Thursday, March 31, 2011

Vanilla Processor Cake

This is a cake recipe that I've come up with based on a number of different recipes. I make it in the Thermomix, but it can be made in a food processor or even a normal mixer.
It will make one large cake suitable for a small baking dish, 2 smaller cakes or around 24 large patty cakes.
If no buttermilk is available, sour some milk by warming gently in the microwave and adding lemon juice. The acidic liquid is required to activate the bi-carb soda.
I add lecithin to my mixture, but it's not absolutely necessary. It just stops it looking curdled and makes for a smoother cake.
Lecithin is available from pharmacies and health food stores. It's made from soya beans and is an emulsifier.

Vanilla Cake
260g raw sugar
170g Dairy Soft
4 eggs, room temperature
300g plain flour
40g custard powder
2 tp baking powder
1 tsp bi-carb soda
1 cup buttermilk or soured milk
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lecithin (optional)

Blitz sugar to make into castor sugar.
Add butter blend and mix at speed 4 for 30 seconds.
Add eggs one at a time, beating at speed 4 and adding 3 Tbsp of flour mixture with the last egg to prevent curdling.
Add milk and flours and blend at speed 2 up to 4 until incorporated. Blend until smooth.

Bake at 160C for 1 hour in a small baking dish, 25 - 30 minutes on 200C for large patty cakes, 40 minutes at 180C for two smaller round cakes.

Vanilla Frosting
100g softened butter
200g icing sugar
1 Tbsp Custard Powder
2 - 3 Tbsp cream or milk
2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp glucose (optional)

Blend butter, sugar and custard powder on speed 3 until smooth.
Add cream, essence and glucose. Continue blending until smooth and creamy.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Challenge Continued...

While the one month long Pantry and Freezer Challenge has officially finished, I'm still vowing to use up everything in my freezers.
I have one chest freezer which is nearly empty, an upright freezer with a mainly frozen fruit for sorbets etc, and two fridge freezers.
Luckily, one fridge freezer has some nice porterhouse steak from the local store which has only been there since January. So, no freezer burn!!
Steak, potato gratin and salad for tea tonight! And, of course, pepper sauce.

My Pepper Sauce is made with a secret gravy mix that I buy which is delicious. Use any gravy mix and add a good glug of sherry, about 1/2 a cup of cream (or skinny tinny if you're watching) and some crushed mixed peppercorns to taste. Cook as normal. If you have any beef stock in the fridge or freezer add some of that for a more intense flavour.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Challenge Tuesday Week 4

Today begins the final week of my Pantry & Freezer Challenge. All my freezers are beginning to look a bit bare, especially the chest freezer.

Yesterday, I made chicken stock with the carcass of the chicken cooked earlier in the week. I added a miripoix (diced carrot, celery and onion) and bouquet garni and cooked it on low for about 3 hours.

Last night's tea was a delicious concoction of Creamy Chicken with Vegies and Pasta.

I had three bone in chicken thighs and three people to feed. This actually fed three of us and made two meals to freeze.

Creamy Chicken with Vegetables and Pasta
3 bone in chicken thighs or a couple of marylands
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups of vegetables - I had carrots, red and green capsicum, snow peas, mushrooms and zucchini
1/2 cup cream
30g butter
salt & pepper
extra stock
Cornflour to thicken
Cooked pasta - about 2 cups

Poach chicken in stock and wine until well cooked. Allow to cool and then remove meat and dice. Place cooking liquid in freezer to set fat.
Saute harder vegetables in butter. Add cream and other vegetable and cook for a couple of minutes. Add extra stock and seasonings.
Add pasta, chicken and skimmed stock/wine from freezer and cook until vegetables are to your liking. Thicken with cornflour if necessary.

Sorry, no photo as camera not working. Lucky, darling son gave me his top notch camera for my birthday!

Tonight's tea is Curried Sausages. With only one packet of sausages (Lake Grace Butcher ones - the best!) and the whole family to feed tonight, I have to make them go a long way.

Dessert is Lemon Meringue Tarts. The reason I'm splashing out with dessert is because I have a jar of home made lemon butter in my pantry. Also, I made Hollandaise to have with my poached egg yesterday morning and had some left over egg whites.

Only thing is, when I opened the jar, it didn't taste the best and I realised it was a year old....  Pastry tarts already cooking in the oven, so I had to make another batch of Lemon Butter! Now I have even more egg whites! Meringues coming up, I think!

Here's the Lemon Butter recipe converted from a CWA one for the Thermomix:

Lemon Butter
500g sugar
250g butter
Juice of 4 lemons and zested rind of 3

Cook the above for 6 minutes/90/speed 3 to dissolve sugar and make a syrup.
Reduce heat to 80.

4 eggs - 2 with the whites, and 2 with yolks only

Beat the eggs and add slowly to the Thermomix bowl while on speed 3. Continue cooking for about 10 minutes until the mixture looks like honey and coats the back of a spoon.

Refrigerate in jars.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Challenge - the rest of Week 3!

Time has got away from me this week, so I'm condensing the menu for this week into one post.

I'm finding that "The Challenge" is really about using up what's in my freezer. My pantry is full, yes, but I use everything and constantly replace items as they are finished or low in stock.
I buy a lot of things in bulk - all my flours, sugar, rices, nuts and seeds. I have loads of spices because I love to cook curries.

The rest of this week's cooking:
Roast Chicken - cooked in the Turbo Oven outside because it's too hot to cook inside!
Banana Muffins - My own recipe can be found here

Cinnamon Scrolls - making these right now, so will post photo when they're done. (can't find the camera, so no photo! They are superb! Recipe to be found here, adapted by forum guru JulieO.
Creamy Tomato Salmon Pasta - The salmon had been in the freezer a while and tasted rather 'fishy'. It obviously doesn't have a long freezer life due to it's oil content. (still working on this recipe, so will post when I'm satisfied with it)

Other than that it's been left overs this week. Not terribly adventurous, I know, but the limited meat ingredients in my freezer is leaving me with very little motivation. Freezer burned chicken legs, dubious packets of stuff that could be dog meat & sausages.
I do have some special things in there - a whole duck, a duck breast and some duck stock, but want to save these for a special occasion. Also, a whole fillet steak which will be saved for when the whole family is here for tea.

Tea tonight is crumbed steak, cauliflower gratin, baked potatoes, carrots, beans and peas.

I've had my first disaster. Defrosted a bag of what looked like dog mince and threw it into the Thermomix with some diced carrot and pumpkin to cook for Rambo's tea and find out that it's sausage mince. Can't give it to Rambo and can't use it now as it's cooked!!! 

Total Spend now around $235.00.

The Challenge - Tuesday Week 3

Well, week 3 already and I'm starting to delve deeper and deeper into my freezer! I did a sneaky swap with my daughter - her lamb for my pork.

I found a wonderful Chicken Gallantine in the freezer that I'd made some time ago.
Tonight's tea was Madras Lamb Curry:

1 tsp turmeric
750g boneless leg lamb (can use shoulder, but cook longer)
Cut lamb into 2.5cm cubes and massage turmeric in.

2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground cardamom
Roast in Thermomix for 5 minutes/Varoma/Speed 2. 

2 tsp coriander seed
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes (more if you like it hotter)
1 tsp cumin seeds
Roast for 5 minutes/Varoma/Speed 2.

1 tsp fenugreek seeds
Grind on speed 6 for a few seconds. Place paper towel between lid and bowl.

5 roughly chopped garlic cloves
2.5cm piece ginger, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp oil or ghee
Blend to a smooth paste on speed 7, scraping bowl down every few seconds.
Cook for 5 to 10 minutes/Speed 3 until fragrant.

250ml coconut milk (reserve rest of 375ml can)
Cook on Varoma/Speed spoon/Reverse/10 minutes.

Add remaining coconut milk and reserved spices. Season with salt to tast.

Cook on 90/Speed spoon/Reverse/60 minutes.
2 Tbsp lime juice or tamarind to taste

Check for seasoning and tenderness. Can continue cooking if necessary.
Serve with basmati rice and Vegetable Korma (from the Every Day Cooking Book)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Challenge - Monday Week 2

Almost two weeks and I had done so well with the food shopping! But, a trip to Katanning today and a leisurely stroll around Woolworths changed all that.

Today's grocery spend was $105.87. Lots of veggies, some cheese, cream cheese, cream and ricotta and I did splurge on some Carnavon bananas. I figured that customers have to buy them at that price or the supermarket will stop buying them.

Tea tonight was Tandoori Chicken. A wonderful spice blend that I adapted and made in the TMX and then mixed with plain yoghurt.

Tandoori Spice Mix
3 Tbs garlic salt
4 Tbsp paprika
2 Tbsp cumin
2 Tbsp ground coriander
2 Tbsp ground ginger (or can use fresh)
2 Tbsp ground cardamom
2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp turmeric
1 Tbps garam masala

For 8 pieces of chicken, blend 4 Tbsp of the Tandoori Spice Mix with 400g plain yoghurt & 4 Tbsp lemon juice and marinate overnight in the fridge. Turn over in marinade to completely coat.
To cook, place chicken pieces on a rack over an oven tray lined with parchment paper. Bake in a very hot oven for 20 minutes or so or until cooked

Serve with a fresh salad and lime wedges.

The Challenge - Friday & Saturday Week 2

Today it was another get your own breakfast day, but at least we had nice home made bread.

I had lunch on the road as I was heading to Bremer Bay to do a talk for their International Women's Day event entitled "Her Voice, Her Story".  This was a wonderful night and I enjoyed it immensely. Thank you so much to Suzanne Hill and the lovely staff at the Bremer Bay Community Resource Centre for the invitation and the delightful gifts.

I left a couple of BBQ packs for the boys (DS 2 was home for the night) with instructions to make a salad to have with it.

My tea was a delicious Chicken and Seafood Laksa from the Bremer Bay Resort. This was really delicious and had masses of seafood including a gigantic prawn on top and lovely coriander and benito coconut broth. It didn't need the chicken at all, the seafood was the star of this dish. At only $15.00, this was superb value for a meal that was incredibly filling (I couldn't eat it all!).

Saturday morning's breakfast was easy to choose, my favourite, Eggs Florentine. Two beautifully poached eggs on a bed of wilted spinach with lashings of smoked salmon. Served on English Muffins and with a (bought) Hollandaise. I don't understand why chefs use bought Hollandaise! It's so easy to make and keeps in the fridge for days.  Again, too much for me to eat, unfortunately.

On arriving home, I had to immediately turn on the oven and prepare a Chocolate Cake for tonight. The Bowling Club has a number of members and partners who have February birthdays, so the publican of the Pingrup Pub has invited us all to tea there tonight to celebrate en masse.  I offered to make the cake.
Then on to afternoon tea for Bowls as it's a home game today.


Simple breakfast of Baked Beans with diced bacon and tomato on toast, get your own lunch and fish and salad for tea.