Friday, 23 December 2011

Sweet Goodies

This week it is all about treats! Yes Christmas is only 2 days away and there is so much to do before then........that has been put on hold for a good reason, I have been helping a friend who has amazing good will and participates in a lot of charity functions. This was a fund raiser for a sick little boy Oscar, he has cancer and this event was not only to help him but to bring awareness. 

I have offered to bake some lovely treats for a cake store, kind of like the stores you have at fates. My kitchen was in full work mode, I had stuff everywhere.......even my husband got involved and was in charged of slicing the coconut ice and tying the toffee apples.

It was such a fantastic feeling, to actually bake for a cause. They had a great turn out and everything went super!

Polka Dot Cookies
250g butter,softened
3/4 cups caster sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
2 1/4 cups plain flour, sifted

Preheat oven to 180º
Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until pale and creamy
Add vanilla and egg yolk and beat until well combined
Add flour and beat until a smooth dough forms
Roll 1 tablespoon of the dough one at a time into balls place on baking trays lined with baking paper
flatten slightly allowing room to spread
Press smarties into each cookie
Back for 10-15 minutes 
Cool on wire racks.

Toffee Apples
8 wooden sticks
8 small red apples
1 3/4 cups of white sugar
3/4 cup of water
red food colouring

Insert wooden stick into the centre of each apple
Place sugar and water a large saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved
Increase the heat to high and boil, without stirring, for 8-10 minutes or until the syrup is golden
Add a few drops of food colouring to the mixture and stir until combined
Dip the apples into the toffee syrup, one at a time
Place on a tray lined with baking paper
Set aside for 5 minutes or until set
Wrap in thick plastic and store in a dark place for up to 2 days
Do not refrigerate.

Coconut Ice
8 cups of icing sugar
6 cups of desiccated coconut
625ml of condensed milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
pink food colouring

Place the sugar, coconut, condensed milk and vanilla in a large bowl and mix well to combine
Knead gently or place into the mixer using a dough hook attachment
Divide mixture into two portions
Press potion 1 onto a lightly greased 20cm x 30cm tin lined with baking paper
Knead a few drops of food colouring in remaining mixture until pink
Place on top of 1st portion and gently press into the tin
Cover and refrigerate over night to set
Cut into squares to serve.

Raspberry and White Chocolate Muffins
2 cups of plain flour sifted
1 tablespoon of baking powder, sifted
1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup of milk
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 cups frozen raspberries
1 cup of roughly chopped white chocolate
icing sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 180º 
Place flour, baking powder, sugar, eggs, oil, milk and vanilla in a large bowl and stir until combined
Fold through the raspberries and chocolate
Spoon mixture into a 12 x 1/2 cup-capacity muffin tin lined with cupcake wrappers
Cook for 20-25min or until cooked
Cool on a wire rack, dust with icing sugar.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Raspberry Teacakes

It's time to get organised and write my Christmas cards......woops!

It's time to organise my Tupperware draw!

It's time to wrap my last few Christmas presents!

It's time to do Words With Friends!

It's time to watch The Bold and the Beautiful!

It's time to paint my nails!

It's time to cook dinner!

It's time to take a break, sit down and relax!

It' time to make a cup of tea!

Raspberry Teacakes
65g butter, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 egg 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup of self raising flour
1/3 cup of milk
1/3 cup of raspberry jam
Dollop cream
Fresh raspberries
Raspberry compote 
Icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°/160° fan forced
Grease and flour 10 holes of a 12 hole cupcake pan. Line the bottom with baking paper
Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, egg and vanilla for 2 minutes or until combined
Stir in flour, then half the milk.Repeat with remaining flour and milk
Spoon into prepared tin and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and firm to touch
Stand cakes in pan for 5 minutes 
Transfer to a wire rack to cool
Using a small knife, cut a 1cm-deep circle from the top of each cake
Spoon jam in holes and a a good dollop of cream.Place the cake circle on top 
Sift icing sugar on top, decorate the plate with raspberry compote and fresh raspberries.

It's time to eat!!!!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Coriander Spiced Chicken Mince Wontons

I must say the weather here at the moment is so erratic, one minute it is boiling hot, next it is dark gloomy and cool, defiantly not like typical Brisbane weather.

Being a gloomy day I am taking the opportunity to wrap all the Christmas presents...... eek! I am hopeless at wrapping presents, mine are always so messy. My Mum is helping me today, she has worked in cosmetics all her working life and is a pro at wrapping gifts, as you can imagine.

Not sure on my theme as yet I am tossing up wether to do navy & silver or go more crafty and use brown paper with colourful ribbons.......any thoughts?

Now this is a different type of present, one that is edible and results in you wanting more.......wontons! They are a bundle of bursting flavours with lots of chewy yummy bits!!

Coriander Spiced Chicken Mince Wontons
100g water chestnuts, finely chopped
4 green shallots
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 coriander roots, cleaned
1/2 cup coriander leaves 500g chicken mince
1 tablespoon of fish sauce or soya sauce
ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 packet of wonton or gee gee wrappers
Extra coriander leaves for garnish

Process shallots, garlic, coriander roots and coriander in food processor until finely chopped
Add mince, fish sauce, pepper and sugar and process until combined
Transfer to bowl and mix in water chestnuts
Place a walnut size round of mixture in centre of each wonton wrapper
Bring pastry together and pinch using wet hands
Place dumpling in a large steamer basket, cover and steam on high for 10-15min
Serve with soya and lime sauce.

You can use any mince meat for this dish.

Serve on platter toped with garnish.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Cinnamon & Cracked Black Pepper Parfait

I know what your thinking cracked pepper in parfait....yuk!
Hear me out!

I have finally finished all my Christmas shopping which is a massive relief. I had good intensions of not buying anything for myself but that didn't quite work to plan!
Most of my purchases were over the internet, where it is so easy to get carried away specially when it is just a click of the finger.

Let me just say how addictive is Etsy! I love this site. I got totally carried away with all the amazing milk glass, cushion covers and blue and white porcelain.....which is for my Mum.....really!

Living in Brisbane you are almost guarantied a steamy hot Christmas day. So there is nothing better than having a cold desert. The cinnamon and cracked pepper in this parfait really compliment each other. It sounds so wrong but tastes so right. 

Cinnamon & Cracked Black Pepper Parfait
3 egg yolks 
3/4 cups of icing sugar
1 1/2 cups of cream lightly whipped{soft peaks}
2 egg whites
6 teaspoons of caster sugar
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
2 teaspoons of cracked black pepper

Whisk egg yolks & icing sugar in a large bowl over a bain-marie until thick and creamy sabayon has been achieved
Fold through the lightly whipped cream
Whisk the egg whitest a soft foam and while still mixing slowly
add sugar until all is dissolved
Fold egg whites through the mixture of egg yolk and cream and finally add the cinnamon and cracked black pepper
Pour mixture into a a log-shaped mould or deep tray cover and freeze for 6 hours, or overnight
Cut into slices and serve immediately with biscotti and a berry compote. 

Happy Friday! 

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Salad of Char Grilled Zhoug Paste Marinated Prawns with Citrus Salad

I must confess I am not the biggest fan of exercise.....I hate the feeling of being sweaty and puffed, but I know what you are thinking it is good for you right? Well I do love my Pilates, my teacher is great and I get to catch up with my girlfriend Leia for coffee after....and no we don't have cake! 

Today I am really sore, Nat our teacher gave us lots and lots and did I say lots of ab work.....I am so going to feel it tomorrow.

So to keep up the good work I have done this morning, I have decided to make a prawn salad,  not an ordinary prawn salad but a asian version. This is one of the few things I made at my recent trip to James St Cooking School, which was amazing by the way! 

This version is light and zesty with a kick of chilli. 

Salad Ingredients
1kg of green prawn cutlets
8 red shallots, finely sliced
3 tablespoons of ginger, julienne
Half a cup of coriander leaves
250g baby spinach leaves for the base
1 vine ripened tomato cut into eight's.

3 tablespoons of palm sugar, grated
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons of citrus juice{lemon, lime}
1 red chilli, deseeded & finely chopped.

Create Zhoug paste using recipe below
Marinate the prawns for half an hour in Zhoug paste
Char grill the prawns on high for 3 minutes
Set aside to cool
To make the dressing, dissolve palm sugar in fish sauce and combine with remaining ingredients
Combine all salad ingredients including the marinated cooked prawns in a bowl, toss with dressing & serve on baby spinach base on a serving platter.

Zhoug Paste
3 Red chillies
1 bunch of chopped coriander leaves
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
If using whole spices, first dry fry until fragrant 
Grind all spinces to a powder in a Mortar & Pestle
Using the Mortar & Pestle to pound the chilli and garlic. Then add the parsley, coriander, salt, pepper, cumin and cardamon. blend until combined.

You can also place the paste into a clean jar and cover with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Paste will keep in the fridge for several months. You can use the base for dips, marinate for lamb, fish or squid or as a relish for cold meats.