I love a good Mojito, who doesn't? But I love cake even more. So when I saw Lorraine Pascale's recipe for Mojito Genoise Sponge... well. I just had to try it. Result? It looked exactly like in her cookbook Baking Made Easy . Tastewise I'll make a few changes next time. I didn't use all of the sugar syrup and it meant the cake was a bit dry. I was just worried it would be too sweet. I was wrong. Here's a link to the recipe.
Crisp, buttery and slightly savoury, Swedish waffles are delicious served with softly whipped cream and a dollop of homemade cloudberry jam. I tried making some when we were back in Sydney but I think I had a dud waffle maker as the batter separated and drizzled down the sides of the stove. Basically they were inedible. These however were amazing.
The best waffles are made with a cast iron waffle iron (like my mum's) that has to be sizzling. And don't forget to add lots of butter to the batter!
Simple Swedish Waffles Makes 20 waffles or 10 double
100 g butter, melted 1 cup cold water 350 ml plain flour 200 ml milk
2 tsp baking powder Method: 1. Heat up your waffle iron well in advance so it is hot hot hot! 2. Melt the butter and let it cool slightly. 3. With a whisk combine water, flour, milk and baking powder until smooth. Add the melted butter. 4. Butter the waffle iron if needed. Use a 3/4 cup of batter for each waffle and pour mixture into hot waffle iron. NOTE: Don't forget to close the lid. Your waffles should be crisp and golden - this will take a couple of minutes. Remove them too fast and they won't be crisp. 5. Serve hungry friends as you make the waffles or alternatively stack them on a plate as you make them. But this means the bottom ones will become a bit soft. . 6. Waffles are best served with softly whipped cream and runny jam. Cloudberry or strawberry is best.
We made this just before Christmas and it's been gracing the windowsill in the kitchen throughout the holidays. I used a traditional Swedish recipe for gingerbread biscuits which is crisp and buttery with lots of Christmassy flavour. Recipe to come. The baked gingerbread.
Greetings from Sweden. It's been a chilly few days. Making the change from summer in sunny Sydney to wintery Lapland has been a bit harder than usual. Either I'm really a Sydneysider now or I'm getting weak.
Anyway. Seeing as it was -34 again today I opted for a brisk walk while it was still light and then spent the rest of the day indoors with the fire going. Life has been quiet, which is good, and we've been playing a lot of board games.... and of course there's been some baking and cooking traditional Christmas foods.
This is Lorraine Pascale's third cookbook and although you'd think there wouldn't be much more to write with such a quick succession of books, you couldn't be more wrong.
This is even better than Baking Made Easy. The recipes are fun, colourful, look tasty and - best of all they actually are. She is the queen of baking and the dessert and baking recipes do not dissapoint either.
I love unbaked cheesecake and this recipe from Lorraine Pascale is my new favourite. It is incredibly dense and rich, but at the same time it is quite light and not too cloying. It also makes one massive cheesecake. I think it could definitely feed 20 people. The slices really are like a doorstop so smaller is better. Can't wait to play around with this recipe. It's begging to be made into a strawberry version.
VANILLA DOORSTOP CHEESECAKE 75g butter 250g digestive biscuits 2 tbs light soft brown sugar 800g full fat Philadelphia cream cheese 1 lemon 1 vanilla pod (or vanilla essence) 800 ml fridge cold double cream 75g icing sugar
1. You will need a 23 cm springform that is at least 8 cm deep. Melt butter slowly. Place digestive biscuits in foodprocessor and blitz to smitherenss. Tip biscuit crumbs into butter and then press into the base of the springform tin. Place in the fridge to chill while you work on topping.
2. Put the cream cheese in a large bowl and finely grate zest over. Halve the vanilla pod, scrape out seeds and add them or vanilla extract too. Mix together well to loosen mixture slightly.
3. Pour the double cream into a large bowl and sift in icing sugar. Whisk it, by hand to almost the same consistency as the cream cheese just a little looser.
4. Tip the cream into cream cheese mixture and mix everything gently with as few stirs as possible. Tip onto biscuit base and smooth the top with the back of a spoon or offset spatula.Or set in fridge for 4 hours.
5. Cover with cling film and put in freezer for about 30 minutes until just set.
Every year I plan to make edible goodies to give as gifts for Christmas. And evey year as December comes around I find myself feeling royally buggered and not at all interested in spending time in the kitchen. With Christmas shopping, functions every weekend and trying to wrap things up at work before I leave for a holiday in Sweden... (yes Sweden!) let's just say I haven't been feeling it this year.
I had however promised a friend I'd make some treats for her party. Inspired by Lyndey Milan's fabulous White Rocky Road recipe I thought I'd whip up a quick batch before the party.
Although these took a bit longer to make than planned, they are utterly delicious.
And since I'm heading off to a white Christmas in just a few days time, here's my take on White Chocolate Rocky Road.
WHITE CHOCOLATE ROCKY ROAD
600g white chocolate, chopped
120g marshmallows chopped
420g rose flavoured Turkish delight, chopped coarsely 1 cup flaked coconut, toasted
1 cup (140g) shelled pistachios, lightly toasted
1/2 cup pomegranate flavoured, dried cranberries
Silver cachous balls, to serve 1. Place 20-30 cupcake wrappers of your choice on a tray or oven tray. 2. Toast coconut on the stovetop in a pan and then pistachios. Leave to cool on a plate.
3. Chop marshmallows and Turkish delight into smallish bits. 4. Combine marshmallows, Turkish delight, coconut, pistachios and cranberries in a large bowl. 5. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave in 20-30 second burst stirring in-between. 6. Pour white chocolate into the dry ingredients and stir quickly until evenly coated. Time is of the essence my friend, so don't be slow or it will start clumping together as it sets. 7. Dollop 1-2 heaped tablespoons into each cupcake wrapper and decorate with silver cachous for a festive touch. These can also be dolloped straight onto baking paper if you like them smaller. 8. Leave to cool in the fridge for a few hours.
Pressed for time I started on this baby after rushing home from uni last night. Now you might say that 9 'o clock at night is not the best time of the day to start a cake. You'd be right.
But I had promised my collegaues a cake for Melbourne Cup day and I hate breaking my promises.
The base for this cake is the Lavender cake I have made a gazillion times. But that didn't help. The base didn't seem right, the white chocolate mousse wouldn't set and even with some help from gelatine oozed out on the sides. Not to mention that I used too much white choc mousse on two layers and was left with only a smear on the last one. Sigh.
The one thing that did work was the fantastic Swiss Meringue Buttercream from Sweetapolita. Beautiful consistency and not too buttery. A new favourite!
Better photos and recipe to come soon. In the meantime, Happy Punting!
She's New Zealand's leading celebrity chef, stars in her own cooking series and is a passionate advocate for using seasonal ingredients. Annabel Langbein is back with her 19th cookbook, Simple Pleasures: The Free Range Cook. It's another no fuss, entertaining type food book and at first glance it's lovely. Big mouthwatering pictures, easy read text and simple create at home recipes.
At this point I should mention that I own her previous book Annabel Langbein's Free Range in the City and can honestly say I have not cooked one thing from it. That's not to say I don't enjoy reading it and planning to make some of the recipes, which is what I do with a lot of my cookbooks because I have so many. This time however, for the purposes of this review I set out to cook a few recipes from Simple Pleasures. - Slow-roast Lamb with a Herb Crust - Poached Chicken - Butter Cookies
Some thoughts: The recipes are very simple, some very basic. Unfortunately the poached chicken I made was dry. That could be down to the quality of the chicken. As we all know there's free-range and then there's free-range. In other words depending on how much you spend on your free-range chook it varies.
The herb encrusted lamb I would not make again. I love lavender and this recipe includes it, but there was something about the flavour in the herb crust that did not sit right with me. It was too perfumey and oddly tasted a bit like I had draped the poor lamb in anchovies. Apart from that there was nothing actually wrong with my lamb. The potatoes that baked under the lamb were a ok, but again reminded me of one of my most hated dishes of all time Swedish Sjomansgryta were the potatoes are sliced and cooked in the meat broth. The butter biscuits though were not bad. I have a similar recipe that uses condensed milk so I know that using this particular ingredient in biscuits works a treat. A note though, even though I halved the recipe it still made one hell of a lot of bikkies, in my case Hazelnut and chocolate and Lavender. These would be great for bake sales.
I'm still debating whether or not to keep this book. Space is at a premium in my house so I might just take down the cookie recipe and give this book away. Any takers?
It’s been almost a week since the $35 Challenge finished. I never thought seven days would feel so long, but they did. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I didn’t cope too well. I was hungry a lot. And not because I actually was hungry. More a phantom feeling of can’t have what I want when I want it. It was embarrassing really. Imagine instead what it must be like having so little all the time. Day in, day out, always skimping, making the dollars go further. I can understand how desperate some people must feel. Sure, you would get used to having less. But there must be times when you just long for more.
Some thoughts about living on less:
There is no “oops I forgot my lunch at home today, I’ll just get a takeaway sandwich”. You can never go anywhere without first planning your meals. Either you bring your lunch or snack with you or you go without. There’s also the planning and cooking of every single food you ever eat. No shortcuts.
2. Cooking skills.
Eating healthy food on a budget is probably easier if you know how to cook, and particularly if you’re creative. If you can whip up an omelette from leftovers or make a soup out of vegetable skerricks - all the better towards eeking out the food supply.
3. Eating the same thing.
If you cook in bulk or buy something on special you also eat it for a long time, which saves you money. Get used to eating a lot of leftovers and never throwing anything away…
4. Planning and shopping wisely Where you shop and what you eat will depend on three things. What’s in season (thus making it cheap), what’s on special, and where is it for sale at the lowest price?
5. Eating out.
At the end of the week I had exhausted my carrot supply but still had some eggs and half a loaf of bread (which I have continued eating this week - it was frozen). I only had a wrap on one day as the corn wraps I had bought on special were incredibly dry and chewy. My boyfriend actually ate most of them. I still had leftover red cabbage. And I ate a lot of salad. A lot. Here's another glamour shot of a carrot, cabbage, celery variety.
Part of the Challenge stated that you could use food that was already in your pantry and fridge. I tried not to use this too much but the ingredients I used were these: margarine and oil, handful of cheese for pizza topping from a piece of old cheese that I had grated and frozen ages ago (a thrifty trick my mum taught me), capsicum half that had seen better days, half a bag of dried dates that I found hiding at the back of my pantry, few tablespoons of tomato sauce for pizza, SF flour for pizza and to make pancakes, 1 cup of lentils that I used in the Storecupboard soup. On Sunday night I had a frozen leftover meal (just to be clear, I didn’t eat it frozen) that had been in the freezer for a while.
There. I feel guilty just writing it.
Here's what I ate:
Breakfasts: Porridge with dates, 4 days Scrambled eggs on toast 2 days Pancakes with apples 1 day (using Jamie Oliver’s 1 egg recipe, oil for pan and last apple, peeled, cubed and cooked in a bit of water until mushy and jamlike)
Lunches Chicken wings with salad 2 days Store cupboard soup 3 days Wrap with veg 1 day No lunch on Sunday as I had a late breakfast
Dinners Store cupboard soup 2 days Omelette with salad 1 day Pizza with picked meat from 3 chicken wings, bacon (from Bi-Lo Deli) and salad 1 day Leftovers and salad 1 day Chicken wings with salad 1 day Baked potato with chicken wings and salad 1 day
Snacks Apples Carrots
Food for thought: I’ve started to think twice before indulging and splashing out on food. If I have food in the fridge I will eat it before I look for other options. Inspired by the Challenge I did a shop and cooked ahead for the week on the day the Challenge finished so that I wouldn’t feel the need to eat out.