Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pizza Scrolls

It's always a challenge thinking of something savoury to make for the bowlers' afternoon teas.
They generally have a beer as they've finished the game, so sweet things just don't cut it and I loathe making sandwiches. I have made a million sandwiches for packed lunches over the years, I'm sure.

Yesterday, I made Pizza Scrolls, which went down a treat.

Pizza Scrolls
Makes 30

500g white bread mix (I used All About Bread's HiFibre White)
300g water
1 tsp dried yeast
50g olive oil
2 tsp Italian herbs or a handful of fresh (blend on 6 before adding water)
2 Tbsp grated fresh parmesan cheese 

Place all ingredients into Thermomix bowl and knead on dough setting for 2 minutes. Place in a greased bowl in a warm place and cover with a cloth. Leave to rise for half and hour or so. If you don't have a Thermomix, mix ingredients together in a bowl. Turn out on to bench and knead for 5 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the Pizza Sauce:

Pizza Sauce
Makes 2 jars

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, quartered
1 tin tomatoes (440g) or about 6 roma tomatoes
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp dried Italian herbs or handful of fresh
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt

Heat oil on 100 for 1 minute, speed soft. Turn dial to speed 5 and add onions carefully. Place MC cup on immediately and chop for a second or two. Scrape down bowl and cook for 3 minutes on Varoma temperature.
Add all other ingredients and blend on speed 5 for 5 seconds.
Cook on 100 for 20 minutes. Blend again if necessary. Cool before using.

If you don't have a Thermomix, sauté chopped onion in a pan and add other ingredients. Cook for 20 minutes or so. When cool, place in a food processor or blender.

To put together:
Cut dough in half and roll out one at a time into a rectangle shape. To prevent dough from shrinking back when rolling, roll out on a shiny surface which the dough will stick to. Glass cutting boards are good. I happen to have a polished laminex bench top which is perfect.Trim edges of rectangle.
Top with sauce and finely diced toppings such as cabanossi, pineapple, capsicum, mushrooms etc. - no more than three toppings.
Roll up long ends.
Place on to a cutting board and put roll into freezer for and hour for easy cutting if desired. Roll can also be wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for later use at this stage.

When ready to bake, cut 1 cm slices from roll, place on lined baking tray and re-shape into circles.
Cover with a cloth and allow to rise for about an hour, depending on how warm the room is. In the last 10 minutes, pre heat oven to 220C.
Cover with a blend of parmesan, mozzarella and tasty cheese and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
Delicious hot or cold.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Lime Coconut Panna Cotta

This is a delicious dessert which is perfect served after a big Indian Feast.
My guests last night said it was light and refreshing without being too rich or creamy. It can be made the day before, but is best made the morning before the evening meal.
If you don't have a Thermomix, simply make it on the stove and do a bit of stirring. When adding lime juice, stir vigorously so it doesn't split.
I forgot to take a photo, so will have to make this one again for the photo opportunity...

Lime Coconut Panna Cotta
Serves 6
2 tsp powdered gelatine or 4 gelatine leaves
6 Kaffir Lime Leaves
thinly peeled rind of 1 lime
40g sugar
150g light evaporated milk or single cream
350g coconut cream (Light is fine)
25g of lime juice (about 1 or 2 limes)

Soak gelatine leaves in cold water (for powdered gelatine, sponge in a little cold water). Mill sugar and then place kaffir lime leaves, lime rind, evaporated milk (or cream) and coconut cream in TM and heat to 70° for 5 minutes, speed spoon. Leave to infuse for another 5 minutes.
Strain to remove leaves and rind.
Bring to boil, approx 4 minutes at 90° on speed 3. Squeeze out gelatine leaves and stir in for about 10 seconds on speed 3. Add lime juice and stir 5 seconds on speed 2

Pour into greased moulds or into cocktail glasses and refrigerate.
To serve, turn out of moulds and spoon generous amounts mango coulis around one side and berry coulis around the other. Use a skewer to draw strands of each sauce into the other. Add some sliced kiwi fruit for decoration.
For cocktail glasses, do the same, pouring sauces each side on top of panna cotta.

  • It doesn’t matter what ratio of coconut cream to evaporated milk you use, as long as the amount of liquid is 500g. 
  • Coconut Milk can be used instead of cream.
  • If you don’t have enough coconut cream, add a little coconut essence to the mixture.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Boeuf avec l'orange

It may have something to do with the fact that I recently watched Julie/Julia and have just read the book as well that the desire for some Frenchiness has slipped into my cooking.
My mum, the queen of home cooking, in my eyes, had a French background and I've always loved the language as well as the food.

Normally, I'm not one to use a recipe when I make a stew, but today I wanted a particular flavour, orange and red wine in my beef casserole. Deciding to cook it very slowly in the oven, it definitely called for serious contemplation. None of the recipes I looked at were quite what I wanted, so I did my own thing, and here it is:

Boeuf avec l'orange

1 - 1.5 kg beef, large dice (mine was already diced, supermarket stuff, and a bit too small)
1/2 cup or so of olive oil (yes, it's a lot, but there's no fat left on the meat, and you need it to keep the meat moist)
salt and pepper
Coat beef in the oil and add salt and pepper. Be generous with the seasoning as there is no other seasoning in the dish.
Heat a large non stick frying pan until very hot. Put small amounts of meat into pan and let brown on one side. Toss around for a minute or so and place oven-proof casserole. (I use a Scanpan Dutch Oven). Repeat with remaining meat in small batches until all meat is browned.

1.5 cups red wine
1 cup water
Juice and rind of one orange
Take the pan off the heat and deglaze with  red wine. Add water, rind and juice and cook down until reduced by half. Pour over the meat.

2 onions, sliced
2 bay leaves
2 sage leaves

Put onions over the top of the meat with the herbs.

2 heaped Tbsp Tomato Paste
2 heaped Tbsp plain flour
Mix together and smoosh over the onions, then stir in (so no lumps form).
Cook in a slow oven, 150 degrees C for two and a half hours. Check for tenderness of meat. Some meat may need another half hour or so.

I would much rather use gravy beef for this, but stewing steak was all I had in the freezer. Pan frying the meat prior to cooking slowly really adds colour and delicious flavour to any meat. It's definitely worth the mess and the smoke! I just open all the doors and windows.

I didn't take a photo of my dinner plate, but the stew was a wonderful rich colour and the taste was superb. I'll make pies with the remaining stew.

Don't you just love the French language? Beef Stew with Orange doesn't sound nearly as enticing as Bouef avec l'orange.

When I announced what we were having for tea tonight, Steve said, "A toasted sandwich will do me, I'm not hungry".

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Cheese and Bacon Rolls

These are just delicious. Similar to the ones that you can buy in the shop, but so much healthier - no preservatives, no additives. The idea to make them came from maddy, on the Thermomix forum. Thanks maddy!

Make a batch of dough as follows:

250g white bread mix (I use All About Bread)
250g spelt flour
2 Tbsp Bioactive Yeast (All About Bread) or 2 tsp dried yeast
2 Tbsp oat bran
2 Tbsp wheatgerm
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp lecithin
1 Tbsp oil
300ml warm milk (made with powdered milk)

Place all into bowl of Thermomix. Allow to rise until it pops out of the top of the Thermomix bowl. (or place in a bowl and allow to rise until doubled)
Punch down and knead for two minutes.
Form  dough into eight or so flat rolls. Next time, I'll roll them out so they're thinner. If they're rounded once they rise, it makes it difficult to put the cheese and bacon on top. Place on a tray. Allow bread and rolls to rise under a cloth until doubled again. Be patient, this may take two hours. Remember, this is slow food.
When almost ready to bake, heat oven to 180 degrees C. Brush rolls with beaten egg and top with grated cheese and diced bacon. Bake for 20 minutes.

I think next time I'll put some grated cheese in the dough and see what happens...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Roast Duck

Duck is a delicious restaurant meal. Whenever I see it on the menu, I always order it, thinking that it's something I'd never cook myself.

However, I was in Woolworths in Katanning a while ago when I happened to notice they stocked frozen duck. These are farmed ducks and free range. So I bought one and put it in my freezer where it's been mocking me ever since.

I had planned to cook it for Steve's birthday on Monday night, but I 'chickened' out. Now it was in the fridge mocking me. Yesterday I put it in a little brine bath, something I always do with chicken and today, finally cooked it. It was strange looking with a really long neck and of course, longer wings than a chook.

Googling 'how to cook a roast duck', I came across an excellent website that had loads of hints and tips. Things like, never stuff the cavity of a whole duck. This prevents hot air entering the cavity and cooking from the inside out. You can, however place herbs, orange zest and seasonings inside the cavity to add to the flavour when cooking. (I didn't bother)

After removing from the brine, I rinsed the excess salty water from the bird and dried it as instructed. The duck was then placed on a rack in a baking dish and sprinkled with more salt before placing in a pre-heated oven at 190 degrees C. My size 18 duck cooked for 2 hours.

It released a lot of fat, which is good, because duck fat makes for deliciously brown and crunchy roast potatoes! Once removed from the oven, I turned it breast side down so all the juices could run into the breast.

The fat and juices are setting in the fridge and tonight I'll roast some spuds in the duck fat and make gravy with the juices that have set at the bottom of the fat. The plan is to serve it with sautéed carrot sticks with steamed broccoli and snow peas.

Cooking it earlier in the day has some benefits in that I have a chance to cook something else in case it's inedible as well as being able to separate out fat and juices. Duck reheats well according to the website I checked.

There's not much meat on a size 18 duck, so I'm glad I didn't ask anyone to tea!

I'm now roasting the bones to make a brown stock. I think I'll try duck again soon!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Flour Tortillas

In summer, tortillas make a great wrap to have for lunch when you don't feel like bread or anything too heavy. Plus you can stuff a heck of a lot of salad into a tortilla!

Once again, I had none in the pantry, so decided to try my hand again. I'd previously made spelt tortillas without a great deal of success, so this time I made regular flour tortillas.

I used a recipe from Trudy Olive, a Thermomix user and recipe designer extraordinare.

Flour Tortillas
320g plain flour (I use bread making flour - Wallaby Brand)
30g olive oil (3 Tbsp)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
180g warm water

Place all into Thermomix bowl and mix for 10 seconds at speed 7 to combine or whizz in the food processor until it forms a ball.
Set to knead position and knead for 3 minutes or knead by hand. Turn out onto board and rest for 5 - 10 minutes.
Form into 8 balls - I like to make sure all are the same size, so I weigh them:

Roll each piece, first between two sheets of baking paper to get it going:

The dough is quite elastic and wants to shrink back, so I use my large rolling pin first.
Once it is slightly tamed, remove the top sheet of baking paper and roll all the edges, going around in a circle until the dough is very thin. If it sticks to the paper and won't roll, lift up and place back down again.

I use my little rolling pin for this, just so the shape doesn't get weird. Be forceful with these tortillas, you can't hurt them. The shapes are still fairly weird, many looking like a map of Australia!

Have the frying pan on medium heat and spray with oil. Peel the tortilla off the paper and place into pan, pressing out to prevent it shrinking or folding on itself.

Turn when the bubbles appear on the surface. Press down if large bubbles are forming underneath.

Place onto a dinner plate and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Continue cooking each one and placing under the plastic.

The finished tortillas on a large dinner plate. 

I made wraps with chicken nuggets, grated cheese, tomato, lettuce and mayo. They went down a treat.

These are best kept on a plate enclosed in a plastic bag. They re-heat really well in the microwave for 15 seconds.
These tortillas make excellent vehicles for dips, especially Mexican or Turkish style dips. Cut into pieces with scissors, spray with a little oil and place in oven for 5 or 10 minutes until dry and crisp. You can sprinkle seasoned salt over them once sprayed with oil for extra flavour.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Creamy Curried Cauliflower Salad

Two very good cooks I know make this salad, though each salad is slightly different. My version uses blanched cauliflower as I prefer the less crunchy texture of the cauliflower.
Thanks Michelle and Robyn for inspiring this.
My version has currants instead of sultanas, as I don't like sultanas in salads.

Creamy Curried Cauliflower Salad
1/2 head of a small cauliflower
1/2 red apple
1/2 onion
2 sticks celery
1/4 red capsicum
1/4 green capsicum
handful roasted salted cashews
handful currants
1/4 cup frozen corn, cooked in microwave

3 heaped Tbsp thickened cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp dry mustard

Cut the cauliflower into the tiniest of florets and place in a colander. Drop the colander into boiling water for about 20 seconds. Remove and drain.
(If you have a Thermomix, boil 1200ml water in TMX bowl and place florets in basket into water. Swish boiling water through the cauliflower on speed 8 for 20 seconds. Remove basket and allow to drain.)
All other vegies are chopped very finely and added to the dressing. Mix in cauliflower and allow to sit at room temperature for the best flavour.
Variations include using different vegies. I feel it really needs the apple and celery, but the corn could be substituted for peas and onion for spring onion.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

A classic winter dessert, this would have to be everyone's favourite. Whizzed up in the Thermomix, the whole thing takes about 20 minutes if made in muffin tins.

Sticky Toffee Puddings
Pre heat oven to a moderate temperature, about 175 degrees fan forced.
Place in Thermomix bowl or food processor:
1 1/2 cups seeded dates
1 1/4 cups boiling water
1 tsp bi-carb soda

Allow to stand for 5 minutes.

3/4 cup brown sugar
60g butter

Process (on speed 4) until dates are roughly chopped.

2 eggs, then 1 cup self raising flour, processing and scraping down sides until combined.

Bake in muffin tins for 15 - 17 minutes. Stand in tins 5 minutes before turning out .

Caramel Sauce
While the muffins are cooking, make the caramel sauce by placing 1 cup brown sugar, 100g butter, 300mls cream and 1 tsp vanilla in the Thermomix bowl and cook for 5 minutes on 80 at speed 4 or until thickened.

Serve muffins on a plate and pour sauce over. Place a quenelle of ice cream to one side of the muffin and top ice cream with a mint sprig.

Pantry Pancake Mix

This recipe is one from Nigella Lawson, my foodie idol. It's wonderfully versatile and very economical. There's no need to buy those pancake mixes in the plastic bottles as this is just as easy and much, much nicer.

Pantry Pancake Mix
600g plain flour (I use half wheat flour, half spelt flour)
50g baking powder
50g castor
2 tsp bi-carb soda
1 tsp salt

Whizz all together in the Thermomix or blender. Store in a jar in the pantry.

When you are wanting to make pancakes for breaky just use 1 cup milk and 1 egg for every cup of dry mix. Whisk together and let sit for 10 minutes or so. Stir in 1 Tbsp of melted butter and start making pancakes!

These pancakes are very similar to the "golden arches" sort. I adore them for breakfast with  unsalted butter that I've whipped up with maple syrup in the Thermomix before freezing in ice cube trays. The mixture can be thinned down with a little more milk added to the mixture if you prefer a slightly thinner pancake.

For a dessert pancake, add some chopped banana and serve with caramel made from cream, butter and brown sugar boiled together (sticky toffee pudding sauce).

For pikelets, just add a little more sugar. You can also add chopped dates and orange rind or orange and date pikelets.

So you don't forget what you need to add, it's a good idea to write a label for the jar and include the recipe for mixing the pancakes.