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup of jam

Pastry base

  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 225g plain flour
  • 3 tablespoons of chilled water
  • 4 tablespoons cornflour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Equipment

  • greased tart tin
  • saucepan
  • spatula

Method

  • Throw all the pastry ingredients into a food processor and process until a dough has just formed.
  • Press the dough into the tin and ensure an even surface. Refrigerate the dough in the tin for at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C
  • Place all the filling ingredients except the jam into a saucepan on low heat, stirring until butter has melted and then set aside to cool
  • Take the tart tin out of the fridge and spread the jam over the pastry base and then layer the flaked almond mixture evenly on top and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden (keep your eye on the tart towards the end as the almonds can burn easily)

Tips

  • I’ve been making my tarts at 180C with a fan but I found after 25 minutes the almonds get very dark, maybe it is supposed to be 160C fac forced
  • Both time I’ve made this tart, I didn’t have time to wait for it to cool before taking it out of the tin; despite looking like a quick and easy recipe, you have to be patient and allow for some cooling period or you’ll end up with the corners crumbling in the tin and a not so pretty tart (like mine).
     Yes I realised I forgot to take a photo until after I put it in the ovenIt is lovely when it is warm; the jam is runny, the pastry is crumbly and the top is crunchy- yum. 

Pancake trial #3

My lovely American friend invited me over for brunch which entailed bacon, home-made hash browns and very fluffy thick pancakes, she happily gave me the recipe and I needed to try for myself if it was as easy as she said it was. The recipe is supposed to be easy to remember: 1 of everything, although you have to remember it is only one tablespoon of sweetener or your teeth will fall out. 😉

Ingredients

  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 1-3/4 cup milk (depends on how thick or thin you like your pancakes)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey
  • Butter for cooking

Equipment

  • Fry pan
  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring cup for easy pouring of the batter
  • Spatula

Method

  1. Throw all the ingredients into a bowl and mix only until all the ingredients have just been incorporated. Apparently it doesn’t even matter if you don’t get all the flour pockets, just don’t over mix it
  2. Let it stand in the bowl for 10 minutes
  3. Grab a measuring cup for easy scooping, I chose my 1/3 cup for smallish pancakes
  4. Heat the pan on medium heat and throw a knob of butter to oil the pan
  5. Once the butter is bubbling, scoop a portion of your pancake batter in and it should spread nicely to create circles. I was able to fit two in a big fry pan, because I only added 3/4 cup of milk, it was thick and stayed put
  6. Flip the pancake once bubbles have formed (should only take a few minutes).
  7. Once flipped, it only needs around another minute to brown the other side.
  8. Remember to adjust heat based on your stove top so the pancakes do not burn

Tips

This mixture made only 5 fluffy pancakes, it is good portions for one or two people and ensures you’re not eating pancakes for the next week.

They reheat well after a 10-15 seconds in the microwave.

You can also add some berries (frozen or fresh), after you’ve poured the batter into the pan

Throw all the ingredients in a bowl, mix, rest for 10 minutes, scoop, cook, flip and eat, it is that easy.
TimmyC has his with maple syrup and ice cream, I prefer mine with Lyle’s Golden syrup.They’re so fluffy!!I think I have found a winner, these pancakes are thick and fluffy, the ingredients list is easy to remember and are basic staple to the kitchen pantry/fridge. I will just have to keep an eye on the cooking so they don’t look so brown around the edges. That is one out of five completed for my New Year’s resolution. It’s already August, eeep!

Pancake like object trial#2 aka crepes

TimmyC’s love of pancakes quickly shifted to crepes when he discovered their crispy buttery goodness a few years ago and I thought while I was trying to get a good pancake, I could probably look into crepes as well.

A wonderful Belgian friend of mine made me some crepes for breakfast the last time I stayed with her; the crepes were delicious with a subtle sweetness from the vanilla sugar she uses. I didn’t find it needed much else but a touch of cinnamon to enjoy its buttery crispy goodness but she had hers with bacon, banana and syrup. Her recipe comes from an old photocopied recipes from Belgium and she was also nice enough to translate it for me so I could try to make them when I got home.


 

Crêpes (makes 15)

I had to double check with my friend that I had written down the right type of flour, I just thought it was an odd concept for something so thin and crispy to have self raising flour.
I forgot to make a well for my wet ingredients which just meant I had to mix a bit more but it incorporated together in the end.

Ingredients

  • 200g self raising flour
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 10g vanilla sugar
  • 500mL milk
  • 4 eggs
  • Butter for frying

Equipment

  • Fry pan with shallow sides
  • Spatula
  • 2x Mixing bowls

Method

  1. Sift flour into a bowl
  2. Mix through both sugars
  3. Make a well
  4. Mix wet ingredients in another bowl
  5. Put eggs and milk in the well and mix until everything is incorporated
  6. Ladle the batter into medium hot buttered pan.
  7. Swirl the pan instantly to cover the bottom of the pan evenly with batter
  8. Loosen edges with spatula when bubble start to form
  9. Flip the crepe without dropping it on the floor
  10. Cook for less than a minute on the other side or until golden brown

Tips

We were eating them by the stove top because we were impatient and we liked them hot. My friend placed all of the layers on a plate kept it warm in the oven until she was done cooking. You will have to keep adjusting the heat to the pan so the crepes won’t burn.

For my own convenience, I cooked them all in one hit and just microwaved them when I wanted one; they were hot but lost their crispiness. They looked ugly at first but it takes a few tries to get them thin and flip them without breaking.

Choose your condiments and you’re on your way! Tim likes maple syrup and ice cream (you’ll see a trend) but I like it plain and simple with hints of icing sugar and cinnamon. Layers of crispy thin crepes

Mini quiches – recipe

After my productive morning of sleeping in and having breakfast before 9am (yes I enjoy my sleep), I decided to make something quick and savoury for a morning tea I was headed out to later that day. I coincidentally had all the things for mini quiches except for puff pastry (which is usually my freezer staple), but I sent TimmyC out for that while I quickly gathered the rest of the ingredients.

This is only the second time I’ve made mini quiches and I’ve found them to be quite easy.

Mini quiches

(I made 18 quiche Lorraine and 18 vegetarian quiches)

Ingredients:

Spray cooking oil
1 small onion diced (I used Spanish)
1/2 cup of grated tasty cheese
1 dollop thickened cream
4 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
4 sheets of puff pastry
3 rashers of bacon (diced)
small grape tomatoes (1 per vegetarian tarlet)
basil leaves torn
Parmesan
Persian fetta

Equipment:

muffin tins
oven
mixing bowl
scone cutter or a drinking glass

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C
  2. Lay out all the pastry sheets separately to allow them to thaw
  3. Spray the muffin tins with spray cooking oil
  4. Cut out 9 holes per sheet using the scone cutter/glass and place them into the bottom of the muffin tin. It does mean wasting some pastry depending on the diameter of your cutter.
  5. Place onion, cream, eggs, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix
  6. To guarantee even dispersal of ingredients and to make it easier making two types of quiches, I put a sprinkle of bacon and cheese in each quiche Lorraine and a tomato cut in half with torn basil leaves and cheeses in the other tarts and just spooned in the same vegetarian egg mixture
  7. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, I rotated the tray for another 2 minutes. Depending on your oven, it might take 15-20 minutes but you’ll know when they’re done because they’ll be golden brown.
  8. I usually leave the quiche inside the muffin tin for another 5 minutes before transferring it to a cooling rack.

Tips:

I usually spray my tins with oil on the door of my dish washer to contain the mess
It doesn’t matter if you spill over, the egg mixture just cooks in the tart mold and it holds together
If the mixture starts getting to thick towards the end, just add an extra egg or cream
I just did four cheeses with tomato basil because that’s what I had on hand, you can throw anything in these things like: canned salmon, sun-dried tomato etc.

If you don’t have a scone cutter you could also use a glass. I love how the pastry curves with the tin to make perfect tartlet shells. These are the vegetarian option: tomato, basil and cheese Quiche Lorraine in the making.All done and golden brown.

Green and Gold

What is more patriotic than green and gold and especially with the addition of BACON! I’ve been having cravings for zucchini slice and I thought I’d make it for a BBQ I was going to. A few years ago, I grew so many zucchinis I didn’t know what to do with them. I fried them, grated them into patties, made zucchini balls and I also made a lot of zucchini slice. It’s a very popular recipe and everyone I know uses the same one. Here it is for you guys:

Ingredients
  • 5 eggs
  • 150g (1 cup) self-raising flour, sifted
  • 375g zucchini, grated
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 200g rind less bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil
Method
Step 1
Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease and line a 30 x 20cm lamington pan.
Step 2
Beat the eggs in a large bowl until combined. Add the flour and beat until smooth, then add zucchini, onion, bacon, cheese and oil and stir to combine. Pour into the prepared pan and bake in oven for 30 minutes or until cooked through.

recipe from taste.com.au

image

Recipe: Armenian Nutmeg Cake

I’m not nuts for nuts, especially in my cake, so I was surprised to find my unusual addiction for a cake that a co-worker made was filled with them! I don’t usually do this but I just had to ask for the recipe!

It fills the house with the scent of beautiful nutmeg and eating it warm is truly magical. I know you’re supposed to use freshly ground nutmeg but I only had bought nutmeg powder and it still tasted pretty darn good.

Armenian Nutmeg Cake (courtesy of Annabel- thanks!)

2 cups SR flour                         1 egg

1.5 cups brown sugar                2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg 

1 cup milk                                0.5 cup chopped walnuts

1 tsp bicarb soda                       125 g butter or margarine

Combine sifted flour and sugar and rub in butter. Press about half of the mixture firmly into the base of a deep greased or baking-papered tin. I use an 8 inch square tin but an 8 or 9 inch round one is fine too. Dissolve soda in milk, add egg and nutmeg, beat well. Add this into remaining mixture and beat again. Then pour it onto the base already in the tin (it will be very runny).  Sprinkle with walnuts. Bake in a moderate oven for about 45 minutes.

Happy Canberra Day!

——-12/03/2012——-
There’s no better day to make a ‘Canberra cake’ than on Canberra day! I love how all the ingredients they used were sourced locally, I haven’t made it myself yet but it’s on my very long ‘to do’ list. I hope you’re all having a safe long weekend.

Planning is under way for a year of memorable celebrations to mark this special anniversary not only for Canberrans but for all Australians. The Centenary of Canberra will create lasting legacies in many forms, to take our city confidently into the next century.

Canberra Cake

Friday, 12 March, 2010

Birthdays and cake go hand in hand and with two years to go until Canberra’s 100th anniversary the Centenary of Canberra is delighted to share the delicious Canberra Cake recipe with Canberrans. 

Released on the 12 March 2010, the brilliant, healthy recipe was designed by Ms Janet Jeffs of Ginger Catering according to the 100 mile principle – that is, all ingredients are sourced from within a 100 mile radius of Canberra.

Some of the local ingredients the Canberra Cake features includes carrots from Cowra, Pialligo apples, Murrumbateman honey and baker’s flour from Gunnedah.

Canberra Cake
(Walnut, apple, carrot and honey cake)
 A healthy soft cake made with ingredients sourced from our food region

Makes 1x 1.5kg cake 20cm

Ingredients
 250g Sassafras walnuts
250g Pialligo apples peeled, cored and diced
3 Kitanodai carrots from Cowra
300g Demeter biodymanic bakers flour from Gunnedah
250g Murrumbateman honey
4 Harmony Hills free range eggs
200ml Homeleigh Grove extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp ground ginger
2 tsp bicarbonate soda

Recipe
Sift flour with spice and bicarb
Mix liquids into all dry ingredients
Bake at 130°C for 1 hour
Test with a skewer

Cream cheese lemon icing
125g light cream cheese
2 tbs icing sugar
1 tsp lemon rind
Cream together and ice top of the cake when cool

Canberra Cake produced by Janet Jeffs of Ginger Catering at Old Parliament House

Easy Peasy Summer Series- Cobb loaf

I know it has been several months and I haven’t posted many recipes, but I guarantee you that I have been cooking (and will post more I promise)! With the hotter months here (well it’s supposed to be) and everyone still in holiday mode, I thought I’d share some of my favourite simple ‘easy peasy’ (note: there are no peas in the recipe) recipes with you.

Cobb loaf with French Onion dip (thanks Lissy!)

Ingredients:

* 1 packet of French onion soup mix

* 1 large tub of sour cream

* 1 cobb loaf or similar bread

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C
  2. Take the loaf and cut off a little ‘hat’ and pull out chunks of bread from the inside and place it on an aluminium foil covered baking tray (see 2nd picture)
  3. Mix the french onion soup and sour cream together and pour into the bread cavity
  4. Bake til the bread is golden brown
  5. Enjoy!

I usually put it on the table as is and people just help themselves, I also put a bread knife next to it so once the bread pieces have been eaten you can cut the bread ‘bowl’ into sections and eat the whole thing!