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Archive for the 'Recipes' Category

Writing in Books. Gasp!

I have a thing for recipe books, and each time I visit my local library, I grab some different ones to study and find new recipes to test. My favorites are those featuring baking—the types of cakes and biscuits (cookies) my mother used to make when I was a child.

New Zealander, Alexa Johnson has written several recipe books on baking. The books are called Ladies, A Plate, and the one I’m studying at present is called Ladies, A Plate: The Collection.

One of the things she mentions at the start of her recipe books is about writing things down. She says to record your experience with the recipe in the actual book since this adds interest and usefulness to the recipe book when it is passed down within a family. Forget the rules about writing in books.

At first I thought, no way! Because nothing annoys me more than checking out a library book only to find a previous reader has “corrected” it. But then I thought about how useful it would be to have the knowledge of previous cooks in my family. I would love reading notes written by my grandmother or mother since they were both excellent cooks. The idea really appealed to me, and now I’m a convert. I can’t wait to start writing notes in my recipe books.

How do you feel about writing in books? Do you do it?

Oat Cakes

Oat Rounds

I tried out two new recipes this week, and this is the first. This recipe for Oat Rounds, or what I like to call oat cakes, comes from 100 Sweet Treats and Puds by Mary Berry. I was pleased with the texture, but both hubby and I thought the final result was too sweet.

Ingredients:

50 grams (2 oz) fine sugar

100 grams (4 oz) butter

100 grams (4 oz) porridge oats (oatmeal)

50 grams (2 oz) plain flour

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 160C or 140C for fan oven and line trays with baking paper.

2. Combine the sugar and butter and beat until creamy.

3. Add the oats and flour and combine.

4. Lightly knead the mixture, flour work surface, and roll out to a thickness of 5mm or 1/4 inch.

5. Cut into rounds with a plain cutter and place on baking trays. Should make around 16 rounds.

6. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.

7. Cool on a wire rack.

Shelley’s Notes

1. These biscuits were way too sweet. At least they were for my taste. I’d half the sugar the next time.

2. I have a fan oven, and I cooked my biscuits at 140C. They took ages to cook, far longer than the 20 minutes, so I think I’d increase the temperature a little.

3. My mixture kept crumbling when I was rolling it, so I pressed my biscuits into shape. That’s why mine look a bit ragged!

4. They taste great with cheese.

Recipe: Lemon Pepper Bread

Lemon Pepper Bread

This is another new recipe, and it comes from Essential Vegetarian. The mixture is very like a scone recipe, and you could form this into individual shapes rather than a loaf.

Ingredients:

250 grams (2 cups) self-raising flour

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoons lemon pepper – if you don’t have this use 1 teaspoon of grated lemon zest and 2 teaspoons of ground black pepper

50 grams (1 3/4 oz) butter

1 Tablespoon of chives – chopped

90 grams (3/4 cup) cheese – grated

2 teaspoons white vinegar

185 ml (3/4 cup) milk

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 210C (425F) and line tray with baking paper.

2. Combine flour, salt, lemon pepper in bowl and rub in butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

3. Combine the milk and the vinegar together. This might curdle but that is fine.

4. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture  and combine until it forms a soft dough.

5. Turn onto a floured board and knead lightly. Divide mixture in two and form into a rounds. Score each round into eight wedges.

6. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the rounds are golden and they sound hollow when the bottoms are tapped.

Shelley’s Notes:

1. I cooked mine in a loaf tin and made one loaf instead of two rounds.

2. You could also make small individual scones.

3. This loaf is best eaten on the day, warm from the oven, but I toasted slices the next day, and that worked well too.

Breakfast on the Run Loaf

This is a recipe from New Zealander, Jo Seagar’s cooking book, A Bit of What You Fancy. I’ve made it twice now with great results, and it’s a recipe I’ll make again and again. Easy and tasty. My kind of recipe!

Breakfast Loaf

Ingredients:

4 crushed WeetBix (Weetabix in America or you could use something like crushed bran flakes – 1 1/2 cups)

1 cup raw sugar

1 cup chopped dried apricots

1/2 cup walnuts

300ml milk

1 egg

1 3/4 cup self-raising flour

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C / 360F

2. Grease or line a loaf tin with baking paper.

3. Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Beat the egg and milk together and mix with the dry ingredients.

4. Place in the loaf tin and bake for 40 – 45 minutes until golden and brown.

5. Cool on a wire rack.

Shelley’s Notes:

1. I didn’t have raw sugar and used white sugar once and brown sugar another time. Either worked well, although I found that 1 cup made the loaf too sweet for my taste. I reduced the sugar to half a cup.

2. I’ve used other fruit instead of apricots. I used apple and berry, which was frozen when I added it. You could also use cranberries. As long as the fruit isn’t too “wet” it will work.

3. I didn’t have any self-raising four so I used 2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1 3/4 cups of standard flour.

4. This loaf is good fresh or toasted and keeps for one week. It also freezes well.

Breakfast Loaf Slices

This is a delicious loaf, and one I will make again and again.

Recipe: Tomato and Pesto Tart

Hubby and I like to test new recipes, and this is our latest—a Tomato and Pesto Tart. We found the recipe at our local supermarket on one of the leaflets they give out to customers.

Tomato and Pesto Tart

Ingredients:

750 grams tomatoes

1 sheet of puff pastry (defrosted)

1 Tablespoon pesto

1 Tablespoon butter

Salt and Pepper

 

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 220C/428F

2. Cut the tomatoes in half.

3. Melt the butter in a pan. Place the tomatoes cut side down in the pan. Add salt and pepper and cook over a medium heat for about 20 minutes or until the tomatoes are tender.

4. Place a little of the juice from the tomatoes in an ovenproof dish. Gently remove the tomatoes from your pan and place cut side down in the ovenproof dish. Place as close together as possible.

5. Spread the pesto over one side of the pastry. Place the pastry over your dish of tomatoes with the pesto side down. Fold back any excess pastry.

6. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until the pastry is puffed and golden.

7. Loosen the edges and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Place a plate on top of your dish and turn your tart out so the tomatoes are on the top as above.

8. Serve with a green salad.

This tart was simple yet so, so delicious. If you’re a fan of tomatoes, you’ll love this dish.

The Amazing Onion Mum

Hubby and I went out for lunch with the family to a cafe that overlooked the water. A really pretty spot to while away a Sunday afternoon. Hubby’s brother is a regular at this cafe, and he ordered something called an onion mum. I’d seen the sign in the cafe advertising them and the fact that the cafe had sold 80,033 (plus one more after our order), but I had no idea what they were.

Onion Mum

Behold! This is the onion mum. The onion is sliced, bread-crumbed and deep fried. A warm dip was placed inside. The final verdict – yummy.

Here is a video that shows the method for making an onion mum. It seems that the dish has varying names – onion blossom, onion flower, blooming onion and onion mum (short for chrysanthemum)

Have you eaten or made an onion mum?

Revive Raw Salad

I visited one of the Revive restaurants in Auckland last week and had this salad as part of my lunch. It was delicious. On my arrival home, I checked the Revive cookbook I had and was delighted to find the recipe for the salad I’d enjoyed so much.

Revive Raw Salad

Ingredients:

2 medium beetroot

4 carrots

1/2 cup sultanas

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

fresh mint to garnish

Orange Dressing:

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons honey

juice of 1 orange

 

Method:

1. Place the sultanas in a bowl and pour on some boiling water.

2. Grate the carrot and the beetroot.

3. Mix all the dressing ingredients together.

4. Drain the water off the sultanas. Add these plus the sunflower seeds to the carrot/beetroot mix.

5. Pour over the dressing, combine and serve.

Shelley’s Notes:

1. I think when I make this recipe again I’ll replace the orange with lemon because I like a less sweet flavor.

2. I reduced the amount of honey and salt in my dressing.

Do you have a favorite salad recipe?

Recipe: Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onion Dip

I made this recipe for my husband’s birthday last week. It was a trial of a new recipe, and the end result was delicious.

Blue Cheese Caramelised Onion Dip

Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onion Dip

This recipe was taken from the Australian Women’s Weekly Italian cookbook. As usual, I didn’t have the right ingredients to hand, so I improvised.

Ingredients:

20 grams (3/4 ounce) butter

1 large brown onion – diced roughly

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

90 grams (3 ounces) crumbled blue cheese

3/4 cup (180 grams) creme fraiche

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

Method:

1. Melt the butter and cook the onion until softened.

2. Add the brown sugar and the vinegar to the onion and continue to cook over a low heat until the onion begins to caramelize. This will take about 10 minutes.

3. Add the crumbled cheese and the creme fraiche and stir until the mixture is smooth.

4. Cool and refrigerate until well-chilled.

5. Stir in the parsley and serve with corn chips, crackers or your favorite savory biscuits.

Shelley’s Notes:

1. I substituted thick Greek yoghurt (low fat) for the creme fraiche.

2. My onion was on the small side, so I reduced both the sugar and vinegar to 1 tablespoon each.

3. I added a little extra blue cheese since I adore the stuff.

Conclusion: This recipe is a keeper! Do you have a favorite dip recipe that you make on a regular basis?

Recipe: Lavosh Crackers

Lavosh Crackers

I’ve been looking for a cracker recipe for ages – something to eat with cheese or to serve with a dip. This is one of Annabel Langbein’s recipes. I’ve made it several times now and the end result is always good. These are moreish! They’re also very easy to make.

Ingredients:

1 cup plain white flour

1/3 cup wholemeal flour

2 Tablespoons black sesame seeds

2 Tablespoons white sesame seeds

1 Tablespoon fresh oregano (chopped) or substitute dried and reduce amount to 1 teaspoon

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/2 cup water

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 165 C.

2. Place dry ingredients, seeds and herbs into a bowl.

3. Mix the oils and water together and add to dry ingredients. Mix to a dough.

4. Split dough into four and roll out each part as thin as possible.

5. Cut into strips and each strip into a cracker size.

6. Bake on a baking paper-covered tray until crisp and golden – about 15 – 18 minutes.

7. Cool and store in an airtight container.

 

Shelley’s notes:

1. I didn’t have any sesame oil and used all olive oil in my crackers.

2. I’ve substituted other herbs such as rosemary and other spices such as cumin seeds. Ms Langbein suggests chili or parmesan.

3. Hubby made this recipe and rolled the dough through the pasta machine to make it extra thin. I use the rolling pin. Winking smile

The Glamorous Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet cake seems to be everywhere I look at the moment–at a friend’s birthday party, at one of the cafes I visit in order to write and on my favorite television cooking shows.

I’m a recent convert to the Red Velvet cake, and I remember where I sampled my first piece. It was at a California Kitchen in Los Angeles for my dessert. I enjoyed every mouthful.

I’ve been wanting to try making my own for ages and found a recipe on one of my favorite local sites Baking Makes Things Better. Yesterday was the day. The actual recipe was very easy, but my trials started when I looked through my cupboard for a suitable tin to bake my cake. I had a springform tin, but I learned my lesson last year. If your cake batter is runny, do not use one of these tins because the mixture will leak through the bottom and make a mess in the oven! Take this as a public service announcement and don’t repeat my mistake.

I ended up using two loaf tins in which to bake my cake.

Red Velvet Cake

Here’s the recipe:

Dry Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

Wet Ingredients:

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups oil

1 cup buttermilk

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla

50ml red liquid food coloring (1 bottle)

Method:

1. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

2. Mix all the wet ingredients together in a different bowl.

3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.

4. Grease two tins (20 cm cake tin)

5. Place half the mixture in each tin.

6. Cook in oven preheated to 180C/360F for 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

7. Cool and frost.

Frosting:

250 grams cream cheese

200 grams butter (softened)

5 cups icing sugar (Confectioner’s sugar)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Combine all ingredients and frost cake.

Shelley’s notes:

1. The cake mixture is in-your-face red but it’s meant to look like that. I managed to get red cake mix everywhere. I think I had a bad day, but take care Smile

2. I didn’t have any buttermilk and used regular milk, which worked fine.

3. This cake is delicious!