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Monthly Archives: January 2010

All About Cointreau

Cointreau is one of the most versatile liqueurs that can be used in cooking.

I recently hosted a cocktail party for my birthday and the cocktail list included a lot of drinks that required Cointreau, so I had to buy a bottle. Prior to this, I had never really bothered with it, but I am glad I did.

I must confess that every single day since my party, I’ve pulled the Cointreau out of the cupboard….just to unscrew the cap and inhale that wonderful scent.

Not only can Cointreau be used in a variety of cocktails, and I really do mean quite a variety, but you can also use it to make your desserts go bom chicka wow wow.

So here’s what you need to know about Cointreau:

Cointreau is a liqueur made of bitter orange peels. It is made in France, sourcing bitter oranges from exotic locales such as Haiti, Spain and Brazil.

The first bottles of Cointreau were sold in 1875.

The alcohol content is 40%.

The most popular way to serve Cointreau is neat, on ice (with a twist of fresh lime), mixed with tonic, lemonade, soda water or fruit juice (pineapple, grapefruit, orange) and also in some the world’s most popular cocktails such as The Original Margarita, Cosmopolitan, White Lady and the Side Car.

Here are some of my favourite recipes that I’ve found to share with you. I can’t say that I have attempted all of them yet, but they are definitely my inspiration for my next dessert-making frenzy.

Cointreau Souffle

Cherry and Rasberry Cointreau Zabaglione

Baked Ricotta with Cinnamon Cherries

Crepes Suzette The all time classic

Dark Chocolate Tart with Cointreau Cherries

Mandarin Cointreau Cake

Cointreau Parfait with Figs

Enjoy!

If anyone out there has any Cointreau recipes they’d like to share, please do.

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Posted by on January 16, 2010 in Dazzling Drinks, Ingredients 101

 

Easiest Strawberry Cheesecake….like, EVER!

So tonight, after coming home from work feeling like death warmed up, I was in no mood to be in the kitchen any longer than I needed to be.

But my sweet tooth didn’t care.

My sweet tooth harassed me for the next two hours while i digested dinner, filling my mind with images of delectable sweets and whispering into my ear that a slice of a little something something would right all the wrongs in the world.

Meanwhile, my body was in shut down mode.

Solution?

Make hubby go down to local supermarket on a hunting expedition and come back with something to silence the voices in my head and the watering in my mouth. The best he came back with after a half hour trip was….a Sara Lee frozen strawberry cheesecake. Now….I’m not gonna rag on Sara Lee. I won’t even go there. Sara Lee desserts are perfectly  fine and acceptable. But eating a Sarah Lee frozen cheesecake is like agreeing to go on holiday to Uncle Davo and Aunty Bev’s run-down caravan by the beach instead of a holiday to the French Riviera.  You know it will be okay if you just make the best of it….but it doesn’t blow your mind.

Once I was comfortably set up on the couch with the TV remote, a slice of cheesecake and my dog, my Professor Knowitall husband decided that now was a good time to point out that in the half an hour it took for him to go and ‘fetch’ the cheesecake….I could have just made one.

Once the urge to murder him passed, I actually realised that was a good point. Fast forward to the present moment, after scouring the internet in a mad frenzy for the easiest, quickest cheesecake recipe known to woman, I’m pretty confident that I’ve found the easiest, quickest recipe that not even Aunty Bev could botch. Now I’ve tweaked it a little and added the coulis, so you can thank me later.

If you have a quicker or easier version, please share.

Strawberry Cheesecake with Coulis

Cheesecake

200g digestive biscuits

50g butter

1 tbsp honey

200ml double cream

100g cream cheese

1 tsp vanilla essence

1/2 tsp grated lemon rind

Coulis

200g fresh strawberries

2 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp strawberry liqueur (optional)

Method

  1. Place the biscuits into the food processor and process finely.
  2. Melt butter and honey in a saucepan over low heat, then combine with the processed biscuit crumbs. Mix well.
  3. Spread the mixture into a greased tin, ensuring that it has been spread evenly and pressed firmly. Refrigerate.
  4. Beat the cream until soft peaks form, then beat in the cream cheese.
  5. Now, make the coulis- combine all ingredients into blender and puree, then stir over low heat for a few minutes until slightly thickened and all sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool.
  6. Spread half of the cheese mixture over the chilled biscuit base, then spoon over the coulis, reserving some for later. Spread the remaining cheese mixture on top of the coulis and ensure it is smooth. Refrigerate.
  7. When you’re ready to serve the cheesecake, spoon some coulis over the top of the cake and plate up with fresh strawberries and some whipped cream.

The prep can take anywhere to 15-30 minutes and refrigeration time can vary, but needs to only be long enough for the cake to set.

Disclaimer: The photo I’ve posted is of the Sara Lee cake, but definitely the inspiration of this recipe.


 
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Posted by on January 15, 2010 in Devilish Desserts

 

Chickpea and Vegetable Soup

If you have kids or a husband, you would probably know a little about the absolute fricken nightmare it can be to get them to eat their vegies.  You can only explain the nutritional benefits of tomatoes and ‘accidentally’ leave the healthy eating pyramid diagram casually laying around the place so many times before figuring out that they still won’t care.

I’m guilty of of not getting enough vegies into my diet either, so please don’t think I’m up on my soapbox. Working an insane amount of hours and being demoralised and physically drained by the time I finish up for the day sorta screws with your desire to wanna spend hours in the kitchen.

So when I’ve been shitting all over the healthy food pyramid and subsisting on nasi goreng noodles and kebabs, I know that a big hit of vegies will get me back on the road to sainthood.

So this recipe is one of my quick, easy favourites. Easy enough to make a big pot of it at the start of the week and either live on that for a few days or freeze for later use. And it’s got a good range of vegetables in there and protein for the vegetarians (personally, I think there is something strange about meat in soups).

This meal is great served with crusty Ciabatta bread or on a cold winter night you can cook it down until it’s a little thicker and serve over creamy mashed potato. Yum. This soup is hearty and packed with flavour and you can go to bed knowing you got a good variety of vegies today.

Chickpea & Vegetable Soup

  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 small potatoes, diced
  • 1 stick celery, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 litre salt reduced chicken stock
  • 400g can diced tomatoes or bottle of passata
  • 400g can brown lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 400g can cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves
  1. Heat oil in heavy based pot. Cook leek, onion and garlic for a few minutes until garlic softens.
  2. Add carrots, potatoes, celery and zucchini to onion mix and stir fry for a few minutes until fragrant.
  3. Add stock, tomatoes/passata, lentils, chickpeas and cannelini beans.
  4. Add cinnamon and basil leaves while the soup cooks for approx 30 minutes. Ensure you keep stirring and try it as go along to ensure the seasonings are your taste.
 
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Posted by on January 13, 2010 in Delish Dinners, Luscious Lunches

 
 
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