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Monthly Archives: May 2011

Cinnamon French Toast with Toasted Pecans & Maple Syrup

Since I’ve been taking a break from working, I’ve been eating breakfast more often.

Some may say this is a good thing, but if you see the crap I’ve been eating, you might not think so anymore…

I’m ashamed to say I’ve had French Toast 3 times this week. The week before that it was pancakes. Before that, it was omelets. Eggs Benedict. Poached eggs and crispy maple glazed bacon. Raisin toast, dripping in butter with freshly brewed espresso. Leftover chocolate cake. Needless to say, my arteries are screaming for a break and begging for absolution. So it is with great sadness that I post this recipe. The photos came out bad but they’re all I have left of the memories and I can’t let go of them!

Next week, its fresh fruit, wholegrains, eggwhite omelets and freshly squeezed juices… But there will always be French Toast week, burned into my memory and forever etched on my heart. Good times.

This recipe makes approximately 6 slices of toast.

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 6 slices thick-cut bread
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • Whipped cream, to serve
  • Maple syrup, to serve


Method

  1. Crack eggs into a shallow bowl, suitable for dipping the bread in.
  2. Whisk eggs and add milk, cinnamon, vanilla and caster sugar until well combined.
  3. Heat pan on medium heat, melt a small amount of butter to grease the pan.
  4. Dip the bread into the egg mixture, turning to coat both sides. Transfer to the pan and cook for a few minutes on each side until golden brown.
  5. Repeat with the remaining slices of bread and set aside to keep warm.
  6. In the same pan, cook the pecans on medium heat until fragrant- careful not to burn them.
  7. To assemble, stack the French Toast, top with toasted pecans, maple syrup and whipped cream.
 

Braised Steak with Onion & Leek


It’s hard to make brown food look good. Especially when you add a gelatinous looking ‘gravy’ to the mix and you’re photographing at night, but in the grunts words of TV chef Anne Burrel “brown food tastes good” and I’m here to agree.

With the approaching cold weather, I get excited about cooking again- all the rich, gravy-laden, melting, tender meat and roasted vegies are enough to make my toes curl. I am a mashed potato whore, I will do anything for a bit of mash and autumn/winter is the perfect excuse for me to bury my face in it’s creamy indulgence. I don’t plan my meals around core ingredients. I know I want mashed potato, so I plot what else I can make as an excuse to have it on the side.

This recipe was born of one such craving- I needed mash and was going to get it at any cost.

Add some tender meat that just melts in your mouth and the sweetness of the onion and leek braise and you have yourself a delish dinner, perfect for a cosy night in.

This recipe does need a few hours in the oven, so it’s not a weeknight dinner, although it would go great in a slow cooker, but you would need to adjust your liquids in the recipe to suit slow cookers. This recipe serves 2 with some leftover ‘sauce’ reserved to drizzle over mashed potato leftovers for lunch the next day. Yumsters!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 thick sirloin steaks
  • 3 onions, sliced
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp HP sauce
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • plain flour, for dusting

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Lightly coat each piece of steak in flour.
  3. Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook onions, garlic and leek until soft.
  4. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour over onions. Stir until well combined.
  5. Add Dijon mustard, sauces, peppercorns and wine and cook for a further minute before removing off the heat and setting aside in a bowl.
  6. Cook steak for approx 3 minutes each side or until browned. Transfer to an ovenproof dish.
  7. Slowly add onion and stock mixture to the ovenproof dish, covering the meat with liquid.
  8. Bake for 2 hours or until steak is tender. Serve with potato mash, steamed vegies and roasted pumpkin.
 
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Posted by on May 25, 2011 in Delish Dinners

 

Easy Chocolate Cake with Buttercream & Berries

No, I was not abducted by aliens.

My extended break from blogging wasn’t something I had intended, but sometimes life throws us curve balls and the only way we can deal with these twists in fate is to curl up, shut ourselves off from the world we know and focus on protecting ourselves in our shell.

My curve ball was a health scare (nothing to do with my diet, surprisingly enough!), impending surgery and my job being made redundant. In many ways, I think this is the best thing that has happened to me in a while. It has allowed me to take the time to focus on myself, my home life and most importantly, cooking good meals without the time and energy constraints. My husband and I have been eating very well lately and I am amazed at what a dramatic difference taking some time off between jobs has has caused.

I admit, for a while, I lost my blogging mojo, but here I am, with a new recipe I had to record for future reference, an easy chocolate cake with a naughty chocolate buttercream icing, topped with fresh, drooling berries, icing sugar and shaved chocolate.

Again, excuse the photos. The downside of blogging about dinners and desserts is that I have to photograph them at night. Maybe now that I’m taking a break from work, I can start doing some day time shots 🙂

Ingredients

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup boiling water

125g butter, room temperature

1 1/4 cup caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

3 eggs

1 cup SR flour

1/4 cup plain flour

2 cups fresh or frozen berries

2 tbsp grated chocolate, to garnish

icing sugar, to garnish

Buttercream Icing

250g butter, softened

2 cups icing sugar, sifted

1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted

1/4 cup milk

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush  a round cake pan with melted butter to grease and then line the base with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Sift cocoa powder into a bowl. Slowly add the water, stirring to form a smooth, thick paste.
  3. Use electric beaters to beat the butter, sugar and vanilla essence in a medium mixing bowl for 1-2 minutes or until pale. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition until combined.
  4. Sift together the flours. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake pan and bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Stand for 3 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
  5. For the buttercream icing, beat the butter until pale and creamy.
  6. Add the icing sugar, cocoa and milk and beat until fluffy. Spread over the cake, top with berries, sprinkle with icing sugar and shaved/grated chocolate.
 
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Posted by on May 20, 2011 in Devilish Desserts

 
 
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