Saturday, 22 October 2016

Nutella Pie for Bella

My daughter could live entirely on Nutella. Not joking.

Nutella Pie
400g Nutella or another hazelnut chocolate spread
3 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
400ml cream
1 tbsp plain flour
30g roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped to different sizes
Pastry - use your own sweet pastry if your prefer, I used the Maggie Beer sour cream pastry.
125 ml sour cream
250g plain four
200g butter, chilled

Method: Prepare you pastry. Dice the butter and pulse in a food processor with the flour until it resembles crumbs. Add the sour cream and process to combine into a ball. Turn out and form into a flat disc, wrap in cling wrap and put it in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
When it is ready, roll out on a lightly floured surface and line your pie tin. Put it back in to the fridge for ten minutes then remove again. Prick the base and line with baking paper and weights. Blind bake for about 10 minutes then remove the paper and weights and bake for five more minutes to crisp up the base a little. Set aside to cool.
To make the filling whisk the Nutella, eggs and egg yolks and the cream together until smooth. Take about 1/4 cup of the filling and mix it in a small bowl with the flour and then return it to the rest of the mixture, whisking well to combine. Pour gently into the cooled pastry case and bake for approximately 1 hour or until the edge is set but there is still a bit of a wobble happening in the centre. Allow to cool and then serve topped with toasted hazelnuts.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Porcini Braised Beef with Horseradish Marscapone

This is from Curtis Stone and is delicious. Very rich, very comforting. There are a few steps but it is well worth the effort.

Porcini Braised Beef with Horseradish Marscapone

Porcini Braised Beef 
15 g dried porcini mushrooms (look for these in the Asian food section of your supermarket)
1.2 kilo chuck steak, large dice
salt and pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup white wine
3 cups beef stock
450g mushrooms, thickly slice
4 shallots, sliced
8 garlic cloves, minced
bunch of fresh thyme

Horseradish Marscapone
1 cup marscapone
1/4 cup grated fresh horseradish
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper

Method: Preheat oven to 150 C. Using a clean coffee grinder or a small food processor grind the porcini mushrooms into a powder. Heat a Dutch oven or another wide ovenproof pot over a high heat. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Add the oil to the pot and then add the beef, browning on each side for about 10 minutes. Add the wine and stir to deglaze the pot. Add the beef stock, mushrooms, shallots, garlic and thyme as well as the porcini powder. Bring to a gentle simmer then cover and place in the oven. Braise the beef, stirring and turning the pieces of meat over half way through the cooking for 3 hours. 
Uncover the pot and continue cooking the beef for another hour or so, or until the beef is tender enough to pull apart with a spoon and the liquid has reduced by about one third. Discard the thyme stems. 
Transfer the beef to four shallow serving bowls, spoon the mushrooms and braising liquid over and serve with the horseradish marscapone.

To make the horseradish marscapone combine the ingredients until blended, season to taste. If you cannot find fresh horseradish substitute with bottled minced horseradish.

Green Spring Salad - Temple Food

Nigella Lawson would call this Temple Food (as in your body is a temple). It is based on a recipe from Donna Hay and is a very pretty spring salad using pretty much whatever is in your fridge. The blanching takes a bit of time but it is hardly complex so you can multi task and clean your cutlery drawer at the same time!

Green Spring Salad

1 bunch asparagus, blanched and sliced into three lengths
150g green beans, blanched and sliced lengthways
100g snow peas, blanched
200g brussels sprouts, blanched and sliced
1 small fennel bulb, finely sliced, fennel fronds to garnish
2 medium zucchini sliced into ribbons with a vegetable peeler or mandolin
1 avocado sliced
1 cup baby spinach leaves
2tbsp chopped mint
1 tbsp capers
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
100g feta
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
zest and juice of a lemon
3 tbsp olive oil

Method - Blanch and prepare all the vegetables. Place in a large bowl. Make a simple dressing by combining the white wine vinegar, the lemon zest and juice and the olive oil. Mix well, season and adjust to taste and then drizzle over the salad. Toss to coat and then turn out on to a serving plate. Scatter fennel fronds, toasted pine nuts and feta over the salad and serve.

Raw Sesame and Cranberry Bars

I made these for a Yoga Retreat. They are a strangely sweet and salty combination and have been quite popular with my children.

Raw Sesame and Cranberry Bars
2 cups sesame seeds
1 cup dried Cranberries
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup tahini
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup maple syrup or rice malt syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp salt

Method - Place all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the remaining ingredients and fold through gently. Press the mixture firmly into moulds or into a lined slice tray. I used ice cube trays and they worked really well. Chill in the freezer until they have firmed up. I would suggest keeping them in the freezer until you want them. They won't melt completely but they will soften with heat.

Salted Peanut Cookies

It seems ridiculous to need another cookie recipe, and yet...... I saw these on Joy the Baker, who had found them on Smitten Kitchen  who had found them in Ovenly and so the cookie cycle goes.

Salted Peanut Cookies
1 3/4 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
450 grams peanut butter 
Coarse-grained sea salt, to finish
Method: Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a  baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl or a freestanding mixer, whisk together the light brown sugar and eggs until smooth. Whisk in the vanilla extract, then the peanut butter until smooth and completely incorporated.
Chill the dough in its bowl for 15 minutes, stirring it once (so the edges don’t freeze first), before scooping it.  Scoop or spoon the dough into balls and place on prepared tray. If you want them to absolutely keep their shape, place the tray in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking.
Sprinkle the dough balls lightly with coarse-grained sea salt just before baking. Bake smaller cookies for 14 to 15 minutes and larger for 18 to 20. When finished, cookies should be golden at edges. They’ll need to set on the tray for a minute or two before they can be lifted intact to a cooling rack. 

General Tso's Tofu

I have never heard of General Tso's Tofu, apparently (according to The Minimalist Baker) it is based on General Tso's Chicken. Still no clearer but this recipe packs a punch and is a great vegetarian dish. This recipe is from The Minimalist Baker.

General Tso's Tofu

For the Tofu

350 g firm tofu
3 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 glove garlic, minced
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
4 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp canola oil

For the Sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp cornflour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
2 tbsp water

Stir Fry
oil to stir fry
5 dried red chillis
1 bunch spring onions, roughly diced
sesame seeds to garnish

Method: Get your rice ready and prepare the green vegetable or choice.
Start with the Tofu. Add tofu to a shallow mixing bowl and top with tamari or soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, sesame oil, and maple syrup. Toss to combine. Let it rest while you get everything else ready, stirring occasionally.
Make the sauce by combining sesame oil, cornstarch, minced garlic, minced ginger, rice vinegar, maple syrup, tamari or soy sauce, and water in a small mixing bowl and whisk thoroughly to combine.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed (I left mine as is).
Use a slotted spoon or fork to transfer tofu to large freezer bag. Add cornflour 1 Tbsp at a time and toss to coat. Continue adding more cornstarch and tossing until tofu is coated in a clear layer - about 4 Tbsp.
Heat a heavy based frypan to a medium heat and add 2 Tbsp canola oil and let warm for 30 seconds. Then gently transfer the tofu to the pan (leaving any excess cornflour behind).
Cook on all sides for 1 minute, or until light golden brown. You don’t want it blackened or burned, as you’ll be cooking it again later with the sauce. Aim for a consistent golden brown crust. Remove tofu from pan as it’s finished browning. Set aside.
Return frypan to the stove and increase heat to medium-high. Add 1 Tbsp sesame oil, chopped spring onions, and dried red chilies. Sauté for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the sauce and tofu. Cook, stirring frequently, to coat the tofu and vegetables for 1-2 minutes, or until warmed through and the sauce has slightly thickened. Remove pan from heat and add sesame seeds (optional). Toss to coat. Serve with rice and steamed broccoli (or any steamed green vegetable you fancy!)

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Red Quinoa, Blueberry and Rocket Salad with Baked Feta

I just bought a copy of Christina Tosi's Milk Bar LIFE.  So far I have made cookies, pizza and salad and all have been superb! This salad is based on the XXL Lady Salad but I have changed it ever so slightly.

Red Quinoa, Blueberry and Rocket Salad with Baked Feta

2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp olive oil
300 - 400g feta cheese
black pepper
1 cup cooked red quinoa
1/2 cup slivered almonds
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp honey
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp fish sauce
salt to season
3 tbsp olive oil
rocket leaves ( 3 - 4 cups approx. I just used a packet)
1 punnet blueberries
2 spring onions sliced
1 tbsp coriander leaves
1 tbsp parsley leaves

Method: Heat the oven to 180 C. In a shallow bowl whisk together the 2 tbsp honey and the 1 tbsp olive oil. Cut the feta into bit sized cubes and then toss in the honey mixture. Sprinkle with a little black pepper and then carefully transfer to a lined baking tray and bake for 15 minutes or until the feta begins to caramelise and brown. Set aside to cool. At the same time spread the slivered almonds on to a lined tray and toast in the oven until golden brown, set  aside to cool. Be careful as they brown very quickly.
To make the dressing whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, mustard, fish sauce and salt in a medium bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil and whisk vigorously until the dressing is smooth and well combined.
To assemble the salad toss the rocket leaves, spring onion, coriander and parsley in to a large bowl. Add the blueberries and the quinoa and then the almonds. Carefully add the baked feta and toss to combine and then drizzle with the dressing and toss again to coat.