Archive for the ‘Flavour of the month’ Category

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Kuchen

July 16, 2010


I made this recipe from Nigella Bites before we went on our 6 week holiday. So it’s been waiting awhile to be posted, and sat here in my house watching soppy chick flicks, processing photos for the things I’ve done recently I thought I should probably work on some of the older stuff!
The original recipe was for Blackberry and Apple, but cooking for the Clan meant that I had to be mindful of tastes. And, blackberries do not comply with tastes. Now I have reached a point were I can be happy to put up a dessert that meats most people’s tastes instead of trying to comply with everyone’s. However in the case of Blackberries, we’d be split down the middle, half and half. So instead….I went with Pear. I had pears I needed to use before we went away and well, apple goes with pear yea?
I loved this! I think apple and pear go together, and well anything with apple is going to work for me. In terms of form, it wasn’t quite perfect. I will have to do it over again now that I’ve been reminded of its tasty goodness!

Apple and Pear Kuchen

for the cake base

400g strong white flour
½ t salt
50g caster sugar
3g yeast
2 eggs
½ t vanilla extract
Grated zest of half a lemon
¼ t ground cinnamon
125ml lukewarm milk
50g butter, softened

For the topping

1 egg beaten with a T of cream and a pinch of cinnamon
550g of stewed pear and apple
Zest of ½ lemon
50g SR flour
25g ground almonds
¼ t ground cinnamon
50g cold butter, diced
2T caster sugar
2 Demerara sugar (or dark sugar)
25g flaked or ground almonds

Put 400g of flour in a bowl with the salt, sugar and yeast. In another bowl, beat the eggs and add them, with the vanilla extract, lemon zest and cinnamon, to the lukewarm milk. Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients to make medium soft dough, being prepared to add more flour as necessary. Work in the soft butter and knead by hand for about 10 minutes or half that time by machine. When the dough is ready it will appear smoother and springier. Cover with a tea towel and leave till doubled in size (an hour to an hour and a half – or overnight) then punch down and press to line a tin 30x20cm. When its pressed out, leave it to prove for 15-20minutes then brush with egg and cream mixture.
Preheat the oven to 200C. Mix the apple & pear with the zest. Set aside for a few minutes and make the crumble top. Put the flour, almonds and cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl, stir to combine, then add the cold, diced butter. Using tips of fingers, rub it into the flour. Stop when you have a mixture that resembles porridge oats. Fork in the sugars and extra almonds.
Tumble the fruit over the dough and sprinkle with crumble. Put in the oven for about 15 minutes then turn to 180C and cook for another 20 minutes or so until the dough is swelling and golden and crumble is set. Remove from the oven, wait five minutes, then cut it into slabs.

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Orange Breakfast Muffins

February 10, 2010


So after a horrendous day at work today, I headed straight to the kitchen instead of to the gym like I originally planned. Perhaps the endorphins would have been better then a muffin but I couldn’t face it.

So I opened up my Flavour of the Month Nigella Bites and made these. I adapted them a little bit and added some frozen cranberries simply because I love them.

Orange Cranberry Breakfast Muffins


6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 2/3 cups self-rising flour
2 tablespoons ground almonds
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup sugar
1T pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk
1/2 cup frozen cranberry
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Melt the butter and set aside. Combine the flour, ground almonds, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and orange zest in a large bowl. Measure the orange juice and milk into a pitcher and whisk in the egg and then the cooled, melted butter. Now pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing with a fork as you go. The batter will be lumpy but that’s as it should be: you want everything to be no more than barely combined. The whole point of muffin mixture is that it must never be overworked.

Spoon out the mixture equally into the muffin cups and cook for 20 minutes. Remove, in their paper baking cups, to a wire rack and let cool slightly (but not completely) before devouring.

And, I did devour them, I must admit. I had 2 in quick succession, how terrible is that? The gym really would’ve been better!

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a bit of a disappointment

February 7, 2010


I had been eyeing off this recipe for awhile. You know when you see something and you think, this should potentially be really easy to put together and taste great BUT getting the key ingredient is going to prove a challenge. Well that’s what I faced with this; I wondered wherever am I going to get my hot little hands on some chestnut puree? I hit google, I looked around, and I despaired. I figured there would have to be some place nearby that would have something right? Some gourmet food shop I had not thought of. But, I couldn’t think of it, and so the recipe got shelved. When I then discovered, or rather re-discovered this recipe in my flavour of the month book I knew that I had to pick up the hunt again.

This time I had more luck, I found a couple of places easily who all confirmed they had it. I just needed wait until I could make the special trip down to them to get it. All of them were of course at least a 30 minute car drive away from me. So, I figured I’d just leave it until I could tie it in with another trip. No worries – I now knew it was on the agenda, it was going to happen so that made me feel a lot happier.

Then a few days later, I was perusing my local supermarket just waiting my turn at the deli section to get some sliced meat. When I turned to the speciality section and low and behold there were MANY little tins of chestnut puree. I nearly fell over with surprise. Really? Here?!!?! Not one to question too much further I dived on a tin, put in my trolley straight away and then promptly headed home to begin, I had everything now!

So I made the chocolate-chestnut refrigerator cake, and I was disappointed. My Flavour of the Month recipe fromNigella Bites didn’t live up to what I had hoped. The flavour didn’t pack any punch for me. I was disappointed….

Chocolate-Chestnut refrigerator Cake


500g chestnut puree (sweetened)
175g soft, unsalted butter
300g dark chocolate
3T dark rum

Beat the puree in a bowl until it’s smooth and then add the butter, beating again to make it blend well.
Melt the chocolate and let it cool slightly, before adding it to the chestnut and butter in the bowl. Beat in the rum, and spoon the chocolate mix into a loaf tin lined with cling film.
wrap the overhanging film over the cake so it is completely covered and put in the fridge to set for at least 4 hours.
don’t take the tin out until you want to eat it when you just unmould the cake and cut into thin slices.
suggestion: serve with creme fraiche or sour cream

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Haloumi bake

January 24, 2010


This Flavour of the Month from Nigella Biteshappened simply because I needed some comfort type food. And, funnily enough Nigella even pops this recipe in her comfort food section!

I was flipping through and pondering what to back, when I re-read the description where she speaks of almost caramelised onions and garlic and the uncompromising plain saltiness of the haloumi and I had just had to make it. The day had started out wonderfully – the Husband and I woke up at around 3am, grabbed some coffee in our travel mugs and hopped into the car to drive 45 minutes to a nearby point so that the Husband could try out his new lens and take some photos. All in practice for our impending trip he tells me, apparently one must practice with a new lens to take perfect shots with them. As you can all probably tell from my photos, me – not an avid photographer! I have a ‘fancy’ G10 – so it’s a bit more upmarket then just a standard point and shoot. And, I don’t use it on full auto, I do use it Aperture Priority, and I do change the ISO and well…I just play until the photo looks ok. I have PE7 installed so I can do some processing, but I don’t get the same enjoyment out of it that the Husband does and he has much more equipment then I do (40D, flash, 2 tripods with 2 heads, 5 different lenses (wants more), filters etc) and has a full version of Photoshop that he will spend hours using to process. Anyway, I digress, anyway the day started out wonderfully…

However, on arrival at said point, I decided that my coffee would finally be cool enough for me to consume and I tipped to take a big gulp, only to have it dribble all down my front! I investigate and the seal on my Brugo is now dead…..gone and buried, so no coffee for me. The Husband has his with milk so he’d been slowly drinking his whilst driving so he could not share with me. We had a pleasant enough time there, he took lots of photos, I took lots – his much better than mine of course and then headed off for breakfast with some friends. Coffee attempted again, this time I thought I’d try a latte, ick…weak! oh no! Good company though, even though they’d forgotten we were coming and so we had a mad dash run around getting ready before we headed out to breakfast. Thankfully they have a little near 2 yo who had them up anyway so at least we did not wake them!

On our way home we stopped so the Husband could get some new batteries for his flash, I grabbed another latte (and some raisin toast…I only had yoghurt for breakfast!) and thankfully this time it was nice! And I grabbed my sunglasses which were finally ready after 2 weeks of driving around with a squint! However, at this point my knee was aching!!! And it was HOT and I was over it! I got home and it was nearly lunch time and I decided that I needed comforting. Ergo, this recipe!

I had to adapt it a little, the Husband doesn’t like sweet potato, and I wanted to have some leftovers, so there was a bit more potato then originally called for and I didn’t have any peppers and I wasn’t willing at this point to go and get them. So next time around, I will add a red and yellow pepper to add some depth of flavour, but it worked out well without them. It just didn’t have all the good-mood colours Nigella spoke of. And I probably made the cheese a little more golden then some like, but it is as always a matter of personal preference.

Potato and Haloumi Bake


5 Desiree potatoes
1 onion
½ head of garlic
4T olive oil
Black pepper
125g Haloumi, sliced thin

Preheat the oven to 200C
Cut the potato up. Halve the onion, and then cut into 4-6 segments. Separate the cloves of garlic. Put everything into a large roasting tin and using your hands give potato and onion with olive oil. Season with black pepper. Cook for 45 minutes until the vegetables are cooked through. Then place the cheese on the top and grill until the cheese is melted, serve.

Original recipe calls for 1 each red and yellow pepper deseeded, and 1 large sweet potato and 1 large Desiree – so try those if you like.

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Peaches & Blueberries

January 20, 2010


It was family dinner night last night, and due to a number of reasons I chose a very simple dessert for my offering.

As mentioned on numerous other occasions, my knee injury does limit me. I’m improving slowly and I’m getting to be able to spend more time in the kitchen again (thank goodness) so I’m on my way. But, also considering that I have less than 1 calendar month until I go on a 6 week holiday I was not and am not keen on creating baked goods that are likely to leave leftovers behind which I will end up needing to freeze and divvy out slowly over a period of time. Because, let’s face it, I don’t have the time! I could leave it in the freezer whilst I’m away but 6 weeks is a long time, and my grandmother will be house sitting and she has a lot of things that need freezing. So, I did not want to stock up my freezer with things she can’t eat and that my grandfather shouldn’t! And finally, because we’d had a family Christmas on the weekend due to my BIL, SIL and Little E being back from the UK, I’d forgotten that it was Tuesday, I felt actually like it was the end of the week! I was thrown!

So, in light of these things I went with Nigella’s Peaches and Blueberries! Which she actually calls a “suggestion” not a recipe, I guess it is really. Because one doesn’t do more than slice up some peaches, sprinkle them with simple blueberries and add a few drops of orange flower water. There is a suggestion to sprinkle these with Demerara sugar and cook for 20 or so minutes in the oven but that seemed unnecessary in light of the Brisbane weather.

I did add some sliced mango to the side of the dish (not photographed) to cater to my BIL who’s been missing out on mango’s whilst away, and because apparently we’re in a “glut” (despite the fact that this is not really reflected in mango pricing…at least not in any of my local fruit stores!) and he doesn’t really get them at home, as my SIL does not enjoy mangoes. Having said that, Little E tried a mango for the first time and said “yum” and asked for more, which she couldn’t eat because she got full but still, maybe that means mango will feature more at their house in the future?

Also, I halved the recipe.

Peaches & Blueberries


3 Peaches, sliced
2 punnets blueberries
1 t orangeflower water

Flavour of the Month Nigella Bites

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Cornbread (on-the-cob)

January 13, 2010


So i thought I’d start a little early with my Flavour of the Month I was not going to start until next week, but I needed to do something for dinner that was really easy but not just meat and vegies. That is boring!!!! This recipe seemed perfect for it because you threw it in bowl, mixed it together and you’re good.

So from there I pounced on Nigella Bites simply because it was one of the cookbooks I got over Christmas/Birthday/Anniversary Celebrations. And it was the one I thought most appropriate. The others were very much bread/carb focused which in small amounts if fine, but after over indulgence during the above celebrations I really could not have those things with a 6 week holiday where Ill end up eating whatever I am sure.

So anyway, Nigella suggests these with stews, black bean soup, fried eggs and bacon or just for breakfast. I served them on this occasion for the Husband with sweet and sour pork.

Cornbread (on-the-cob)


175g cornmeal (or polenta)
125g plain flour
45g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
1T baking bowder
250ml milk
1 egg
3T olive oil
Preheat the oven to 200C
Grease the moulds – if no corn on the cob moulds, grease a square tin, or a bun muffin tin.
Mix the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. In a measuring jug beat together the milk, egg and oil. Then pour the wet into the dry stirring until just combined. Pour into the moulds and cook for about 20/25 minutes. When ready the cornbread should be just pulling away from the sides.

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Reindeer Shortbread (and Speculaas)

December 24, 2009


This no movement (and ergo no baking business) is really not cutting it. Especially not this close to Christmas, not when I’ve been planning on making cookie goodness for giveaways this week for the last few months. I like to do it last minute, as close to Christmas as I can. And alas….I can’t. However, I can post about two lots of biscuits I made earlier in December before injury for a work Christmas function we had to bring something too.

Of course, seeing as this month’s Flavour of the Month is Essential Christmas Cookbook the biscuits are from there.

I love Christmas, as I may have mentioned. I have been lucky enough to be blessed with a white Christmas in 2004 (in Scotland) but I’ve always wanted to experience Christmas in mainland Europe. One day I will, along with Hogmanay in Scotland!

What attracted me to these two recipes though were that desire and that memory. The reindeer is care of SIL for my birthday!

To quote the book: in Germany, preparations for Christmas start weeks before the day. Things such as advent wreaths, candles and calendars put everyone in the mood. The enduring tradition of the Christmas tree began in the 16th century but is said to have been popularised much later by the Germans, to whom it symbolised eternal life. In the 19th century they decorated their trees with fruits and biscuits which couldn’t be eaten until after the Twelfth Night when the tree was taken down.

Speculaas (German/Dutch) – a biscuit from the Rhine area in Germany and neighbouring Holland.
405g plain flour
1t ground cinnamon
¼ t ground nutmeg
¼ t ground cloves
¼ t ground cardamom
160g softened butter
310g brown sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
45g ground almonds

Preheat oven to 200C Cover baking trays with paper.
Sift flour, spices together in a bowl.
Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Beat in the egg mixing well and then the milk. Fold in the almonds then the sifted flour mix. Wrap in plastic and place in fridge for at least 45minutes.
Take from fridge and roll out into 4mm thick – can cut into shapes if you want or bake directly on the baking tray. Bake in the oven for approximately 12 minutes (mine take closer to 10 due to my oven!)
Cool the biscuits on wire racks. When cold, store in airtight container.

Scottish Shortbread
250g butter, softened
160g caster sugar
210g plain flour
90g rice flour
Preheat the oven to 160C and line a tray with baking paper
Beat the sugar and butter until light and creamy. Transfer to a large bowl and add the flours. Mix to a soft dough with a flad-bladed knife. Lift onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 30 seconds, or until smooth. Transfer to the tray (the recipe suggested a pizza tray so you can flute and cut into segments….which would be more traditional but I didn’t) Bake in middle shelf for approximately 35minutes or until firm and lightly golden, cool on the tray.