I’m a bit 50/50 when it comes to muffins so I wasn’t too enthusiastic with this week's theme. If made well (and kept to a reasonable size), I really enjoy them, but most of the ones out there on the market these days are way too big and extremely dry. Scarily, I’ve even seen some made with artificial flavours instead of actual real fruit….ick!
I received this cookbook for Christmas last year from some wonderful friends at work, and as I haven’t used this book in The Cookbook Challenge as yet I thought it was about time, so I decided on…
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and either lightly grease a 12 hold muffin tin, or line with muffin wrappers. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and oats in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Mix the cooled melted butter into the flour with the egg, oil and buttermilk. Fold in the cherries, then two-thirds fill the holes of the muffin tin. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a fine skewer inserted into a muffin comes out clean, then cool the muffins on a wire rack.
As you can see, I added a cream cheese icing topped with fresh cherries (just in case these were one the dry side), however, I need not have worried as these were quite moist - I’m thinking the fresh cherries and rolled oats helped. Not too sweet either, which is just how I like them!
I just managed to scrape by with this recipe as it’s no longer cherry season and the markets were no longer stocking them. Luckily, I did manage to find some yummy fresh cherries, although at a cost of $20kg, I don’t think I’ll be making these again until next season!
I am a huge, huge fan of Japanese food, and can be found eating sushi almost daily (if I had my way it would definitely be daily!). However, what I’ve realized this week, to my utter amazement, is that I’ve never cooked Japanese food and thus, have no cookbooks with any Japanese recipes in them!
So, here is my version of Japanese food, taken from very westernised Asian recipes…… Pork and Lemongrass Wontons (changed into Gyoza...well, sort of..) Cookbook: Donna Hay Nov/Dec 2005 (Issue #24)
500g pork mince 1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed, bruised and chopped Sea salt and cracked black pepper 1 egg white 1 garlic clove, crushed 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves 2 tbsp soy sauce 40 wonton wrappers Water for brushing Soy sauce, extra to serve
Place all ingredients together in a bowl and mix well to combine. Place a tsp of pork mixture in the centre of each wonton wrapper, brush the edges with water and fold to enclose the filling, pressing he edges to seal.
Add a little peanut oil to a medium-hot pan and place the wontons in a single layer, allowing the bottoms to turn golden brown. Once brown, add boiling water to the pan to almost cover the wontons and continue boiling until all water has evaporated from the pan (approximately 5 minutes), and the bottom of the wontons become crisp again. Serve immediately with the extra soy sauce.
The actual recipe gives instructions on how to steam the wontons, however, as I was trying to turn these into my own version of Gyozas, I changed the way I cooked them. They actually turned out quite yummy!
The above was my first attempt, and as you can see, I had no idea how to fold the actual wonton wrappers...what a mess! I took these to a friend’s house for dinner during the week and to see what they thought – they were all eaten fairly fast, so I’m guessing that was a good sign.
These were then my second attempt at wrapping using the round wontons...still not a professional, but not too bad if I say so my self!
My second bastardisation of a Japanese recipe was....
Chicken Miso Soup Cookbook: Donna Hay The Instant Cook
1/3 cup yellow miso paste 1 tbsp fish sauce 6 cups water 3 chicken breast fillets, sliced 200g of asparagus, or green beans, halved lengthwise 4 green onions, sliced
Place the miso paste, fish sauce and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover and bring to the boil. Add the chicken and asparagus or beans and stir to separate. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes or until the chicken is tender and cooked through. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with the green onions. Serves 4.
I found this recipe so simple to make (it really wasn't cooking at all), yet the taste was absolutely beautiful! I'd definitely make this again and again, especially for a quick mid-week meal. I'm under no illusion that this was anywhere close to an authentic Miso Soup recipe, but do you know what, I'm not really fussed, as this was delicious just as it was!
I hope everyone had a Happy Valentine’s Day yesterday!
Of course, it’s very apt that last week’s theme is “Love”, and I’ve once again reached for one of my pretty cookbooks – Falling Cloudberries. As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve used this book quite a bit so far. I was a bit hesitant using it again, but the more I cook from it, the more I’m falling in love with it. The photos have me staring intently and dreaming that I'm there.
I chose this recipe for its simplicity, its pretty whiteness, and its use of Champagne…..Tessa insists that you serve the dish with a glass or two, and who am I to say no to that!
50g parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra for serving
80g unsmoked scarmoza or cacciotta cheese, grated (a type of dry mozzarella cheese)
Heat the oil in the large heavy-based saucepan with high sides. Sauté the shallots gently for 5 minutes until they are softened and slightly golden. Add the rice and cook, stirring for 30 second or so, until it is well coated with the oil. Add 300ml Champagne, stir and let the rice absorb it before you add one ladleful of hot water. When it has been absorbed, add another ladleful, stirring continuously to prevent the risotto sticking. Continue cooking the risotto in the way, making sure the water is absorbed before the next ladleful is added. After about 20 minute you should have added about 1 litre of water. Add salt to taste.
When the rice has absorbed all the water, add the remaining Champagne. Stir well and then stir in the parmesan, scarmoza and butter. Taste for salt again and serve immediately, with freshly ground black pepper and extra grated parmesan.
This was an extremely simple dish to prepare and put together. I was a little concerned by the lack of stock in the dish thinking it might not have any flavour at all, however surprisingly it turned out quite lovely with a smooth, subtle flavour. I felt the scarmoza cheese definitely brought the dish to life, but this also made it a little heavy. I served it with a little rocket salad, which worked really well, and in fact I think that the bitterness of the salad cut through the cheese and was a winning combination.
Would I make it again - yes I would. Maybe not straight away, but I think its a flavour that I'll want more of. Maybe on a cold wintery night. However, I would try adding a little stock.
Take 2 of my mum's 70th birthday was spent with family up on the Gold Coast this weekend. Unfortunately we missed the cool change that came through Melbourne on the weekend, and arrived back to 36 degrees on the Monday evening...guess you can't have everything!
As you can see by the photo's we had a tropical theme for the BBQ lunch which included skewered prawns, beef kebabs, marinated chicken wings, and ribs along with a range of salads. Unfortunately there are no photo's of all the food as I was too busy cooking and preparing to take photos and by the time I actually sat down, everyone had already started eating.
I did manage to get some pics of the birthday cake which my sister-in-law made. Beautiful fresh sponge cakes filled with cream and strawberry jam, decorated by yours truly with tropical flowers.
Last Sunday I spent a lazy day with one of my nieces "Ms B", riding around the Yarra River and enjoying some yummy stuffed baguettes in the botanic gardens.
With 9 minute to go before we had to get the bikes back to the hire shop, we managed to fight our way through the Southbank Sunday market crowd to the gelati shop where we managed to squeeze in some yummy lychee and crushed pineapple gelati (for me), and Ms B had the vanilla and mango....delicious. We still managed to make it over the other side of the river in time. Shame it was a 39 degree day, otherwise it would have been perfect!
We filled one baguette with thinly sliced boiled egg, mayonnaise and baby spinach leaves, and the other with a mixture of tuna, cannellini beans and lemon juice with some more baby spinach leaves.
As I was heading off to the moonlight cinemas once again (I feel like I'm living there), I again wanted this weeks theme to be something that I could also take for the picnic. I was originally thinking to do some sort of meringue as I had so many egg whites in the freezer, but as I make meringue almost weekly (no real challenge there), I ended up deciding on....
Baked Cinnamon Custard Cookbook: Donna Hay Magazine Jun/Jul 2007 (Issue 33)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
4 cups single or pouring cream
2 egg yolks
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Freshly grated nutmeg for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees. Place the cream in a saucepan over high heat until it just comes to the boil. Place the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon in a bowl and whisk until well combined. Gradually add the hot cream mixture, whisking well to combine. Pour the custard into a lightly greased 30 x 22cm ovenproof dish and sprinkle with nutmeg. Place into a baking dish and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the side of the ovenproof dish. Bake for 1 hour or until the custard is just set. Serves 6.
The above recipe is how it is written in the magazine, however, as I wanted picnic food, I decided to turn this baked custard recipe into little baked custard tarts. I had some left over uncooked pastry in the freezer which I used as the base. The above quantity would make 32 mini tarts.
As you can see by the first picture, the pastry was so fragile I had to patch work it into the little tart tins, although once cooked, it was a light flaky pastry which really complemented the sweet, full bodied custard (this isn't a shy, pale custard like the types you buy in a carton).
My verdict.....DELICIOUS......these were so silky smooth that the custard just melted in your mouth. Definitely plan to make this again and again (unless my thighs give way beforehand).