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Strawberry & Pistachio Tarts

I hate making pastry. If I can get it from the frozen food section at the supermarket, why would I bother with the mixing, kneading, rolling, blah, blah, blah, right?

But sometimes, you just NEED to make pastry from scratch otherwise the recipe just isn’t the same. This is one of those recipes.

If you are lazy pressed for time, then I’m sure this delectable tart will be pleasantly acceptable with some pre-made frozen shortcrust pastry. But if you want a va-va-voom, toe-curling, eye-rolling explosion in your mouth, make it from scratch. I promise I will never force you to do it again.

I used Ina Garten’s recipe. Ina’s recipe calls for pretty, shelled and halved pistachios. I pounded the crap out of mine in a bag with a rolling pin for a little more texture. Between the sweet berries, crumbly buttery pastry and crunch of the pistachios, this is a great recipe for when you want to impress and worth the extra effort.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 tablespoons cold shortening (recommended: Crisco)
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 2 cups Pastry Cream, recipe follows
  • 2 pints whole strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1/3 cup apricot jelly
  • 3 tablespoons shelled pistachios, halved, optional

Method

  1. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a small bowl and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Put the flour mixture in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the butter and shortening and pulse about 10 times, or until the butter is in the size of peas. Add the ice water and process until the dough comes together. Dump on a well-floured board and form into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Roll out the dough and fit into 4 (4 1/2-inch) tart pans with removable sides. Don’t stretch the dough when placing it in the pans or it will shrink during baking. Cut off the excess by rolling the pin across the top of each pan. Line the tart shells with a piece of buttered aluminum foil, butter side down, and fill them with dried beans or rice. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the beans and foil, prick the bottom of the shells all over with a fork, and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
  4. Before serving, fill the tart shells with the pastry cream. Arrange the berries decoratively on top of the cream. Melt the apricot jelly with 1 teaspoon of water and brush the top of the tarts. Sprinkle with pistachios, if using, and serve.

Pastry Cream:

  • 5 extra-large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups scalded milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon Cognac
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks and sugar on medium-high speed for 4 minutes, or until very thick. Reduce to low speed, and add the cornstarch.
  2. With the mixer still on low, slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens, 5 to 7 minutes. Don’t be alarmed when the custard comes to a boil and appears to curdle; switch to a whisk and beat vigorously. Cook, whisking constantly, for another 2 minutes; the custard will come together and become very thick, like pudding. Stir in the vanilla, Cognac, butter, and heavy cream. Pour the custard through a sieve into a bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on the custard and refrigerate until cold.
 

Delish Dinners is now on Facebook!

I’m the Forest Gump of technology, I’ll be the first to admit. So it only took me 5 years of having this blog to finally decide to get a Facebook page set up where I can post updates, news and chat with all of you guys.

I’m not expecting it to be big and grand but if you would like to show your support by liking the Delish Dinners page or would like to stay updated via Facebook instead of email, click away!

Click here for the Delish Dinners Facebook page. While I’m at it, I want to say thanks for your support. I love reading your emails and comments and chatting about food with other food lovers! My friends get bored of me talking about slow cookers, calzone dough and herbs so I unleash it on you guys 🙂

I’m hoping that 2012 will be a better blogging year for me (unless the Mayans were right and it really is the end of the world as we know it…In that case, eat and be merry I say!).

I’ve got a heap of recipes I want to try out and a willing guinea pig of a husband who’s happy to try them all in the name is research for you guys 😛 It’s a hard life!
So stay safe and eat plenty over the New Year celebrations and I will see you in 2012 with some new recipes. 🙂

 

 
4 Comments

Posted by on December 28, 2011 in General

 

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas

I am a big snacker.

I know that’s not a real word, because my spell check had a shit fit when I typed it in, but I did what I do best and clicked ‘Ignore’ and moved on.

When I say I’m a snacker….I’m not talking about Mars Bars, cookies and potato chips. Yes, I do on rare occasions go down that road, usually when I’m hormonal and my husband is hiding for cover.

My idea of snacks are yummy handfuls of goodness, little morsels and bites that aren’t there to just fill the belly or purely for the purposes of fueling my body, but little moments of yummy glee between the main meals of the day.  For so long, my snacks have been store-bought because I work gazillion hours a week, but today was a pleasantly gloomy, misty day and I unleashed my fury on the kitchen, producing an amazing Ginger and Treacle Pear Cake which I had been lusting over after seeing it on one of my fave blogs (I creamed my pants instantly when I saw it), a delish French toast brekkie and these crunchy roasted chickpeas to graze on while I contemplated dinner.

I grew up eating roasted chickpeas (calia) and roasted broadbeans thanks to my Nonna, so once again, these flavours remind of my childhood.

Chickpeas are an ideal snack, low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. They’re also a great source of folate and protein, so a great addition to the diet for those of us who are looking at procreating sometime soon (you will know how important folate is!) or are vegetarians and need to find your protein intake through legumes instead of meat. Now that the little nutrition lesson is over, and I’ve suitably convinced myself that these aren’t such a sinful snack, let’s begin. It’s really rather easy, if you mess up this recipe, there really is something ‘special’ about you.

Ingredients

2 cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper

sea salt, to taste

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200C
  2. Rinse chickpeas thoroughly, then pat dry with kitchen paper. Lay flat on a tray and blast in the oven to dry them out for about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven, toss them with olive oil, spices and salt and lay flat on a tray. Reduce oven to 180C and bake for a further 40 minutes until crunchy and golden.
 
4 Comments

Posted by on May 14, 2010 in General, Sinful snacks

 

Lazy Sunday Lunch: Haloumi, Chickpea & Crispy Prosciutto Salad

Sorry for the lack of recent updates. Life has been busier than usual. We recently introduced a new 3 month old puppy into the family, a Maltese Shih-Tzu. She is a sister to our older Maltese Pomeranian cross and there has been a pretty intense adjustment period for all four of us.

I took for granted how easy life was with our 12 year old fur-daughter. She is placid, quiet, happy to laze about all day. When we brought the new little firecracker home, everything was turned upside down, literally. And don’t get me started on the poop, which I kindly won’t because we’re here to talk about food….but OMG, how something so little and fluffy poops so furiously and with such rank odour beats me….

So anyway, my point was, since the new puppy came along, cooking has taken a back seat unfortunately. Having a screaming, howling, shitting pup will do that to anyone. Eating salads and pasta or soup for dinner became the norm over the last month and crawling into bed was a blessed escape from cleaning up poop, refereeing the bitch fights and sneezing. Yes, I am allergic to her.

So today, I finally emerged from my puppy-induced coma and hit the kitchen to make a yummy Sunday lunch. I wasn’t trying to be overly ambitious, after all, she was still there, attempting to hump my leg and playing tunnel between my feet. The result was one of our favourite salads- my husband and I have enjoyed this simple salad on many lazy Sundays.

Obviously, the ingredients are open to change to suit your own taste, but provided you keep the main three components I’m sure you will find it tasty, filling and quick and easy to make. I love the saltiness of the haloumi and prosciutto (I’m a fan of salty flavours, just in case you hadn’t noticed), the meatiness of the chickpeas, crisp crunch of the grilled prosciutto and buttery lettuce. YUM!

Just on a side note, I actually put some mixed olives into mine at my husband’s request (this, from the same guy who thought tomato sauce on grilled fish was a great idea)….Don’t. They didn’t sit well with the flavour combinations.

Ingredients

1 block of haloumi cheese, sliced into thick-ish slices

6 pieces of prosciutto or pancetta

1/2 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 cups mixed lettuce leaves

1/2 cucumber, sliced

1 vine-ripened tomato, cut into wedges

1 Spanish onion, sliced finely

2 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp red balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp wholegrain mustard

2 tbsp honey, warmed in the microwave

Method

Lay prosciutto on a tray and grill in the oven until dark and crispy, set aside.

Cook prosciutto in a lightly oiled pan or grill until golden.

Assemble salad, spoon over the chickpeas, top with haloumi and crispy prosciutto.

To make the dressing, combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard and honey, whisk to combine and drizzle over the salad.

Told ya it was easy. 😛

 

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

 
2 Comments

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

 

Pear, Raspberry & Coconut Bread

So I may have mentioned once or twice that I bake when I’m depressed. And that I’m not a very good baker.

I try, but a recipe has to be pretty idiot proof for me to pull it off.

So when I found this recipe for this pear, raspberry and coconut loaf, I set myself a challenge and made a bet with my husband (Sorry can’t repeat the terms of the bet in public) that I wouldn’t botch it!

So I followed the recipe, made a mess of myself and my kitchen and stared into the oven willfully, hoping and praying that this bloody bread would work out.

Now, I must admit. My photo isn’t that appealing, I mean, it doesn’t make my mouth water. Truth to be hold, it’s not an entirely attractive looking loaf, but it was certainly tasty and yes, I won the bet. WOOP WOOP!

Ingredients

  • 2 Josephine pears, peeled, quartered, core removed (I used canned pears)
  • 2 cups (300g) self-raising flour, sifted
  • 1 cup (85g) desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup (115g) caster sugar
  • 270g can Ayam light coconut milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (120g) frozen raspberries

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a 9cm x 22cm (base) loaf pan with non-stick baking paper. Cut the pear into 2cm pieces.
  2. Combine the flour, coconut and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk together the coconut milk, eggs and vanilla extract. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  3. Gently stir in the pears and frozen raspberries make sure you don’t over mix. Spoon into the pan and smooth the surface. Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Set aside for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
 

7 Day Challenge: Dinner on the table in under 30 minutes- Tuesday

Chargrilled Moroccan Chicken with Roast Carrot & Chickpea Salad


Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 2 bunches baby (Dutch) carrots, trimmed, scrubbed
  • 1 1/2 tbs olive oil
  • 4 x 170g skinless chicken breast fillets
  • 1 tbs sumac (see note)
  • 2 tbs white wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 x 400g cans chickpeas, rinsed, drained
  • 1/2 cup (80g) sunflower seeds, toasted
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Spread the carrots on a baking tray in a single layer. Season, then drizzle over 1 tbs oil and 2 tbs water. Roast for 10-12 minutes until the carrots soften slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, lightly oil a chargrill pan with the remaining olive oil. Heat over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and rub with the sumac. Cook for 3-4 minutes each side until browned.
  3. Remove the tray from the oven, turn the carrots then place the chicken on top. Roast for a further 10-12 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
  4. Whisk the vinegar, garlic and honey together in a large bowl. Season, then add chickpeas, sunflower seeds, parsley and carrots and toss to combine. Divide salad among plates, then top with the chicken.
Recipe Source delicious. – July 2008, Page 127
 
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Posted by on December 11, 2009 in Delish Dinners, General, Inspiration

 
 
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