Saturday, 21 January 2017

Chia Waffles with Smashed Avocado, Grilled Corn and Fried Eggs

Weekends were made for waffles, yes?

Chia Waffles with Smashed Avocado, Grilled Corn and Fried Eggs
Makes 4

For the Waffles:
1½ cups plain flour
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 egg
1½ cups buttermilk

To Serve:
2 avocados
2 ears of corn, grilled until slightly charred in places
4 fried eggs with runny yolks
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground back pepper
Chopped coriander leaves
Lime juice fot the avocados and some wedges to serve
Hot Sauce

Make the Waffles:
Preheat your waffle iron.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, ground flaxseed, chia seeds, poppy seeds
baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and buttermilk together.

Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix until just combined.

Scoop ¼ cup portions into the waffle iron.  Cook until golden brown and crisp.  Continue until all the batter is used.  You should get 4 generous waffles.

To Serve:
Put one waffle on four serving plates.

Take the flesh out of the avocados, mash them in a bowl with a squeeze of lime juice and some salt. Divide smashed avo and pile onto the waffles.

Cut the kernels of the cobs of corn and divide them among the plates.

Top each loaded waffle with a fried egg, season with salt and pepper and scatter with coriander leaves. Spritz with lime juice and sprinkle with hot sauce.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Roasted Cauliflower and Israeli Couscous Salad

Whenever I'm invited to a friends house for dinner, I always ask if I can contribute something.  Most of the time the answer is dessert, but once in a while I'm asked to bring a salad.  I have been known to pack all the individual components of a salad into an esky and assemble it on the spot. But sometimes you just want to "set and forget" while you drink Champagne and catch up.  This is that kind of salad. It can be made a head of time, gets better with a little but of time and travels well.  It totally deserves to be taken out to a party.

Roasted Cauliflower and Israeli Couscous Salad
slightly adapted from here
Serves 4

For the Salad:
Olive oil
150g Israeli couscous
1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tablespoons za'atar
100g toasted natural almonds
50g golden sultanas

For the Dressing:
50ml olive oil
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
Squeeze of lemon juice
Sea salt flakes, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Make the Salad:
Preheat the oven to 200C.  Line a baking tray with baking paper.  Set aside.

Put the cauliflower florets into a bowl, add the za'atar and sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon olive oil. Toss to coat.  Tip the cauliflower onto the prepared baking tray and roast for about 20 minutes, or until starting to brown at the edges.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the couscous and stir for about 2 minutes to toast slightly.  Add 500ml water and a pinch of salt, bring to the boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 8 - 10 minutes, until tender. Drain and tip into a bowl.  Set aside.

Make the Dressing:
Put the dressing ingredients into a bowl and whisk to combine.

Throw the roasted cauliflower in the bowl with the couscous.  Add the almonds and sultanas. and toss.  Pour in the dressing and toss to coat everything well.  Tip the lot onto a large serving platter.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Flourless Chocolate Cassis Cake - Gluten Free

I'm not much of a drinker, but you'd never know it if you looked in my booze cabinet.  I love collecting handsome bottles of spirits and pretty bottles of liqueurs. I'd seriously give the local Dan Murphy's store a run for it's money as far as variety of exotic brews from far flung places goes.  But mostly I just admire them or throw a few slugs into a cake...  I'm no mixologist.

Flourless Chocolate Cassis Cake - Gluten Free
slightly adapted from here

For the Cake:
170g unsalted butter
280g dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup good quality cocoa powder
6 tablespoons Creme de Cassis liqueur
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

For the Glaze:
170g dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup thickened cream
2  - 3 tablespoons Creme de Cassis liqueur
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 180C.  Spray a 23cm springform pan with cooking oil spray and line the base with baking paper.  Spray the paper with more cooking oil. Set aside.

Put the chocolate and butter into a heatproof bowl and put the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water.  Don't let the bowl touch the water.  Stir until melted and set aside to cool slightly.  Whisk in the cocoa powder, Cassis and vanilla and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar and salt in high speed for about 5 minutes, until pale and fluffy.  Carefully fold  the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture using a rubber spatula.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 - 40 minutes, or until just barely set in the centre.  Cool in the pan for 30 minutes before releasing the sides.  Invert the cake onto a plate, remove the baking paper from the bottom and quickly flip it back over onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the Ganache:
Put the chocolate and cream into a heatproof bowl and put the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water.  Don't let the bowl touch the water.  Stir until melted.  Remove from heat, whisk in the Cassis and vanilla and allow to cool for 10 minutes before spreading over the top of the cake.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Vegan Wholemeal Pancakes with Plum Compote

School holidays are the perfect time to indulge in lazy, late breakfasts.  It's when you can stay up late and watch the episodes of Sons of Anarchy you missed due to school nights.  You can sleep in a little longer because there's no school bus to catch.  You can hangout at home for hours without the need to get to appointments.  You can take your time over morning coffee without chugging forgotten cups of lukewarm lattes as you rush out the door.  If there was ever a time to throw together a batch of pancakes for breakfast, now's that time.  Not that I'm using the kids being home as an excuse to watch copious amounts of TV, go to bed late, get up late, sit around the house for hours in my PJ's drinking coffee and eating pancakes... or anything like that.

Vegan Wholemeal Pancakes with Plum Compote
slightly adapted from here
Makes 6 pancakes

For the Compote:
3 plums, deseeded and halved or quartered
½ cup maple syrup
1 star anise

For the Pancakes:
1 tablespoon flaxseed meal mixed with 2½ tablespoon water (makes 1 flax egg)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
Pinch sea salt
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
¼ cup wholemeal flour (I use Atta flour)
3/4 cup spelt flour
2 tablespoons oat bran
Vegan butter for serving

Make the Compote:
Put the plums, maple syrup and star anise into a small saucepan.  Bring to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat and cook until the plums soften and start to release their juices.  Set aside and keep warm.

Make the Pancakes:
Put the flax egg, olive oil, maple syrup, baking soda, baking powder, salt in a mixing bowl and whisk to mix.  Add the almond milk and whisk again.

Add both flours and the oat bran and mix until just combined.  Leave the batter to rest for 10 minutes.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat and lightly spray it with cooking oil spray and pour ¼ cup of the batter into the pan.  It's read to turn when small bubbles appear on the surface.  Cook for 2 or 3 minutes on the other side and remove to a warm plate.  Continue with the rest of the batter until you have 6 light and fluffy pancakes. Serve with vegan butter and plum compote.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Macarons with Vanilla and White Chocolate Ganache

When you need a wee bit of elegance in your life, you pull out the macarons... even if you're wearing yoga pants.

Macarons with Vanilla and White Chocolate Ganache
Makes about 24

For the Macarons:
110g ground almonds
200g icing sugar
Pinch of fine sea salt
100g egg whites (about 3 egg whites)
35g caster sugar

For the Ganache:
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
200g good quality white chocolate, fine chopped
100ml cream

Make the Macarons:
Trace 3.5 cm circles onto two sheets of baking paper. I use this template. Turn the baking paper over so that the ink is on the back and line 2 large baking sheets with the baking paper. Set aside.

Put the ground almonds, icing sugar and salt into a food processor and blitz to mix. Sift into a large mixing bowl. Set aside

Put the egg whites and caster sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium for about 5 minutes, then on high for another 5 minutes. You will have a stiff meringue.

Add the almond mixture to the meringue and begin to mash and smear them against the sides of the bowl. You don't have to be careful here, the point is to deflate the egg whites. After about 40 folds, you should have a mixture that is the consistency of molten lava - slow flowing. Start checking your mixture at 30 folds and go easy from there. If you over mix, you will have a batter that is runny. If you under mix, you will have a batter that is too stiff. Both with be difficult to pipe. You are looking for a batter that, when dropped from a spoon, back into the batter, it disappears back into the rest of the batter in about 20 seconds.

Spoon the batter into a large disposable piping bag and snip a 5mm hole in the tip. Pipe the mixture onto the baking paper, using the circles as a guide. Pipe until the circles are almost full as the mixture will spread a little on sitting.

Preheat the oven to 140C.

Rap the baking sheet against the counter a couple of times. This will get rid of any air bubbles. Leave them uncovered and at room temperature for 30 minutes. This will allow the macarons to form a skin on the surface. They should feel dry when very carefully touched.

Bake, one tray at a time for about 20 minutes, or until you are able to easily peel the macaron from the baking paper. Leave to cool completely on the baking sheets for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the Ganache:
Put the chopped chocolate into a heatproof bowl and set aside.

Put the cream and vanilla seeds along with the pod into a small saucepan and heat to almost boiling.  Fish the vanilla pod out and discard.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until melted.  Set aside to cool to room temperature, by which time it should be the perfect piping consistency.

Pair the macaron shells up so that you have shells of similar size.  Pipe a generous about of the ganache on to half of the shells and top with the other half, sandwiching the filling between and gently pressing them together to squash the ganache out to the edges.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Peanut Crunch Slice

If you ever need a quick and easy treat, this is the treat for you.  Get the recipe for this Peanut Crunch Slice over at Bakelife.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Chocolate Chiffon Tart

You know you're destined to make a certain chocolate chiffon tart, when the recipe and images keep popping up on your feed and your friends keep tagging you in on it.

Chocolate Chiffon Tart
barely adapted from here

For the Pastry:
125g unsalted butter, plus extra for buttering
80g caster sugar
150g plain flour, sifted
50g cocoa powder, sifted

For the Filling:
3 gelatin leaves (mine were Gold and the filling held like a charm)
120 dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped
80ml strong espresso coffee
3 eggs
80g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pretty edible flowers for decoration, optional

Make the Pastry:
Lightly butter a 23cm loose-bottomed fluted tart pan.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes until pale.  Stop the mixer and add the flour and cocoa. Turn the mixer onto low speed and mix until it resembles damp sand.

Dump the mixture into the prepared pan and press it evenly into the base and sides, making it as thin as you can.  Place in the refrigerator to chill for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 190C.

Bake the pastry shell for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven.. If the pastry has slipped down the sides during baking, gently press it back up with your fingers. Leave to cool on a wire rack in the pan, until completely cool before filling.

Make the Filling:
Soak the gelatin leaves in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes.

Put the chocolate and coffee into a heatproof bowl and place the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water.  Don't let the bowl touch the water.  Stir until the chocolate has melted.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

Reserve 2 tablespoons of the boiling water and discard the rest.  Squeeze the gelatin leaves and put them in the hot pan with the boiling water.  Swirl to mix and the gelatin will dissolve completely. Pour the gelatin mixture into the melted chocolate and coffee.  Mix thoroughly.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip with egg yolks with 40g of the sugar and the vanilla until pale and thick.

Add the chocolate mixture and whisk until completely blended through.  

Refrigerate for 10 15 minutes, whisking once or twice, until the mixture starts to thicken.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip with egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 40g of sugar and beat until thick and glossy. There should be no graininess when you rub some of the mixture between your thumb and finger.

Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture until fully incorporated and pour it into the pastry shell.

Leave to set at room temperature (or in the refrigerator if your kitchen is hot). Strew with pretty edible flowers if you are luck enough to grow them in your garden or can get your hands on them at the market.