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Saturday, January 12, 2013

BLAT




It was lunch time and I was feeling rather ravenous so you can imagine my disappointment when I opened the fridge to find it was virtually empty (we are planning to do the shopping this afternoon...). I did manage to find two tomatoes, some bacon and a pile of dough which was left over from the pizza dough I made the other night.

Thankfully we have lettuce growing the garden and Kevin had picked our baby zucchini so we had enough for a decent sandwich at least. BLAT (bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich) perhaps? I think so...







Now off to do the grocery shopping...Happy Saturday everyone.   

For pizza dough recipe click here.   


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Pear and Ginger Cake

I love any city that doesn't have wind blowing all the time. So pretty much any city that isn't Wellington. I've lived in Wellington longer enough to call myself  a Wellingtonian and whilst I am proud to be one, I will never enjoy or like wind. There's something annoying about being blasted into my car when I go to hop in it and that constant wind swept look I seem to have day after day. Ahhh Wellington, or should I say Newlands? which seems to be the windiest suburb in Wellington. I obviously know how to pick the good locations. Thankfully for me, food makes even the windiest day tolerable. The types of food depends on the day and what I feel like, but all in all, food soothes my angst towards the wind, and angst towards anything for that matter. 

This particular windy day, the only thing that it going to make me happy is pear and ginger cake. I love everything about pear and ginger together and this cake makes the cut for a blustery, cold and bitter day. 

I'd suggest you try making this on the next windy day you have to soothe your soul. If you're in Wellington, this will be needed often.



Pear and Ginger Cake

First:

 Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line the base of a 22cm springform cake tin with baking paper.


Cream butter, brown sugar and maple syrup until light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten eggs a small amount at a time to avoid the mixture curdling.


Dissolve baking soda in the milk



Sift flour, baking powder and ground ginger into the creamed mixture alternately with the milk, mixing carefully until combined. 




Spoon mixture into prepared tin.



Peel and slice two pears.



Then arrange over the mixture, overlapping a little to ensure that the whole cake will remain covered once cooked.  


Bake at 180 degrees for 40 - 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted to the cake. 
  


Wait for the cake to cool and slice. Serve with custard, maple glaze, yoghurt or what ever tickles your fancy.


It truly does make all the wind in the world seem okay....


Pear and Ginger Cake

Ingredients

  • 150g butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup soft brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 ripe pears

  • Method

     Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line the base of a 22cm springform cake tin with baking paper.

     Cream butter, brown sugar and maple syrup until light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten eggs a small amount at a time to avoid the mixture curdling.

     Dissolve baking soda in the milk. Sift flour, baking powder and ground ginger into the creamed mixture, alternately with the milk, mixing carefully until combined. Spoon mixture into prepared tin. Place the sliced pears on top of the cake.

    Bake for 40-45 minutes until cooked. A skewer inserted into the middle of the cake will come out clean. Place cake on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. Remove from the cake tin.

     Serve warm with custard, cream or ice cream.
- From 'Food in a minute' 


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Summer time = Easy Living

Happy New Year to you all! I hope you all had a swell time over the silly season. It seems strange that it's been and gone, but I guess time flies when you're having fun and enjoying the niceties that summer brings (berries, berries berries...). 

My Christmas was spent at my parents house with siblings, in-laws,  nieces, nephews, my nana, and friends. It was busy day filled with good food, tennis and 'adventure walks' (the best kind) with my nieces. 



How did you spend your Christmas? Did you go overboard on the berries like we did? I think my mum spent close to $100 on berries this year. And we ate them all. This gives you an idea how important berries are in my family. 

Long may summer last.

2013, may you be filled with glorious food and lots of it. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Token Gifts

So, what was it that I had planned for the Refrigerator Cookies:

Christmas gifts of course!





The perfect 'token' gift. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Flakey Melt-in-Your-mouth Pie


On my 23rd birthday, Kevin bought me a pie maker. Yeeep a pie maker. You can imagine my surprise when unwrapping this 'thoughtful' gift. I mean, it's not every day you get given a pie maker - by your boyfriend. It's not exactly the most romantic of presents, but then Kevin can have his un-romantic moments. Can you relate? Clearly it was his way of telling me to 'make him some pies'. Thanks Kev. Unfortunately three years has gone past, and not a lot of pies have been made. Sorry Kev.


I do like my pie however, and one night when Kev and I were sitting in front of the T.V.,we became sold on a delicious looking pie that flashed before us on the T.V. screen. 

"Mmm Pie. Man I want Pie" Says Kev (currently starving). 

And that is how the love for this pie came about...

The pastry used for these pies is heavenly. HEAVENLY. When you bite into the pie, you are hit with a flakey crunch which then soon melts in your mouth. It's pretty dang amazing and no doubt has something to do with the 1/3 sour cream, 1/3 butter. The other 1/3 is flour. 
We fill these babies with slow cooked chuck steak, onions, carrots and some guinness. Mmm!

Fkakey Melt-In-Your-Mouth Pastry

Ingredients: 

200g chilled butter
250g flour
1/2 cup sour cream 

How to:

Chop up butter and add to the flour in a large bowl of an electric mixer or food processor. Process until mixture resembles large bread crumbs. 


Add sour cream and process until mixture just comes together. 


Form into a disc shape, wrap in gladwrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes (chilling pastry prevents the pastry from shrinking). 

Roll the pastry out and cut into circles (to fit muffin tins of your choice. We used a texas muffin tin which makes 7). You will need a circle for the bottom and a larger circle for the lid. 


Fill with filling of your choice and then top with the lid.


Brush lightly with a beaten egg and slice a whole through the top to allow the pie to breath whilst cooking.

Bake at 180 c for 25 minutes or until golden brown. 


Serve with T. sauce (tomato sauce) - this is a must .

Beef Onion and Guinness Pie
(or Flakey Melt-in-Your-Mouth Pie)

Filling

  • 100ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • onions, sliced
  • cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • sprigs thyme
  • fresh bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1.5kg trimmed chuck steak, cut into 5cm pieces
  • Salt flakes and freshly ground white pepper
  • carrot, cut into large chunks
  • 440ml can Guinness
  • 1L home-made beef stock
  • egg, beaten
  • Tomato sauce, to serve
Maggie Beer’s Sour-Cream Pastry
  • 200g chilled unsalted butter, chopped
  • 250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • ½ cup sour cream

Method


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan-forced (200°C conventional).

2. For the pies, add 40ml olive oil to an enamelled cast-iron casserole, then add the onion, garlic and thyme and cook over low heat (use a simmer mat, if necessary) for 40 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent, stirring occasionally. Increase the heat to medium-high, add bay leaves and cook until the onion is dark and caramelised. Add the flour and cook stirring often for 3-4 minutes.

3. Season the beef generously with salt flakes and ground white pepper. Heat remaining 60ml of the olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat, then cook the beef in 2 batches until well browned on all sides. Add the carrot and cook for 5-6 minutes or until golden. Add ¾ of the Guinness and cook for 5 minutes. Tip beef and Guinness into onions. Use remaining Guinness in can to deglaze the beef pan, scraping all the brown bits from the bottom, add to the onions.

4. Pour enough beef stock to cover the beef and vegetables and bring to the boil. Cover with a tight fitting lid, then transfer to the oven and cook for 2-2.5 hours or until tender. Leave to cool to room temperature. Remove the chunks of beef and carrot to a board and chop into 1cm pieces, then return them to the onion gravy. Refrigerate until cold.

5. Meanwhile, to make the sour cream pastry, place the butter and flour and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle or food processor, then blend until the mixture resembles large breadcrumbs. Gradually add the sour cream, mixing until the pastry just comes together. Shape into a disc, then wrap in plastic wrap then chill for at least 20 minutes.

6. Grease 6 holes of a muffin pan with a little olive oil. Roll out the pastry to 3-5mm thick, using a little extra flour for dusting. Cut out six rounds about 4cm bigger than the muffin holes for the pie bases and six rounds 2cm bigger than the muffin holes for the pie lids. Place a pie base in each hole, then press in in lightly with your fingers, and draw the pastry up the mould a little so the pastry is 1cm above the mould. Fill each hole with some of the beef mixture, brush edges with water, then top each with a pastry lid and crimp the edges to seal in the filling.

7. Brush the pastry tops with beaten egg, cut a small hole in the centre of each pie for steam to escape. Bake for 25 minutes or until pastry is golden. Remove from the oven and leave to stand for 5 minutes. Turn out and serve with tomato sauce, if desired.

(From Master Chef Australia)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Refrigerator Cookies

It's been a productive weekend here at the Sears' household: The window sills are now clean, the tinsel is up, the floor is vacuumed, the mountain of dishes (that have amounted due to a broken dishwasher) are done, the house has been waterblasted, the Christmas dinner part has been and gone, the Christmas service at church has been attended, the open homes have been visited, the cookies are baked and the pie filling for Tuesday is currently cooking.

What did I enjoy the most?
(Oh, why thank-you for asking) I thoroughly enjoyed making and discovering Refrigerator cookies. These beauties are so simple and basic, leaving much room for a bit of creativity and sparkle.

I made a batch of basic dough, split it into three bowls to make three different flavours - sugar coated with shaved almonds, chocolate and peanut covered, and cranberry and coconut.

During my third helping of eating the raw mixture, memories of eating raw sweet pastry from the Christmas mince pies we used to make with mum when I was little came flooding back. The mixture tastes just like it! Pastry biscuits? Mmm, yes please.

Here is what they turned out like.





I'll be back soon with my plan for these little sweet 'rounds' of joy.

"Refrigerator Cookies"

250g butter (softened)
1 cup icing sugar
2 1/2 cup flour

Beat butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in flour. Divide mixture into three bowls. Add what ever flavour you would like e.g. 1 table cocoa, chocolate chips, vanilla extract, cranberries, almonds, etc.

Next, knead the dough until smooth and roll into a log and cover in gladwrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Remove rolls from fridge and 'slice' the cookie rolls. Place each biscuit on a tray with baking paper and bake for 10 minutes at 180 degrees.

For Chocolate and and Peanut covered cookies:
Melt chocolate and chop nuts. Dip ends or top of cookie into chocolate mixture then chopped nuts. Leave to cool on baking paper.

Coconut and Cranberry Cookies:
After you have separated the mixture into three bowls, add 1/3 cup coconut, 1/4 cranberries and 1 tbsp water to the basic mix.

Sugar coated and Almond Cookies:
Once you have removed the cookie rolls from the fridge, lightly wet the roll with water then roll in sugar until coated well. Slice the dough then place shaved almonds on the cookies, pressing them lightly into the cookie so they don't come off easily.










Saturday, April 21, 2012

Lemon Meringue Slice

This is pure lemon-deliciousness and is a must try for anyone who loves lemon. Recipe to come soon...