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Monthly Archives: April 2010

Lemon Meringue Tarts

I’ve tried some pretty fancy desserts during my restaurant hopping…but yet, I always come back to the good old classic lemon meringue tart. I’m not one for sickly sweet desserts, believe it or not, I don’t actually have much of a sweet tooth. I think that’s why the tartness of the lemon strikes a chord with me….and just before the tartness gets too overwhelming, it’s cut through with the delicate airy meringue that dissolves on your tongue. Bliss.

I also recently bought myself one of those cool kitchen ‘blowtorch’ things- anything with fire pleases me, so I wanted something to try it out on other than pieces of apple in the sink. And what else other than a pretty meringue to blowtorch the shit out of?

Again, I don’t do pastry- I haven’t go the time or the interest, so pre-made frozen tart shells is best for people on the go. If you wanted to make your own pastry, I hear it’s fairly basic and easy, but I’m a bit too messy for that, so good luck with it.

Prep Time

20 minutes

Cooking Time

20 minutes

Makes 12

Ingredients

  • 2 lemons, rind finely grated
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) lemon juice
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup (145g) caster sugar
  • 2 tsp arrowroot
  • 3 egg yolks, whisked
  • 12 frozen sweet shortcrust tart cases
  • 3 egg whites, at room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup (165g) caster sugar

Method

  1. Stir lemon rind, juice, butter and sugar in a pan over low heat until sugar dissolves and butter melts. Remove from heat.
  2. Mix arrowroot with a little water to make a smooth paste. Whisk arrowroot and egg yolks into lemon mixture. Return to low heat and whisk until mixture comes to the boil and thickens. Transfer to a bowl and cool. Refrigerate.
  3. Preheat oven to 190°C. Place tart cases on a baking tray. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden. Cool.
  4. Fill cooled tart cases with lemon curd. Use leftover curd as a spread on toast or crumpets. Reduce oven temperature to 170°C.
  5. Use an electric mixer to whisk egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, whisking well in between until dissolved. Once all the sugar has been added, continue to whisk on high for 3 minutes. Swirl meringue over the tarts and use the back of a spoon to form peaks.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until meringue is lightly browned. Cool, then store in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

Recipe Source

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Posted by on April 24, 2010 in Devilish Desserts, General

 

Quickest & Yummiest Gooey Chocolate Brownies

With the colder evenings approaching, I’m slowly gravitating towards the ‘track pants, fluffy slippers and warm, gooey dessert in front of the TV’  kinda nights- this is the quickest, easiest and yummiest chocolate brownie recipe that I’ve tried to date- I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m all for the goo.

Ingredients

150g butter

300g good quality dark chocolate

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

4 eggs

1 cup plain flour, sifted

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts or walnuts

Method

  1. Line greased baking tin with baking paper.
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate over low heat, then transfer to a mixing bowl.
  3. Add brown sugar and mix before adding the eggs.
  4. Add sifted flour, sour cream and chopped nuts and mix ingredients thoroughly.
  5. Pour into a baking tin and bake at 180 C for approximately 30 minutes, depending on your oven.
  6. Sprinkle with icing sugar and pour over some delish cream and enjoy.

Recipe Inspiration

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2010 in Devilish Desserts, Sinful snacks

 

Garlic Steak, Potato Dauphinoise & Vegetables Provencale

This recipe can easily be a yummy mid-week dinner if you’re prepared to get some of the work out of the way so you don’t have to slave over the stove when you get home from work.

You could make the potato and vegetables the day before- the vegetable provencale freezes well, so you could even do a cook up on the weekend and make a big batch to freeze like I have done in the past. Potato Dauphinoise is normally baked as a whole, in this case, I was inspired to bake them in little individual portions, also so I could try freezing them later.

I will break the 3 recipes up individually.

Garlic Steak

Ingredients

  • 2 rump steaks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Season steaks to taste.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and add steak, cover and refrigerate to marinate. Ideally you would allow it to marinate overnight, but at a minimum 45 minutes to an hour would be okay as well.
  3. Heat grill and drizzle with a dash of olive oil.
  4. Cook steaks on high heat, turning once only until cooked to your desire.  Baste with marinade during grilling to keep it moist and so the steak really absorbs that flavour.
  5. Set the steaks aside in a warm place for a few minutes to rest before serving.

Potato Dauphinoise

This recipe serves 4, so I freeze the leftovers- adjust to suit you.

Ingredients

  • 500g King Edward potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 200ml double cream
  • 100ml milk
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 50g Gruyere cheese, grated

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Place the cream, milk and garlic in a large saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the potatoes, cover and simmer for 10 minutes until just tender. Season well.
  3. Grease a muffin tin and gently layer your potatoes into individual muffin holes. Pour remaining cream over the potatoes and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 25 minutes until golden. To ensure that they picked up some nice colour all around, I carefully removed them from the muffin tray and baked them a further 5 minutes, standing alone. Be very careful though, the bottoms will give way if you’re not careful when moving.

Vegetables Provencale

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 zucchini, chopped into thick chunks
  • 1 eggplant, chopped into thick chunks
  • 1 red capsicum, chopped
  • 4 ripe tomatoes/1 can of peeled tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • Basil
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  1. Heat oil in pan and cook onion and garlic on medium heat for a few minutes until onion is soft and fragrant.
  2. Add zucchini, eggplant and capsicum, and cook, stirring frequently until vegetables have softened (perhaps 10 minutes or so). Season to taste.
  3. Add tomatoes, stock, basil and thyme and cover, cooking for a further 25- 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.You want the vegetables to be soft, but not mush, and have a stew-like consistency.

Remember to taste as you go along and season where need be. Everyone’s tastes are different as we know.

I’ve added a dash of red wine to this as well.

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2010 in Delish Dinners

 

Eggs with Toasted Ciabatta, Avocado & Crispy Pancetta

This year, my New Year’s Resolution was to start eating breakfast. This came after years of skipping breakfast entirely in favour of a bigger lunch or eating something regrettable in the car on the way to work or snacking mid-morning. All of which we know is evil and wrong, but I had never been a big breakfast eater.

I liked the idea of breakfast, but making the idea a reality was often in the ‘too hard’ basket. My mornings were usually a train wreck on their own with me sleeping in by half an hour, smearing mascara all over my eyelids after finishing the most perfect eyeshadow and snapping a heel on the way to the car.

So this year, I promised myself to make an effort to eat breakfast more regularly and actually put some effort into it, rather than Coco Pops out of the box or an oh-so-nutritious *insert eyeroll* breakfast bar or shake.

Four months into it, I am still reaching for the easy option, but that’s now fresh fruit, yoghurt or a piece of wholegrain toast on most mornings. But on the weekends, I’m starting to make our own brekkie rather than lazing around in cafes while somebody cooks my breakfast for me while I play Bejeweled on my iPhone.

This brekkie was very simple, but very tasty. The recipe serves 2.

Ingredients

Olive oil

4 eggs

1 ciabatta roll, sliced thickly

6 pieces pancetta

1 tomato, cut into thick slices

1/2 avocado, sliced

Method

  1. Drizzle olive oil over slices of ciabatta and toast under the grill until golden, but not too crunchy. You want the bread soft enough to soak up all the delicious eggy goo.
  2. While the grill is on, lay your pancetta and tomato slices on a tray and also cook under the grill. You want the the pancetta to be crispy and your tomatoes to still be firm, but deliciously sweet. Season tomatoes with a touch of salt and pepper.
  3. Cook eggs to your liking, my husband likes them fried, so we fry. I personally would have preferred poached but couldn’t be bothered getting another pan out.
  4. When the eggs are cooked, assemble the toast, tomato and eggs on your plate. Top with crispy pancetta and slices of avocado.  My favourite part is smooshing the avocado into the toast, then topping with a bit of tomato and pancetta.

Enjoy.

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2010 in Beautiful Brekkies

 

Teriyaki Beef

My husband thinks he is Asian.

If I was willing to cook it, he would eat rice, stir-fries, noodles and Asian broths every day. He uses chopsticks when eating Asian food, even though he clearly isn’t very good at it. When I ask him what he wants for dinner, before he even opens his mouth to breathe the words, I already know it’s something Asian. It’s infuriating. Infuriating because I like to try a variety of different foods. He doesn’t.

I don’t have a problem with Asian food in particular. I’m just not very experienced with it and only really am familiar with the Westernised version of Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Indonesian food and I think I’m more comfortable keeping it that way. I’m finding it hard to be interested in the concept of chicken feet, eel and other ‘delicacies’ enjoyed by our Asian neighbours. So please forgive me for my very basic Teriyaki Beef (yes….the sauce is out of a bottle) and please forgive me for handing him a pair of chopsticks and letting him think he’s Asian.

I adapted this recipe to throw in some vegies for a bit of colour and to make it a slightly more balanced meal.

Recipe Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup store bought teriyaki marinade
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 400g beef stir-fry strips (or 400g rump steak, trimmed and cut into strips)
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice (I used jasmine rice, because hell would freeze over before I could get my husband to eat brown rice)
  • 1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 zucchini, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) water
  • 2 green onions, cut into 3cm lengths
Method
  1. Place teriyaki sauce, ginger and sesame oil in a non-metallic bowl. Add the beef and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the rice until tender. Drain, fold through the sesame seeds, cover and keep warm.
  3. Heat a little sesame oil in a wok or large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Drain the meat and reserve the marinade. Cook the meat in batches for 3 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a bowl, re-oiling the pan between batches.
  4. Place cornflour and water in a small bowl and whisk until well combined.
  5. Return the cooked meat to the pan along with any pan juices. Add the green onions. Add the cornflour mixture and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until the pan juices thicken slightly. Serve the teriyaki beef with cooked brown rice and steamed Asian greens, such as bok choy.

Recipe Source

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2010 in Delish Dinners

 

Apple Crumble Tart

Ingredients

  • 1.5kg apples, such as Braeburns or Cox’s
  • Juice of 1 small lemon
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 225g sheet ready-rolled puff pastry, thawed
  • 100g plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 90g unsalted butter
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 50g soft brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp melted butter

    Method

    1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan170°C/gas 5. Peel, core and chop half the apples then place in a large pan with the lemon juice and caster sugar. Heat on a high heat until the juices start to run, then cover and turn the heat right down and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring once or twice until the fruit cooks to a pulp. Stir vigorously to help it break down. Remove and cool.
    2. Lightly butter a baking sheet and lay the pastry sheet on top, pricking with a fork in a few places. Bake for about 10 minutes until risen then remove from the heat and using a tea towel press the layers flat. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes until golden brown and crisp.
    3. Meanwhile, core, peel and thinly slice the remaining apples. Place the flour, cinnamon, butter and almonds into a processor and whizz to a fine crumble mixture then mix in the sugar.
    4. Spread the cool apple purée over the pastry right to the edges and place the sliced apples on top – they don’t have to be neat. Brush the apples with the melted butter, then sprinkle the crumble on top. Spread the crumble evenly using the back of a fork, if necessary. Return the tart to the oven and bake for about 20 minutes until the top is brown and crunchy. Cool before serving with ice cream, cream or custard.

    Recipe Source

     
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    Posted by on April 2, 2010 in Devilish Desserts

     

    Orange & Honey Spiced Chicken with Eggplant Pilaf

    I love Middle Eastern food, but The Husband doesn’t appreciate The Breath afterward, so my Middle Eastern diet is often comprised of secret kebabs and copious amounts of spearmint gum when I know he won’t be around for a little while.

    But I’ve now decided that he just needs to like it or lump it because I’m craving all those flavours- zesty citrus, garlic, caraway, mint, cinnamon, cumin, pine nuts, currants… He can either eat what I’m dishing up, or become acquainted with plastic-tasting TV dinners with rubbery roadkill ‘meat’ and a life of misery.

    Now, I’m not pretending to be some Middle Eastern food guru, truth be told, I have only tried the Westernised basics, but having a read through some recipes, I know that all the flavour combinations of those spices definitely appeal to me.

    So I’m gonna interpret the recipes my own way and adapt them to feed The Husband…cos that’s how I roll.

    Now, as I usually say, I’m not a measurer (yes, I know that’s not a real word). My measurements are approximate because like my mother and her mother before her, I always repeat the mantra, “Taste as you go”

    I’d also like to apologise for my photos- They were taken in poor light and it wasn’t exactly a dish of varied colours or textures…just simple, cold evening comfort-ish food.  So maybe just close your eyes and try and imagine the flavours rather than focus on the pics.

    Also, I was lucky enough to have a jar of Moroccan spice-rub on hand, so used that for my chicken- if you don’t have a Moroccan spice mix, you can also use equal parts of  dried turmeric, cumin seeds, caraway, chili, paprika, coriander, cinnamon and mint.

    Ingredients


    Chicken:

    2 tbsp olive oil

    2 chicken breast, cut into 6 pieces

    1 orange, juiced

    1/2 lemon, juiced

    4 tbsp spice mix

    1/2 cup orange juice

    1/4 cup honey, warmed

    1/2 cup chicken stock

    Eggplant Pilaf:

    1/2 eggplant, chopped into 2 cm cubes

    1 onion, diced

    2 tbsp garlic, chopped

    1 bird’s eye chili, seeds removed, chopped finely

    3 tbsp sultanas/currants

    2 tbsp pine nuts

    1/2 cup tomato passata (or 1 large tomato, diced)

    200g Basmati rice

    2 tsp cinnamon

    2 tsp toasted cumin seeds

    1/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock

    Salt and pepper, to taste

    Method

    1. Start off by sprinkling your chopped eggplant with salt and sitting in a colander. This draws out the bitterness of the eggplant.
    2. Meanwhile, rinse rice under warm water to remove excess starch. Cook rice in boiling water until it’s about 3 minutes off being cooked perfectly.
    3. Mix citrus juices, spice mix, 1 tsp olive oil and chicken into a bowl and mix until chicken is well coated in spice marinade. Cover and refrigerate while you focus on the pilaf.
    4. Add olive oil to a large frying pan over med-high heat and cook eggplant for approx 8 minutes, until soft. Set aside in a clean bowl. In the same pan, add another lick of olive oil and cook your onion, garlic, chili, cinnamon and cumin until onion is soft and the mixture is fragrant. Add passata, tomato and pine nuts and cook for a further 2 minutes.
    5. When the rice is ready, drain well, then combine with fragrant onion mix. Then add eggplant and stir over low heat for a further few minutes, adding small amounts of stock to prevent it from drying out- just don’t add to much or it will turn into a mushy mess.
    6. Now it’s time to deal with the chicken.  Heat a hot pan with a touch of olive oil and sear chicken on high heat on both sides. Then pour over remaining marinade mix, orange juice, honey and chicken stock. Cook on low to medium heat, turning frequently and basting with pan juices until the sauce has reduced to a thick consistency.

    Serve the chicken atop the pilaf and pour over some of the extra sauce. You could also add a dob of yoghurt and sprinkle with chopped mint

     
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    Posted by on April 2, 2010 in Delish Dinners

     
     
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