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Category Archives: Sinful snacks

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Potato, Chorizo & Thyme Tortilla

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This tortilla/fritatta is a brunch favourite in our house. I call it the Happy Marriage Tortilla because it represents a happy medium for my husband and I. There’s meat and potatoes, 2 points to the caveman corner. Then theres’s frilly girly things like beaten eggs and beautifully fragrant thyme, some delicately sautéed onion….2 points to the women’s corner. Told you, happy medium!

Together, this tortilla packs a flavourful punch. To quote my friend, “It’s like a party in my mouth and everyone is invited”. With every bite, you get a little surprise – some meaty, rich and spicy chorizo…delicately seasoned egg…. POP -there’s some thyme and that subtle sweetness? Oh that’s just the onion. Crispy and decadent, the potatoes are my favourite part and if you really want to go KABOOM POW, layer some slices of prosciutto on top before serving with some dressed greens for a delish lunch or dinner.

Ingredients

8 large eggs

4 medium sized yellow-fleshed potatoes, sliced as thin as you can go!

3 tbsp chopped thyme (fresh is preferable)

1 large chorizo sliced thinly

1 onion, diced

1 clove of garlic,minced – optional

4-6 slices of pancetta or prosciutto, torn into smaller strips

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup milk

2tbsp Olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over low-medium heat. Cook the potatoes, chorizo, onion and garlic, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Spread the potato, onion and chorizo mixture evenly over the bottom of the frying pan and turn the heat down.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, thyme, Parmesan cheese and milk until well combined. Pour the egg mixture over the potatoes and chorizo, shaking the pan to ensure it is evenly distributed.
  4. Cook, with a lid on for about 8-10 minutes, keeping an eye on the bottom of the pan. Because I cooked it with the lid on, the heat was trapped and the top started to set, making it easier and more sturdy to flip.
  5. Here’s the fun part. Once the bottom of the tortilla is golden and cooked, you can either put the pan in the oven to finish the top (if you have a metal handle on your frying pan) OR, you can cover the top of the frying pan with a large plate and while holding the bottom of the plate, turn the pan and tortilla onto the plate. Then, gently shimmy and slide it back into the pan to cook the underside. From the time you flip, you only need a further 3-4 minutes of cooking time to set that egg.
  6. When you’re ready to serve it, top it with the prosciutto slices and some rocket leaves, if desired.
  7. Serve with lightly dressed rocket leaves and crusty bread or as part of a delish big breakfast with bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach.
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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.
 

Challah French Toast with Blueberry Compote

Lazy weekend breakfasts are my thing.

It took me a while, but I’ve learned to love breakfast. It should be special and I think that people don’t celebrate it enough anymore. It should be the highlight of the weekend, a time to congregate around the table with your loved ones, reflect on the week and unwind while enjoying scrumptious food.

Our Saturday morning breakfast was messy, runny and ever so delish. The Challah was the perfect bread for these thick slices of French Toast- soft yet absorbent, it mopped the cinnamon-scented egg and milk mixture right up and even after the frying process, it was beautiful and soft and melt-in-your-mouth.

 

INGREDIENTS

For the French Toast:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Challah or Brioche loaf, cut into 6-8 thick slices
  • 3 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter

For the blueberry compote:

  • 2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

METHOD

  1. First, get your blueberry compote started. Combine 1 cup of the blueberries, water, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan.
  2. Cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the rest of the blueberries and cook for 8 minutes more, stirring frequently. Cover and keep warm until you’re ready to serve it over the French Toast.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a large, shallow bowl.
  5. Dip each slice of bread into the mixture, ensuring that both sides have soaked up the liquid.
  6. Heat a large frying pan on medium heat and melt a tablespoon of butter.
  7. Cook the bread in batches until both sides are golden. Transfer them to a baking dish and keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining slices.
  8. Serve the French Toast with a few spoonfuls of the warm blueberry compote. If you’re feeling extra naughty, a scoop of ice-cream or whipped cream and maple syrup would be perfect too.
 

Banana & Pineapple Pancakes

Pancakes are a weekend ritual in our house and now that summer has arrived, I found myself becoming uninterested in pancakes and wanting fruity, tropical flavours for breakfast. This may have also had something to do with the remaining bottle of pineapple juice in my fridge and the bananas in the fruit bowl begging for mercy.

These pancakes were a nice change and perfect for a warm, sunny summer brunch. Next time, I’ll do just pineapple and coconut. It will be like a pina colada pancake! Ok. I’ll stop.

You can put the pineapple chunks or ring into the batter if you like, but I couldn’t be bothered. Maybe next time!

INGREDIENTS

  • 225g (1 1/2 cups) self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 overripe banana, mashed
  • 35g (1/3 cup) desiccated coconut
  • 2 tbs caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 40g butter, melted, cooled slightly
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 eggs
  • extra butter, for greasing
  • Vanilla ice-cream, to serve
  • Maple syrup, to serve

METHOD

  1. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir in the coconut and sugar. Make a well in the centre.
  2. Whisk together the pineapple juice, milk, butter, vanilla and eggs in a bowl. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture. Whisk until just combined, don’t over-mix or they’ll be too tough and chewy.
  3. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium-low heat. Grease the pan with a generous amount of butter.
  4. Ladle about 1/4 cup of batter into the pan and spread to form a 12cm-diameter pancake. Cook for 2-3 minutes each side or until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.
  5. Repeat with the remaining batter, greasing with butter between pancakes. You should get about 8 pancakes from this recipe.
  6. Top with ice-cream and drizzle over maple syrup.

Recipe adapted from Taste.com.au

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on January 11, 2012 in Beautiful Brekkies, Sinful snacks

 

Brandy Snaps with Orange & Ricotta Cream

I’ve always wanted to make brandy snaps. For years, they’ve been a Christmastime treat, but they always struck me as too difficult, too fiddly, too poncy to make.

So this year I decided I am going to make them myself for next Christmas, but knowing me, I’d need a bit of practice because they just seemed too hard, so I propped myself on the couch and watched an hour of Youtube videos on how to shape them. That’s an hour of my life I’ll never get back, but it gave me some confidence to try it!

Mine are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, some were deformed and I struggled a little with consistency, so next time I’ll try to perfect those things, but overall, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be! I recommend you giving it a try if you’ve been reluctant like I was. It totally opened up a new door to me once I did it and I got excited thinking about all the possible future recipes I could create after learning such a simple technique.

For a spin on the traditional whipped cream filling, I chose an orange and ricotta cream- orange and brandy seem to go well together and I chose to halve the whipped cream intake by adding ricotta… I’m not sure if a dietician would approve, but it sounded good in my head. And tasted even better on my lips! MM MMM!

 

INGREDIENTS

For the brandy snaps:

  • 1 stick of salted butter (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup golden syrup (or molasses)
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 tbsp brandy or cognac

For the filling:

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tbsp orange juice or Cointreau

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C.
  2. To start on the brandy snaps, place butter, sugar, syrup and brandy in a medium saucepan over low heat; cook and stir until butter is melted. Stir in flour slowly and mix until it’s smooth.
  3. To ensure consistency, use a measuring spoon for 1 tbsp of batter. Drop the batter about 3-4 inches apart on a lined tray. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.Keep an eye on the oven because everyone’s oven is different and these can go wrong so fast…I should know!
  4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool enough to touch- about a minute or so. Gently peel the ‘biscuit’ from the tray and quickly wrap it around something with a tubular shape- a fat wooden spoon or cooking utensil, etc. If they get hard and uncooperative, pop them back in the oven for about 10 seconds and they’ll be pliable again.
  5. Allow the biscuit to cool around the mould and then gently remove and set aside.
  6. While the biscuits are cooling, start on the filling. Beat together butter, ricotta, cream, caster sugar, orange zest and orange juice/Cointreau until it’s smooth and glossy and beautiful. You want the cream to be light and fluffy.
  7. Get your piping bag ready! Pipe the filling into cooled brandy snaps just before you’re ready to serve them.
  8. Sit back and enjoy praise from husband while telling him how difficult they are to make and hinting you need a foot massage.
 
1 Comment

Posted by on January 11, 2012 in Devilish Desserts, Sinful snacks

 

Peperonata

Lately, I’ve been joking with my Italian grandparents about how much I miss the ‘peasant food’ that they grew up with and the recipes they brought to Australia with them and in turned raised us to eat.

The food back then was so simple- my grandparents and parents were raised in a simpler time, where they had to be resourceful with the meat and vegetables they had and would sometimes have to stretch those meals over long periods of time.

And yet, some of their food is the most delicious! Simple recipes, with few ingredients and uncomplicated methods. Sometimes I wonder what the hell we are doing these days with all this deglazing, flambe-ing and tomato-rose garnishes- we need to go old school and just pick a couple of ingredients and cook them simply and season them properly! That’s it! There’s no magic, you won’t die of starvation and the food is healthy, fresh and delish.

Peperonata is one of those favourites. There are lots of variations depending on where you come from and the one I was raised with was a tasty concoction of slow cooked red capsicum, onions, wedges of potato and some peeled tomatoes. You can add basil, garlic and a bit of oregano for extra flavour too (I do, but my grandma won’t- in fact she’d disown me if she found out I was telling people to put them in it, sorry Nonna!).

This is delicious on it’s own with some crusty Ciabatta bread on one of those CBF days. It smells AMAZING while it’s cooking away, so if you’re having people over, they automatically think you’ve been working your butt off in the kitchen because it smells so damn good.

It’s versatile too. Without the potatoes, it would be good tossed through some penne with some Parmesan cheese, in a lasagna, alongside a beef or chicken dish or even as the basis for a good Cacciatore- just add some olives and a few other veggies, some more Passata and slow cook your chicken in it. Delish.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 4 red capsicums, sliced into thick strips
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 potatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1/2 bottle tomato passata/ 1 can peeled tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup basil, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt, pepper to taste

METHOD

  1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy-based pot (non-stick preferred)- a Dutch oven, slow cooker or crock pot, cover and cook on low heat on the stove for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened significantly and the capsicums are soft and fragrant.
  2. Serve with crusty bread and a salad or as a side dish for beef or chicken.
 

Banana & Coconut Hotcakes

Happy New Year!

Finally, the last of the festivities has passed on by. Routines are back to normal, leftovers in the fridge have dwindled and fruits and veggies that you stockpiled in preparation for the big feasts are either overripe or ready for the bin!

It’s a shame to see produce go to waste and one of my new year’s resolutions is to try not to be so wasteful in the kitchen. So I had some overripe bananas that were facing a death sentence straight into the trash- but they were saved at the eleventh hour by some quick thinking and a sweet tooth.

Summer sure didn’t miss the memo that it’s now January, it showed up bright and early on New Years Day and we’ve been suffering through some scorching heat ever since. So what better way to make the most out of this stinking weather than with some tropical flavours? Pina Coladas are frowned upon at 10am, but I still managed to get my tropical flavour cravings sated with the delightful combination of banana and coconut.

For consistency to ensure they all came out the same size, I used a vintage Margaret Fulton Bessemer pikelet/egg frying pan, handed down to me from my mum (pictured right).

I’m not sure if you can still get them (they have some on eBay, I checked!!), but they’re the best thing since sliced bread and perfect for these sorts of recipes! Pikelets, fritters, eggs, blinis, you name it 🙂

 

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ripe banana, sliced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup (250ml) coconut milk
  • 1 cup SR flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup, plus extra for serving
  • Melted butter, for greasing

 

METHOD

  1. Place egg, coconut milk, canola oil and maple syrup in a bowl and beat until well combined.
  2. Sift flour and baking powder into the mixture and mix well until the batter is smoothe and glossy.
  3. Brush the pan with butter and ladle a few tablespoons of batter for each hotcake. Wait about 1 minute, until the mixture has firmed up and isn’t a sloppy, runny mess and then gently lay a few banana slices in the batter (for presentation purposes in future, I would add mashed banana into the batter mix to prevent this).
  4. Cook until golden underneath and then gently flip and cook for a brief period banana-side down  (if you cook them too long, the banana will caramelise and quickly burn).
  5. Serve with maple syrup and a dollop of cream or ice cream.

 

 

 

 
 
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