Tag Archives: week one

Whole Orange Cake (no butter, no oil)

19 Nov

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This cake is all over the internet and I’m sure you have seen it before. If you haven’t, let me sell it to you.

Plump, juicy summer oranges are simmered in hot water until burstingly soft and tender, then blended, skins and all. The aroma of the orange oil from the skins and the sweet flesh will really liven you up.

Almond meal is in there for sweet nuttiness. Wholesome brown sugar is whipped with whole eggs until silky and a little flour ties it all together.

It is SO easy, moist, keeps well and is oh so, well… Orangey. Because the skins are blended into the mix, you need to find thin skinned oranges without much pith, to minimise the bitterness.  It is delicious served with natural/Greek yoghurt and some orange wedges. And although this is not ever a criteria for me, this recipe has no oil or butter, just the fat from the eggs. So all those looking to eat lean, this is one for you.

I have experimented with this cake several times and I think this is just right. You can use any mould. My friend makes little orange love hearts. I make a bundt, usually.

You’ll need…

3 whole eggs

2 small oranges (thin skins)

1 1/2 cups almond meal

1/2 cup SR flour

2/3 cup brown sugar

Here’s what you do…

Simmer oranges, in water for around 1 hour.

Once cooled, puree in the blender or food processor until smooth. Combine eggs and sugar and mix until thick and ribbon-like.

Fold through orange mix and dry ingredients.

Pour into tin and cook in a 180 degree oven for about 25-30 mins, or until light golden brown and springs back when pressed lightly. Allow to cool in the turn before turning out.

That’s it! As my favourite tv celebrity meerkat would say, “simples”.

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two4six8!

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Lemon Curd Pavlova

31 Aug
two4six8! Not the best pic as taken outside, under a tree, on my phone.

two4six8! Not the best pic as taken outside, under a tree, on my phone.

Last weekend I had my first Pav success! My Mum and my sister-in-law turn out perfect pavs every time, but I have never had the knack! My mother-in-law was hosting a big lunch in her beautiful backyard and I was on dessert duty. She had lots of enormous, juicy lemons from a friend’s tree, so we made lemon curd to top the pavlova. This was a break from the tradition of kiwi, strawberries, passion fruit. It turned out very pretty and tasted delicious. I’m sorry but I don’t have the lemon curd recipe I used with me, but it is basically egg yolks, lemon juice, sugar and butter all mixed together and stirred over a bain-marie for about 15 minutes or until thick. There are loads of recipes online. I decorated with some lemon blossoms and whipped cream.

I’m not normally a ‘follow the rules’ cook. However, there are a few things you can’t muck around with if you want a perfect Pavlova. Then again, who needs perfection? If you end up with gooey sticky bits, yum. I have never met a pavlova that doesn’t turn into a heap of mess when you serve it, so fear not. Here’s what to try…

You’ll need…

For the Pavlova:

7 egg whites
385 grams caster sugar
3 teaspoons cornflour
1 teaspoon white vinegar

(A rule of thumb for pavlova is 1 egg white to 55 grams of sugar – so you can adjust quantities down or up fairly easily)

Here’s what you do…
Preheat oven to about 110 degrees celsius or only 100 for fan forced (yes, very low). Cut out a 25 centimetre (diameter) circle of baking paper. Smear a bit of butter on the tray underneath it to stop it from sliding around.

1. Ensure your mixing bowl is totally clean and dry. I like to use a little alcohol to clean out the bowl. Water is a pavlova enemy.
2. Carefully separate eggs. Yolk is also a pav enemy. Place in large mixing bowl.
3. Using a hand beater (or stand mixer on medium speed), beat the egg whites to soft peaks.
4. Gradually add the sugar, about 2 tablespoons at a time, beating thoroughly all the while. Continue beating until all the sugar has been added. Then keep on beating. You will probably be beating for about 15-20 minutes all together. You can stop until all the sugar has dissolved. You can test this by rubbing a bit of meringue between your fingers. If it feels grainy, keep beating until it isn’t.
5. Once the sugar has fully dissolved, your mixture will be very thick and glossy. Add the cornflour and vinegar and beat a few seconds until well combined.
6. Using a spatula, heap the mixture onto the paper and smear it out to fit just inside the baking paper circle. It is up to you what shape to make. I made a round, flat top with a slightly raised edge to stop the lemon curd from running over the sides (but if you like that look – do whatever you like).
– Of course you can make any shape pavlova you like: oval, square, rectangle? –
7. Place your pavlova in the oven AND DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES OPEN THE OVEN DOOR TO SNEAK A PEAK YOUR PAV MAY COLLAPSE. (Sorry for breaching food blog recipe write-up etiquette. I wasn’t yelling at you. I just don’t want you to be disappointed. It was capitalisation from a place of caring). Cook the Pavlova for around 1 hour and 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and allow the pav to cool completely (in the oven). Some people leave the door ajar to speed this process up. (There is a picture of the ‘naked pav’ at the bottom of the post).
8. Top your pay with lemon curd and dollops of whipped cream. Or, other toppings I have heard of or tried include:

  • Of course, the traditional kiwi, passionfruit and strawberries, mango, banana
  • Mixed berries (can be macerated or not)
  • Cherries are lovely for Christmas
  • Grilled, poached or stewed fruit (cold obviously) such as rhubarb, peaches, spiced prunes, pineapple, figs
  • Some marscapone mixed in with the whipped cream
  •  Pomegranate and pistachio
  • Citrus – orange, mandarin, ruby grapefruit

I would love to know what your favourite topping is or would be. Be sure to leave a comment!

Enjoy!

Oh! And by the way, if a New Zealander ever tries to tell you that they invented the pavlova – tell them you are SURE it is Australian 😉

A blank canvass to decorate with any number of creative, seasonal, delicious toppings.

A blank canvass to decorate with any number of creative, seasonal, delicious toppings. Crispy shell with light, fluffy, sweet marshmallow centre. Australian dessert heaven!

 

And I just found a picture of a doozie my amazing sister-in-law made, from Mum’s recipe, I think!

Chilli Chocolate Cake ❤

14 Aug

So I’m STILL really busy and this is cheeky – but I don’t have a lot of time for inventing. This cake recipe was from a great show that was screening on SBS television a few months back called Spice Trip. I tried this cake without the tequila and loved it so much I made it for our wedding day, along with a few other favourites as part of a cake banquet for our guests. I chose this because it is super duper quick and easy. No beatermix required. One bowl, a spoon and a whisk. Here is the link to the recipe
http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/really-easy-chocolate-cake-chilli-salt-and-tequila

I undercook this cake because I’m always worried about turning out a frisbee and wasting the good chocolate I use to make it. It is gooey the first day (amazingly delicious served warm out of the oven), and it kind of sets by the second day and is moist, firm and superb! I recommend covering loosely with foil for the last five or ten minutes and whatever you do don’t open the oven door to sneak a peak or you’ll get a pancake. Opening the oven door too early in the cooking process will cause your cake to collapse.

Here are some wedding snaps. I’ll have to ask my sister for the Russian Tea Cakes recipes.

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Chipotle Prawn Tacos with Guacamole & Chargrilled Corn and Chilli Salsa

14 Aug

This the same recipe as for Chipotle Fish Tacos except for the salsa…

All I did was chargrill some corn and large red chillies in a griddle pan on high heat, no oil. This would also work perfectly on the BBQ. Cut the corn off the cob, peel the blackened skin off the chillies and chop them up. Mix the corn, chillies, some lime juice, a drizzle of olive oil, a little salt and pepper. Mash some avocado with coriander, lime, salt and pepper – or however you like it.

Arriba!

Sorry for the speed blogging btw. I’m still studying and life’s too hectic to indulge in super long posts and super long recipes. This recipe is as yummy as anything complicated and long. Promise.

Oh! And why don’t you try this for dessert… Chilli Chocolate Cake

Tortilla Soup or ‘Sopa Azteca’

22 Jan

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This soup isn’t bold and strong but rather mild and delicate, but I promise that after your third or fourth mouthful you’ll be absolutely loving it. There are a few ingredients in this soup that may be quite hard to find in some places – in particular, the pasilla chillies which are typically used to enhance the fragrance and texture of the soup. But it doesn’t matter if you don’t have them. Nor does it matter if you don’t have any enchilada sauce to add. It is nice the way I make it but if you conduct a basic google search for tortilla soup you will soon see that there are literally hundreds of different versions of this soup. It’s just the basic idea that I love. I’ve put a note on substitutions and variations on the theme at the bottom of this recipe.

Here’s what you’ll need

Serves 6 as an entree or 4 as a main

1 cup vegetable oil

6 small corn tortillas

1 dried pasilla chilli, stem and seeds removed, sliced

1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, sliced

1 litre chicken stock

1 small chicken breast or 6 chicken tenders

1 cup enchilada sauce

1 ripe avocado, diced

4 radishes, thinly sliced

1 tablespoons or around 50 grams mild crumbly feta, crumbled

1 lime, quartered

Steps…

1. Heat oil in a medium sized saucepan to a good frying temperature – around 185 celsius, 365 fahrenheit

2. Cut tortillas into 1 inch strips and fry in the hot oil. Drain on paper towel or in a colander. Set aside.

3. Tip out most of the oil except about 2 tablespoons. Fry the pasilla chillies for about 20 seconds. Drain on paper towel and when cooled crumble the chillies slightly to break them up. Set aside.

4. Gently fry the onion and garlic in the oil until translucent. Add chicken stock and enchilada sauce along with chicken. Simmer on low heat until chicken is cooked through – 10-20 minutes. Remove chicken from broth and shred or cut into pieces.

5. To serve, you can either put out all of the garnishes and let people serve themselves at the table, or divide the tortilla strips between shallow bowls and top with a small amount of each garnish. Pour two or three ladles of hot soup into the bowl and enjoy!

Substitutions…

Use mild cheddar instead of the feta. It goes melty and delicious. If you have a local deli that sells queso fresco – this is traditional and delicious.

Cooked black beans, kidney beans, or even leftover re-fried beans are tasty and could replace the chicken.

Any vegetable can be added to the soup – chayote/choko, capsicum, potato, zucchini or squash are all nice.

A sprinkle of cayenne pepper instead of the pasilla chilli would be fine if you don’t have a Mexican importer nearby.

Any other suggestions? Add them in the comments section! 

Pulled Pork Tacos

9 Feb
two4six8!

two4six8!

Ok, so you’re going to take the whole afternoon to make these, ok? Get a six pack of Dos Equis or some lime and soda and put some Mariachis on the turntable. Stick on a fake moustache, wear a red shawl, carry a monkey on your shoulder and pretend you’re Frida – whatever gets you in the mood!

Trust me it’ll be worth it! The pulled pork is incredible (you can have it on bread rolls, on rice with salad, in burritos, chimichangas, almost any which way your heart desires actually) and if you’ve never eaten home-made corn tortillas your life is about to change. They’re easy once you get into the rhythm.


You’ll need…

1.5 kg pork shoulder (on the bone for extra flavour)

3 brown onions, diced

3 garlic cloves, smashed

1 tbsp brown sugar

3 tbsps malt vinegar

1 carrot, diced

1 small can chipotle chillies in adobo sauce (brands to look for in your deli La Costena, La Morena, Goya, Herdez, Embasa) blended until smooth

3 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 tsp cumin

3 litres water

Prepare the Pork…

First, cut off the fat and rind from the pork. Set aside for use another day.

Fry the onions, garlic and carrot for a few minutes, then add all other ingredients to the pot. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a very low simmer and cook for around 3-4 hours (or around 90 minutes in a pressure cooker). You’ll know it’s done when the meat is falling off the bones very easily, or the meat shreds with a fork effortlessly.

The stock will be spicy, sweet and aromatic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remove the pork from the stock and set aside to cool. Once cooled, pull apart with your fingers being sure to remove and discard any gristle, cartilage or veins as these are unpleasant to eat. Your meat is now ready to use.

Melt in your mouth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you want to refrigerate it until later on, simply reheat it in a fry pan with a little of the reduced stock. I like to add some kidney beans too.

Meanwhile, strain the stock and return it to the pan. Bring to a rapid boil and reduce by two thirds. Once cooled place this liquid in a bottle or container and refrigerate. Once cold, you can scoop the fat off the top (if you must).

By bottling the stock you can use it next time you make pulled pork – just top up with water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A little bit of the master stock also gives ‘Chilli con Carne’ a great flavour boost! Remember to shake the bottle first.

For the Tortillas (about 8-10), you’ll need…

1 1/4 cups masa harina (cornmeal flour – not the same as cornflour  – it’s flour made from specially treated corn and you can get from some health food stores and delis)

1/4 cup SR flour

about 1 cup water and 1 tbsp vegetable oil

few pinches salt

Prepare the dough…

Simply mix all ingredients in a bowl until you have a smooth ball – the dough should not be crumbly or sticky. Break off a chunk of dough and roll between the palms to form balls about the size of a ping pong ball, with a smooth surface, no cracks.

I have broken off a few chunks so you can see the smooth surface and the texture of the dough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Place the little ball between two sheets of greaseproof paper or in a plastic freezer bag and roll with a rolling pin to about the size of a c.d. Or, if you have one, use a tortilla press!

A press like this one makes light work of fresh tortillas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can only roll and cook one at a time because they will easily stick to any surface you put them on (especially each other – so don’t try to stack them). You’ll get a rhythm going where you can roll and cook simultaneously or better still, get an assistant!

Heat a small fry pan over medium-high heat and spray with a tiny bit of oil and gently place the tortilla in a pan. The easiest way to do this is to place your whole hand, fingers spread over the tortilla while it is still stuck to the paper or plastic. Gently peel it off and then quickly turn your hand over above the pan.

Cook the tortilla until small bubbles start to puff up or the edges look dry, then turn it. Use your fingers, be quick, slide it up the edge of the pan and flip it! When the tortilla starts to puff again (after about a minute), pull it out and keep warm in a pocket made of foil. Like this one…

They will stay warm in here for a while, or you can keep the packet in a very low oven. It will be hard not to eat them as you go – hold strong.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Serve…

Any of these things are nice, but there are no rules – taste the meat and see for yourself – I think something fresh and crunchy is best.

Fresh radishes, sliced thinly

Red onion slices

Fresh lime wedges (I can’t enjoy one without a squeeze of lime)

Fresh coriander

Fresh salsa

Cucumber slices

cooked silver-beet or kale

sour cream

avocado

tomatoes