Saturday, 29 November 2014

Monte Carlo Whoopie Pies


I feel like biscuits, I feel like cake....
Do I have biscuits or do I have cake???
Can I have both????
If you are Australian you grew up with Monte Carlo biscuits!  They are to Aussie kids as Oreos were to American kids growing up.  You twist them apart and eat the filling, a nice mixture of vanilla fake cream and jam, then you toss the biscuit because they were dry and not so nice! ahhh the memories of childhood.
I found a way to have my cake and eat my biscuit too.
115g butter softened
200g soft brown sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 large egg
300g plain flour
11⁄4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch salt
225ml buttermilk
Pre-heat the oven to 170C and line two baking trays with baking paper.
In your mixer beat the butter and sugar together until thick and creamy then add the egg and mix until combined, add mix the sifted flour, salt and bicarb soda then mix in the buttermilk

 Use an ice-cream scoop to spoon scoops of batter onto the baking trays making sure you leave a few centimetres between each scoop, sprinkle each with castor sugar.

Bake for 10- 12 minutes or until they’re firm then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
110g room temp butter
80g room temp cream cheese
250g icing sugar
jam of choice

Beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth slowly add the icing sugar until combined.

Spread jam and filling on the cooled cakes join and enjoy.  Alternately you can stir 2 spoons of jam through the cream  to give a ripple effect and pipe the filling onto the cakes adding a little jam as a dot in the middle.

I don't think you will through these ones in the bin.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Maple Syrup Shortbread

While in Canada Mum bought me a great cookie cutter and I was looking for something to use it on and thought I would use this recipe however it is not suitable for rolling out however tastes out of this world so I just keep trying different cookie recipes.

In Melbourne I can bet that my Mother is getting into her pre Christmas routine of Christmas cakes, mince pies and shortbread.  Mum makes fantastic food and both my brother and I learnt to cook from her.  There are a couple of things that I personally don't enjoy such as fruit cake!

I do enjoy her boozy mince pies warm from the oven, once the are cold I don't enjoy them so much.  Mum's shortbread is traditional Scottish shortbread from a recipe she has been using for years.  I find it a little dry and can only eat it after dunking. 

I have looked for years for a recipe that is thin and crisp and moreish, this is the best recipe I have found to date, nice and easy to make and even easier to eat.  Oh and the whole house smells like warm Maple Syrup, how can that be a bad thing?

230gm room temp butter
2 tablespoons castor sugar
1/2 cup room temp maple syrup
2 cups plain flour

In your stand mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy 3 to 5 minutes,  slowly pour the maple syrup into the butter mixture, it may look curdled, this just means the syrup was a little cold it doesn't affect the recipe.

Add the flour to the mixer on low speed until incorporated.


Turn dough out onto some baking paper or kitchen wrap and roll into a cylinder, twist the ends closed and place in the fridge.  Refrigerate for anywhere from 1 hour to 3 days.

Slice the dough to desired thickness, approx. 1/4 cm thick, place on a lined baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes on 170C.

Sprinkle with a dusting of castor sugar when fresh from the oven.


Saturday, 15 November 2014

Rose Sangria

Well summer is well and truly here and the party season is about to start, if it hasn't already started for yourself.

This post is for my wonderful Sister-in-Law Deana.  Deana and my brother live in Canada and for them winter has started and the first snow has fallen.  So I am posting a splash of summer she can make for her friends if she is having a Christmas do.

I was a little sceptical about this recipe and as I am the only one who drinks wine in my house and my wonderful Girlfriend Helen is not allowed to drink, I thought I may be stuck drinking something that I hated.  The other ingredients however do not detract from the Rose and it is very refreshing, I wonder how long it is going to take me to drink it!

1 bottle of your favourite Rose wine
1/2 cup Pomegranate juice (you can get this from the supermarket)
1/3 cup of lemon juice
1/4 cup castor sugar
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1 tablespoon of Brandy
1 cup chilled water
1 punnet of strawberries hulled and halved
1 punnet of raspberries
ice to serve

The night before your party stir all your ingredients together in a jug and place covered in the fridge.  Just before serving remove from the fridge and stir before adding some ice.

Serve in chilled glasses with some of the fruit and ice.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Sesame Prawn Toasts

I don't know about you, but when we get take away Chinese food we always get a bag of Prawn toasts.  These are divided evenly or there will be death and mayhem in our house.  We all love prawn toasts that much. 

Yes I know you can buy them in the freezer section at the supermarket, however I saw a recipe on a website and kind of had an ah ha moment! You know the light bulb went off over my head and I could see what the heck I was doing!

I had some prawns in the freezer and sesame seeds in the cupboard and I picked up a white loaf from the supermarket (I don't buy supermarket bread, I make my own in the bread maker or get a loaf from the bakery) so a cheap loaf to test this recipe was ideal.

500g defrosted raw prawns
6 slices white bread
sesame seeds


In the bowl of your food processor add the prawns, salt and pepper and pulse until you have a smooth paste.

Cut the crusts off your bread slices.

Divide the prawn mix into six and put on each slice of bread.  Spread the prawn mix evenly to the edges of the bread.

In a bowl filled with sesame seeds place the bread prawn side down.  Gently press to ensure covered evenly.

Cut into fingers or triangles, your choice.

Shallow fry in 1 to 1 1/2 cm of hot oil.  I put mine seed side down first cook for 1 to 2 minutes each side or until golden brown. 

Drain on paper towel and serve hot.

You can freeze at this stage.  Allow to cool on tray lined with paper towel and then freeze.  Bag once frozen.  To re heat place in pre heated 180C oven and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Cheese Puffs

Choux pastry has until now been my Kryptonite.  Back in the good old days, you know when the mountains were a ripple in the ground and dinosaurs roamed the earth! Before I had been diagnosed with RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) I used to be able to do a lot of things I just cannot do anymore, such as whip egg whites by hand and beat a Choux pastry as it needs to be with a wooden spoon. 

Since then I have had to find different ways to do things I can no longer do.  One of them is Choux.  I have tried many times and they just go flat, so I gave up making Choux, until I saw Ina Garten making these on her show Barefoot Contessa and I thought that I should try this.

1 cup milk
115g butter
1 cup plain flour
1 tspn salt
1/4 tspn ground pepper
4 large eggs, beaten
1 cup grated tasty cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 beaten egg for egg wash

Pre heat oven to 220C and like 2 baking trays with baking paper.

Heat milk, butter, salt and pepper until just before boiling point.

Add the flour all at once and beat with a wooden spoon still over the heat until the mixture comes together and forms a ball.  Cook stirring constantly for 2 minutes over the heat.  The flour will begin to coat the bottom of your sauce pan.

In the bowl of your food processor fitted with the steal blade, place the cheese, then dump in the flour mixture and eggs.  Place on the lid and turn on, allow to run for about 1 to 2 minutes or until the dough is smooth and thick.

Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip.  Pipe into tablespoon size mounds of the mixture.  If you don't have a piping bag you can use teaspoons to scoop out the mixture.

With a wet finger press down the tips left by the piping bag on top of each puff.

Brush the top of each puff with the extra beaten egg and top with a little grated cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

To freeze the puffs let them cool on the tray and place the tray of cold puffs in the freezer overnight.  When frozen bag for later use.

To reheat place frozen puffs on a tray and re heat at 200C for 7 minutes.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Cheesy Mashie Balls

It is fast coming up to Party season and I like to put a few treats on the blog.  I have been working on some treats you can make ahead and have in the freezer and pull out when needed.

These recipes will show you that you don't have to go all out spending a day in the kitchen before your party.  You can make some things ahead and just reheat them, cook them or just plain put them together.

I had some trial and errors with this recipe and it took me a while to work the recipe to something that I feel most people can make.

6 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup plain flour
1 beaten egg
2 cups grated tasty cheese
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Above we have a potato masher and a potato ricer.  Difference? Just the how fluffy your mash is really.  I use the masher for everyday and the ricer for gnocchi and things like these Mashie balls.

Cook your potatoes until tender.  Drain and either pass through the potato ricer into a bowl or mash in the saucepan.  Mix through the flour and beaten egg.  You should do this quickly as you don't want to scramble the egg through the hot potato.  Set aside to cool to room temp.

Add the cheese and parsley to the cool potato and mix through with a fork until combined.

Roll Tablespoons of mixture into balls and place on tray.

Roll the balls in breadcrumbs and set on the tray. 

At this stage you can either allow the mashies to stand for 15 minutes before cooking or place the tray in the freezer for later use.

In my trial and errors with this recipe I did work out that if you don't have your oil hot enough this above is what happens.  The mashies dissolve in the oil leaving you with a big mess! 

Heat your oil to between 180C and 190C and then cook in batches.  Place on paper towel to drain.  At this stage you could put them on a paper towel lined tray and put in the freezer.  When ready to use them take them out of the freezer and reheat at 180C pre heated oven for 15 - 20 mins.