Sunday, 18 September 2016

Chocolate Cashew Caramel Chews

This is a recipe from Curtis Stone and it is amazing. These chocolates are reminiscent of Snickers bars so that should tempt anyone!

200g caster sugar
60ml water
115 ml cream
175g roasted salted cashews
non-stick cooking spray
200g dark chocolate

Method: First, make the caramel cashews. In a heavy saucepan, stir the sugar and water over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Keep on the boil for about 8 minutes or until it begins to turn golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the cream. It will bubble quite a bit but keep whisking. Allow the caramel to cool for 15 minutes and it will thicken. Then toss the cashews through the caramel.
Take two large baking trays and line with baking paper. Use two forks to form balls of the caramel cashews and place on the the paper line tray. You should get around 20 small mounds. Put in the fridge for 20 minutes to firm up.
When you are ready to coat the caramel mounds, melt the chocolate using your preferred method and then let it cool slightly. Using a fork or a chocolate dipping spoon,  quickly dip the chilled caramel mounds into the melted chocolate. Work quickly here so the warm chocolate doesn't melt the caramel. Shake off the excess chocolate and place the dipped caramel cashews back on to the baking tray and then return to the fridge to set.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Gingerbread Popcorn

I have only had this recipe for a week and have made it three times already - it doesn't last long let me tell you!!!!

Gingerbread Popcorn

100g popcorn (either pop your own or buy it already popped)
110g butter
3/4 cup light muscovado sugar (or brown sugar)
1/4 cup rice malt syrup or light corn syrup
1/4 cup golden syrup
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
pinch of salt
3/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda

Method: Line two large baking tray with baking paper. Place the popcorn in a large bowl. Preheat the oven to 120 C. In a medium saucepan melt the butter, sugar, syrups, salt and spices. Heat gently to melt and then bring to the boil.  Keep on a low boil for approx. 3 minutes until the syrup is dark amber brown. Take off the heat and add the vanilla and the baking soda. Your caramel will get light and fluffy. Carefully stir half of the mixture in to the popcorn. Use a fork to spread it through the popcorn and then add the remaining mixture, tossing to coat all the popcorn. Carefully turn out on to the two lined baking trays. Flatten out as much as you can and then place the trays in the oven for 40 minutes, gently stirring every 10 minutes. It is really important to watch the popcorn as it will burn quickly.  Take out and allow to cool then break up in to pieces and store in an airtight container.

Carrot and Cashew Dressing

This is a lovely salad dressing and will make any salad seem just that little bit more fancy!!

Carrot and Cashew Dressing

3/4 cup cashew nuts soaked in water for at least an hour, preferably overnight
3/4 cup carrot juice
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp tamari or gluten free light soy sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 small clove garlic
1/2 inch piece ginger

Method: Combine all the ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper. To achieve s smoother texture add more olive oil.

Ginger and Pear Cake

A lovely warming cake. This recipe is very simple, I made it in a freestanding mixer and than made it even quicker.

Ginger and Pear Cake
3 eggs
175g butter softened
200g brown sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups SR Flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 pears, peeled, cored and sliced
60g glace ginger diced finely
1 tbsp demerara sugar

Method: Place the eggs, butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and vanilla in the bowl of a freestanding mixer. Beat until the mixture comes together but be careful not to over mix. Spoon batter into a lined and greased 22cm springform cake tin. Arrange pear slices on top of the batter and scatter with the diced ginger and demerara sugar. Bake for 35 - 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the cake centre comes out clean.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Mexican Fish Stew

A lovely, warming soup that makes you feel like you have done something good for your health and wellbeing just by eating it!

Mexican Fish Stew

300g ling fillet or any firm fleshed white fish
500g green prawns (I left tails still on, just for looks!)
1 litre chicken stock
1 medium onion diced
1 medium carrot diced
1/4 cup long grain rice
1/2 tomato diced
400g chick peas
1 zucchini diced
1 red chilli
1/2 tsp tumeric
1 red capsicum, roasted and then chopped
1 avocado diced
1 cob of corn, grilled and then de-kerneled!
coriander to garnish
hot sauce

Method: Peel and de- vein the prawns, keeping the shells aside. Cut ling into 2cm pieces. Place the chicken stock in a large saucepan and add the prawn shells, bring them to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes. Strain stock into a bowl and discard the shells.
Using the same saucepan, heat a little oil over a medium heat and saute the onion, carrot and rice for five minutes. Return the stock to the pan and add 1 cup of water. Bring the liquid back to the boil, then reduce and simmer for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes turn the heat up again and add the zucchini, chickpeas, tumeric and chilli. Cover and simmer for 3 minutes before adding the prawns and fish. Cook for a further 3 - 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle soup between serving bowls and top with coriander, avocado, grilled corn and a little chilli sauce.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Salted Peanut and Sesame Biscuits

Super quick to prepare but then you have to chill the mixture! If you can stand the suspense, these are totally worth it - sweet and salty, crispy and totally moreish!

Salted Peanut and Sesame Biscuits
220g brown sugar
60g butter, softened
1 egg, beaten
75g plain flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
70g roasted sesame seeds
2 tbsp black sesame seeds
70g roasted salted peanuts

Method: Start by roasting the sesame seeds - just toss them in a hot, dry pan but watch them carefully because the brown up pretty quickly!
Then move on to the cookie dough. Beat the sugar and the butter until pale and fluffy then beat in the egg. Add the flour, baking powder and 1/4 tsp fine salt and beat to combine. Add the sesame seeds and the peanuts, stir through well and then refrigerate for an hour so that the mixture is nice and firm.
After an hour preheat the oven to 160C and then take the cookie dough out of the fridge.
Roll dessert spoons of the mixture into balls and place on a lined baking tray, spacing out well as they do spread. You might be tempted to make larger cookies, which is fine but be aware that they do spread out during the cooking process. I made the cookie balls about the size of a walnut.
Flatten slightly with your fingers or a palette knife. Bake for 12 -15 minutes, turning the trays halfway through, until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely, they will become even more crisp as they cool.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Roasted Eggplants with Tofu, Spinach and Butter Sauce

After a few days of Holiday Baking our house needed some vegetables!!
This is a lovely, lovely vegetarian dish that would work as a side or as a complete meal. Having made it once I would serve it next time with either some labne or with some minted yogurt, just to cool it down a little.

Roasted Eggplants with Tofu, Spinach and Butter Sauce

2 medium to large eggplants
60g butter
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 red chilli, finely diced
1 tsp cumin
1 400g tin diced tomato or tomato passata
1  - 2 cups cream (depending on how creamy you like the butter sauce)
200g firm tofu diced
1 cup baby spinach leaves
Lemon infused olive oil and shredded mint to serve

Method: Cut the eggplants lengthwise and then slash the flesh diagonally (you can be a bit rough here) so that you can scoop the flesh out, leaving about 1.5 cm 'shell'. Add the flesh to a bowl and set aside. Place the eggplant shells in a baking dish, drizzle with a little oil and bake for 10 -15 minutes until softened but completely cooked through, then remove and set aside.
While the shells are baking prepare the sauce. Heat about 1/3 of the butter in a large saucepan and saute the onion, garlic, ginger, spices and chilli then add the eggplant flesh. Continue to saute until the eggplant is golden brown, adding a little oil if required. Add the diced tomato or the passata, which ever you are using and stir through,  continuing to cook for a few minutes. Add the remaining butter, 1 cup of cream and bring to a good boil for 3 - 5 minutes and then reduce heat to thicken. You may want to add some more cream here or you can add a bit of water if you prefer a lighter sauce. Season to taste and when the sauce is to the consistency you like (you want a fairly thick sauce that will stand up to the second baking) add the tofu and spinach, stir through to coat. Let the sauce simmer away for  a couple of minutes here so that the flavours combine and then scoop the sauce in to the eggplant shells. Return the baking tray to the oven at 180 C for 7 - 10 minutes until the eggplants are tender but not collapsing. Serve drizzled with a little lemon infused olive oil and some shredded mint.