Thursday, 29 January 2015

Warm Chocolate Cakes with Salted Caramel Ice Cream

When you make a batch of Salted Caramel Ice Cream, you have to make something to eat with it. That's a rule, right?

Warm Chocolate Cakes with Salted Caramel Ice Cream
adapted from here
Makes 10

150g dark chocolate, chopped
60g unsalted butter, softened
2 whole eggs, plus 3 egg yolks
90g golden caster sugar
40g cacao powder
40g plain flour
Cocoa powder for dusting

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Preheat the oven to 180C. Spray a cupcake pan with cooking oil spray. I used a fancy rose shaped pan, but you can use a standard cupcake pan. Set aside.

Put the chopped chocolate and butter into a heat-proof bowl and place it on top of a pan of simmering water. Don't let the bowl touch the water. Stir until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Whisk the whole eggs, egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment for about 5 minutes on medium-high speed until thick and pale. Stir in the chocolate mixture. Sift the flour and cacao powder and fold gently with a spatula.

Divide the batter evenly among 10 of the cups and bake for 14 - 16 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre of a cupcake comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it. Cool slightly, then turn them out onto serving plates. Dust with cocoa powder and serve with a scoop of Salted Caramel Ice Cream.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

My boys were telling me how much they love my ice cream the other day. Today I found myself in the kitchen making ice cream. They have me well trained.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream
slightly adapted from here
makes 1 litre

1 1/2 cups low fat milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornflour
45g cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 cup cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2/3 cups caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Put 2 tablespoons of the milk and the cornflour into a small bowl and mix to make a smooth slurry. Set aside.

Whisk the cream cheese and the salt together in a medium bowl until smooth. Set aside.

Mix the cream with the corn syrup in a mixing bowl. Set aside.

Put the sugar into a large heavy-based saucepan and place it over a medium heat. Heat the sugar until it starts to melt and become a golden amber at the edges. Use a spatula to gently mixing the unmelted sugar into the melted sugar and keep cooking until the mixture turns into a deep golden. Remove from the heat and slowly add the cream mixture bit by bit, stirring constantly. It will spit and fizz up. 

Once all the cream has been added, return the pan to the heat and increase the temperature to medium-high. Add the milk and bring to a boil. Boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornflour slurry.

Put the pan back on the heat and cook for another minute or so until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat. Pour this hot mixture into the cream cheese mixture and whisk until smooth. Add the vanilla and whisk until combined. 

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, making the plastic wrap lays directly on top of the mixture. This will prevent a skin from forming. Leave to cool a little, then place the bowl in the refrigerator to get completely cold.

Pour the cold mixture into your ice cream machine and churn according the manufacturer's instruction. Eat it soft straight from the machine or store it in a freezer-safe container in the freezer for 4 hours to firm up.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Chocolate Chocolate Cake

The kids were watching Funniest Home Videos with their Dad. They ran footage of a boy fooling around on his skateboard and showing off. The boy inevitably lost control and had a nasty fall at the end of it.

Husband says to children:

"These are the kinds of things that can put you in hospital if you make bad choices."

Youngest son:

"I knew we'd get a life lesson if we watched Funniest Home Videos with you Dad."

Each life lesson should come with cake.

Chocolate Chocolate Cake
slightly adapted from here

140g "00" flour (or plain flour), plus 1 tablespoon of flour for coating the chocolate chips
30g cacao powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
125ml strong brewed coffee, cooled
125ml buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
130g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped and melted
140g unsalted butter, softened
225g golden caster sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
170g dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a 23 cm x 13 cm loaf pan and line it with baking paper. Set aside.

Sift 140g of the flour, cacao powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a mixing bowl and set aside.

Put the coffee, buttermilk and vanilla into a separate bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed for 2 minutes, or until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stop the mixer, add the flour mixture and mix at low speed until just incorporated. Don't over work the batter. Keep the mixer on low speed and add the coffee mixture. Mix until just incorporated. Stop the mixer.

Put the chocolate chips into a small bowl and add the remaining tablespoon of flour to the chocolate chips and mix. This will prevent them from falling to the bottom of the cake when cooked. Tip them into the batter and fold them in with a spatula.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan.

Once completely cooled, Turn the cake out onto a plate, then flip it onto a serving platter so that it's right side up. Slice and serve.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Homemade Wagon Wheels - For Australia Day!

Eating Wagon Wheels takes me back to my Aussie childhood. My brothers and sisters and I would take our pocket money to the local Milk Bar after school to get our weekly treat. My oldest brother Mark would always, always get a Peters Choc Wedge. Understated, classic with loads of charm - a lot like him really. My big brother Geoff would get a packet of chips and a bottle of Portello. The chips had to be Smith's Crinkle Cut Chips. He was never much of a sweet tooth, but he was very particular about his chips. Actually, he was very particular about a lot of things, and nothing has changed over the years and I love him for it. My little sister Susie would chose Pop Rocks or Wizz Fizz  and an Egg Flip Big M. She's always been a bit of a thrill seeker. And my baby sister Liza would get a bag of mixed lollies. A big white paper bag with an assortment of Milk Bottles, Musk Sticks, Candy Teeth, Gummy Bears, Snakes, Jelly Babies and Mates. She's still a free spirit. I'm the middle child. My treat of choice would inevitably be a Wagon Wheel and a Lime Spider. I'm not sure what that says about me.

Happy Australia Day!

Homemade Wagon Wheels
Makes 3 big wheels

For the Cookies:
150g plain flour
50g icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the Filling:
White marshmallows, cut in half
3 tablespoons raspberry jam

For the Coating:
200g dark chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon sunflower oil

Make the Cookies:
Line a large baking sheet with baking paper and set aside. Preheat the oven to 160C.

Sift the flour, sugar and salt into a mixing bowl. Set aside.

Put the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream the butter for about 2 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy.

Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and gradually add the dry ingredients. Beat for a further minute until creamy. This will make a thick batter rather than a cookie dough.

Spray the edges of a large round cookie cutter (I used a 10 cm cutter) with cooking oil spray and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of cookie batter in the middle and spread to the edges using the back of a greased spoon. Lift the cookie cutter and you should have a circle of batter. Continue with the rest of the batter. You will have six cookies.

Bake for 16 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly golden at the edges.

Melt the Chocolate:
Put the chocolate and oil into a heat-proof bowl and set the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Don't let the bowl touch the water. Stir until melted and smooth. Leave to cool slightly before coating the cookies.

Immediately top three hot cookies with the halved marshmallows and place them back in the oven for 2 minutes. Remove from the oven and dollop and spoonful of jam on top of the marshmallows. Leave to cool for about 5 minutes, then top the filled cookies with the remaining three cookies to sandwich them. Put the sandwich cookies on a wire rack to cool completely.

Dip the cookies into the melted chocolate, making sure they are completely coated. Set the cookies onto a baking paper lined baking tray to set before devouring.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Country Sourdough

The recipe for this bread from Tartine Bread has been making the rounds on food blogs world wide for a while now. I knew it would only be a matter of time before I tried my hand at it and today was that day. Actually, that day was about 20 days ago if you count the making of the starter. And no wonder it's such a featured recipe. It's a cracker. Chewy, tangy, with structure and substance. I made a few little changes to the original to suit my style and timetable. Sourdough is such an individual thing. It depends on temperature, environment, feel. That's what makes it so interesting and delicious. About the only thing I would change, is I would make a *deeper slash in the dough before baking next time. And there will be a next time.

Country Sourdough
adapted from here
Makes 2 loaves

For the Starter:
1kg baker's flour
1kg fine wholemeal flour (I used Atta flour)
455g lukewarm water

For the Leaven:
First Feed:
200g lukewarm water
200g flour mixture
Second Feed:
100g lukewarm water
90g flour mixture

For the Dough:
200g leaven
750g lukewarm water
900g baker's flour
100g fine wholemeal flour (I used Atta flour)
20g fine sea salt

Corn meal for dusting the pan

Make the Starter:
Mix the baker's flour and the wholemeal flour together and put them in a large container.

Put the water into a bowl and add 315g of the flour mixture (reserving the remaining flour mixture to feed your start over the coming days). Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon until you have a thick paste. Cover with a tea towel and leave in a cool, dark place for about 2 days or until bubbles start to form.

Feed your Starter:
Discard all but 75g of the starter. Add 150g of the reserved flour mixture and 150g lukewarm water. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon until you have a thick paste. Repeat this procedure every day for about 15 days. Once the starter is alive (rises and falls between feeds), you can make your leaven.

Make the Leaven:
First Feed:
Keep 75g of the starter discarding the rest, and add 200g of the reserved flour mixture and the 200g of lukewarm water, mix to a paste and cover with a lid. Leave it to rest for 3 hours.

Second Feed:
Add 100g flour mixture and 90g lukewarm water mix to a paste and cover with a lid. Leave it to rest for 3 hours.

Your leaven should be bubbling with life and will have a slightly beer-y smell. To test if it is ready, drop a spoonful into a cup of room temperature water. If it sinks, it's not ready and will need more time or another feed. If it floats, you're good to go.

Make the Dough:
Put the leaven and 700g of the lukewarm water into a large mixing bowl and stir. (Keep the reserved leaven as it will be the beginning of your new starter to make future loaves. Feed it as described in the Make the Starter step.) Add both the baker's flour and the wholemeal flour and mix until fully combined. Leave to rest in a the bowl covered with a damp tea towel in a cool, dark place for 35 minutes.

Add the salt and the remaining 50g lukewarm water and mix, folding the dough over itself. Transfer the dough to a large clean bowl, cover with a damp tea towel in a cool, dark place and leave it to rest for 3 - 4 hours.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Knead it briefly then cut it into 2 even portions. Put the dough into two large mixing bowls lined with flour-dusted tea towels. Cover with damp tea towels and pop them in the refrigerator overnight. You can leave the dough in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I baked one loaf after a night in the fridge and another loaf two days later, leaving the dough in the fridge until I was ready.

The next morning, take them out of the fridge and leave them in a warm spot to rise. They should rise by about a third.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape them into balls, cupping your hands around the base and tucking the sides underneath the loaf as you turn it. The dough should have a taut, smooth surface,

Preheat the oven to 220C.

Dust the bottom of a large Dutch oven with corn meal. Place one of the balls of dough into the pan, cover with  the lid and leave to rest in a warm spot for 30 - 60 minutes. Once puffy, make a *deep slash down the centre of the dough with a sharp knife or blade, clap the lid on and put it in the oven, reducing the oven temperature to 200C immediately. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for a further 40 minutes.

Place on a wire rack to cool for at least 1 hour before slicing. Waiting is torture I know, but slicing into the loaf too early will result in a gummy texture, and we don't want that.

Bake the second loaf exactly the same way.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Crumbed Chicken and Creamy Slaw Sandwich

My two sons have been visiting friends on the other side of the country for the past week. It's the first time in fourteen years my husband and I have been without our kids for a whole week. At first everything seeemed very still... and quiet and we weren't quite sure what to do with ourselves. We stood in the airport departure lounge and waved goodbye to our two babies and then stared at each other for, oh about 10 seconds... Then hit the road and found a bar and had a glass of Champagne. Then we got all dressed up and had a romantic dinner, because any dinner without the kids is romantic. After that, we saw a movie and then went for a late night walk in the city. The next day we had a long, lazy breakfast, went shopping, had lunch and cocktails, more shopping and then went out for dinner again, saw another movie, had a late supper. The next day we slept in and then had brunch in the sun, went to the art gallery, had a fancy afternoon tea at a fancy restaurant...etc. You get the picture, right? But we really did miss our boys. Really, we did. They arrived home from Western Australia late last night and to show them how much they are loved, I made them these sandwiches as a welcome home lunch today. Nothing says I love you like a crumbed chicken sandwich.

Crumbed Chicken and Creamy Slaw Sandwich
Serves 2

For the Chicken:
1 skinless boneless chicken breast fillet, sliced in half horizontally so that you have two thin fillets
Fine sea salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Olive oil of shallow frying

For the Slaw:
1 cup shredded white cabbage
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
Juice of half a lemon
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the Sandwich:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, cut in half
4 slices of good sourdough rye bread
Hot sauce

Make the Chicken:
Season the chicken generously with salt.

Dip it in the buttermilk.

Combine the breadcrumbs with the smoked paprika and coat the buttermilk-dipped chicken with them. Make sure they are well covered.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, lay the chicken in the oil and cook on both sides until golden and cooked through. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towel. Set aside.

Make the Slaw:
Put all the slaw ingredients into a bowl and mix to combine. Set aside.

Assemble the Sandwich:
Put the oil and butter into a frying pan and heat over medium-high heat. Once melted and hot, put the bread in the pan and cook until it is golden on one side. Remove from the pan and rub the fried side with the garlic clove.

Lay the bread slices, fried-side up and top two of the slices with pickles. Pop a piece of chicken on top of the pickles and finish with a spoonful of slaw and a drizzle of hot sauce. Place the remaining two slices of bread on top.