Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Apricot Choc-Chip Muesli Bars

Trying to clear some of my pantry ingredients. Made these Muesli Bars. Chewy, not too sweet and so yummy! 

Smells so good while it was baking.

Rather addictive to snack on, it was hard for me to stop at just one!

Apricot Choc-Chip Muesli Bars
(The Australian Women's Weekly : Homebaked)
125gm butter, chopped
1/2 cup (110gm) firmly packed brown sugar (loosely packed)
1 tablespoon honey
2-1/4 cups (200gm) rolled oats
1/4 cup (40gm) sunflower kernels
1/4 cup (20gm) desiccated coconut
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (75gm) chopped dried apricots
2 tablespoons dark Choc bits

  1. Preheat oven to moderately slow. Grease 20cmx30cm lamington pan, line base and two long sides with baking paper, extending paper 2cm above edge of pan.
  2. Combine butter, sugar and honey in medium saucepan; stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Transfer butter mixture to medium bowl, stir in oats, sunflower kernels, coconut, cinnamon and apricots.
  4. Press mixture into prepared pan, sprinkle with Choc bits.
  5. Bake in moderately slow oven about 30 minutes or until browned lightly.
  6. Cut into pieces while still warm, cool in pan.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #36

Friday, December 14, 2018

Roasted Squash Hummus

Recipe number 3, Roasted Squash Hummus, from Everyday Dorie, at Cook the Book Fridays.

I love hummus but the only hummus I've ever tried are the ones made from chickpeas. So I was looking forward to make this Roasted Squash Hummus,  using butternut squash. 

To make this hummus, butternut squash are first roasted till tender, mash into a puree, then stir in the tahini, pomegranate molasses (I've used pomegranate concentrate, using only about a teaspoon), za'atar, salt, pepper, cayenne and lemon juice.

To serve the hummus, spread a layer of Greek yoghurt in a small serving bowl, and top with the hummus. Drizzle some olive oil over, and scatter over some pomegranate seeds, of which I have omitted as I did not have any. The hummus can be served with pita or as a dipper for fresh crunchy vegetables. 

This hummus is on the sweet side rather than savoury and I wasn't keen on the flavour.  I'm a fan of savoury hummus, so this is just not for me. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Butter-Almond Cake (Butterkuchen)

Butterkuchen has a yeasted bread-like base (enriched with butter and eggs), with the topping of more butter, almond flakes and sprinklings of sugar. The cake bakes up to a puffy, chewy bread-like cake with crispy toasty sweet almonds topping. Very addictive!

Another keeper recipe from Classic German Baking!

Butter Almond Cake (Butterkuchen)
(Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss)
makes 1 (9x13-inch) cake
For the cake :
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 cups, scooped and leveled/250gm all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading (I use bread flour)
grated peel of 1/2 organic lemon
2 pinches of salt
9 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (130gm unsalted high-fat European-style butter, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature

For the topping :
10 tablespoons/140gm unsalted high-fat butter European-style butter, cold (I use 100gm)
1 cup/85gm blanched sliced almonds
1/2 cup/100gm granulated sugar (I use 1/3 cup)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  1. Line a 9 by 13-inch/23 by 33cm metal baking pan with parchment paper, letting the sides hang over the edge to function as a sling after baking.
  2. To make the cake : Place the yeast, sugar, flour, grated lemon peel, salt, butter and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater attachment. Beat together for several minutes, until the dough is shiny and starts flapping around the bowl and heaters in larger chunks. The dough will be quite soft but should no longer be sticky to the touch. Alternatively, you can make the dough by hand. Mix the yeast, sugar, flour, grated lemon peel, and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour and crack in the eggs. Stir the eggs into the flour with one hand and start adding the soft butter, having cut it into chunks. Knead the dough together in the bowl until it comes together, then scrape it out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and no longer sticky. Resist adding too much flour, you want the dough to remain soft and slightly floppy.
  3. Scrape the dough together and form into a smooth ball using your hands. Place the dough in the middle of the prepared pan and cover the pan with a clean dishcloth. Set aside in a warm, draft-free spot for 1 to 2 hours. the dough will not necessarily double in size, but it should be quite puffy and soft to the touch.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375F/190C. Using the tips of your fingers, push the dough down gently into the pan so that it lines the entire pan evenly, or remove the paper form the pan, lay it on your work surface, and roll out the dough until it fits the indentations of the pan on the paper, and then transfer the paper and dough back into the pan. The dough will be very thin. Using your fingers, dimple the surface of the dough all over.
  5. To make the topping : Cube the cold butter into 1/4-inch pieces and drop the cubes evenly all over the cake. It will seem like a very large amount of butter. Scatter the almonds evenly all over the cake. Mix the sugar, salt , and cinnamon together and scatter evenly all over the cake.
  6. Place in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown.
  7. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Using the parchment paper as a sling, lift the cake out of the pan and place it on a cutting board. Cut into squares and serve warm. This cake is best eaten the day it is made.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #36


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Banana Chocolate Espresso Swirl Muffins

These muffins are moist, soft, tender, chocolaty with an espresso kick and full of banana flavour. Not too sweet, well, I did reduce the sugar slightly (from 150gm to 120gm). Recipe makes 8 jumbo sized muffins, but I have used the regular sized muffins and got 12.

Soft, tender crumb. Great with either coffee, tea or milk! Delicious muffins!

Recipe is from the book "The Bread Collection" by Brian Hart Hoffman, pg 42, and also be found at Bake From Scratch website.

The changes I've made was to reduce the sugar to 120gm and bake in a regular sized muffin pan, which makes 12 regular muffins.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #35 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Blueberry Jam

Made some blueberry jam, to clear the frozen blueberries from my freezer. This simple recipe is free from processed sugar, sweetened only with honey. Easy to make and takes only about 15 to 20 minutes of cooking.

Mix everything together, the blueberries, honey, water and salt in a medium  stainless steel pot and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. I wanted a less chunky jam, so I have used the emerson blender to puree the berries after about 15 minutes of cooking. I then simmer for a further 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened. Allow to cool, spoon into a jar and keep refrigerated.

Blueberry Jam
(from Huckleberry by Zoe Nathan)
makes about 1 cup
3-1/2 to 4 cups (525 to 600gm) fresh blueberries
1/4 cup (85gm) honey
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup (60ml) water

Combine the blueberries, honey, salt and water in a medium stainless-steel pot. Simmer over medium heat until jammy, about 15 minutes. Refrigerate until needed.
This keeps well, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #35 

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Chives and Cheddar Parker House Round Rolls

Harvested some Chinese Garlic Chives (Kuchai), to make this soft and fluffy rolls, Chives and Cheddar Parker House Rolls. The actual recipe is called Dill and Gruyere Parker House Round Rolls, from The Bread Collection by Brian Hart Hoffman. I did not have any dill but I do have Chinese Garlic Chives. Gruyere is not easily available so I have used Cheddar instead.

There's butter, milk and eggs in the dough. The dough is slightly sticky but it was manageable, just as the book says. After the first rise, the dough is divided into round balls. I've made half a recipe which makes 12 rolls. There's a small cube of plain butter as a filling for each roll. I have however added some chopped chives, garlic powder and a pinch of salt mixed into the softened butter, then refrigerate until set, cubed and used as the filling. Brush the risen rolls with some melted butter before they go into the oven.

Brush with some melted butter again as soon as the rolls are out of the oven. I have omitted the sprinkling of salt over the rolls. 

These rolls are so fluffy soft! Of course, the butter filling gets melted and this makes the rolls even more buttery. These would be great with some soup, but I love eating them plain with just a cup of hot tea! 

The full recipe can be found here.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #35 

Friday, November 9, 2018

Maple-Syrup-And-Mustard Brussels Sprouts

Recipe No.2 from Everyday Dorie, selected for this week at Cook the Book Fridays, Maple-Syrup-And-Mustard Brussels Sprouts.

I did not have any maple syrup, so I've used honey because Dorie says we can 😃. Instead of steaming the brussels sprouts, I microwaved them, with a tablespoon or two of water sprinkled over,  along with the sliced shallot, garlic, salt and black pepper, on high for 2 minutes. Meanwhile fry the bacon until crisp, remove and keep aside.  The brussels sprouts are then stir-fry in the bacon fat (I did not remove all of the fat! Ha!) until they are are charred and crisp-tender. I've used a mixture of both smooth Dijon and grainy mustard, mix-in with the honey. These are added to the brussels sprouts, stir until they are coated with the mustard-honey glaze. Stir in the crumpled crispy bacon. And as suggested by Dorie, I added a splash of balsamic vinegar in the final stir. 

This is delicious. Love the flavours of the honey, mustard, bacon and the crisp-tender texture of the brussels sprouts. I actually ate this for lunch on its own! And would definitely make this again as a side dish to a meal. Yums!

Please do visit my friends' links at CtBF and see what they think of "Maple-Syrup-And-Mustard Brussels Sprouts".

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Austrian Apricot Sheet Cake

A traditional Austrian summer cake. Delicate yellow batter, scraped into a sheet pan, dimpled with halved raw apricots. Canned apricots can be used instead of fresh. During baking, the cake rises up around the apricot halves, which sink down into the batter. I have used canned apricots, and made half a recipe as the original recipe makes quite a large cake.  

The cake batter is so simple to make, and it takes about 25 to 30 minutes to bake. Once the cake is has cooled down, dust evenly with confectioners' sugar before serving.

This is a lovely cake, with moist, soft, light and airy crumb. It is not too sweet, a definite plus in my books! We wish we had some ice cream in the freezer to go with this lovely cake. Maybe the next time! This recipe is a keeper! According to the author, this is the kind of crowd-pleasing cake you'll want to make year-round.

Austrian Apricot Sheet Cake (Marillenfleck)
(Classic German Baking, Luisa Weiss)
Makes 1 (13x18-inch) cake
1.5kg ripe apricots or 3 (432gms cans) apricot halves, drained
200gm unsalted butter
200gm all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/8 tsp salt
200gm confectioners' sugar, plus more for garnish
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
grated peel of 1/2 organic lemon
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Line a 13 by 18 by 1-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Wash, dry, halve, and pit the apricots, and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter and remove from the heat as soon as it has melted. While the butter is melting, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Pour the melted butter into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the confectioners' sugar and beat with a whisk or with the whisk attachment just until no lumps remain. Add half of the flour mixture and mix until well combined. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the vanilla extract, grated lemon peel, and lemon juice just until combined. Beat in the remaining flour mixture and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  4. Scrape the batter onto the prepared pan, spreading it out into the corners. Place the apricot halves, cut-side up, on the cake batter, distributing them evenly and leaving only a little bit of space between them.
  5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the cake (not an apricot) comes out clean.
  6. Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a rack. When the rack is completely cool, dust evenly with more confectioners' sugar, cut into squares, and serve.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #35 

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Fig and Honey Pannacotta

I harvested a few ripe figs from my fig plant, and make this delicious cold dessert, Fig and Honey Pannacotta. 

The recipe uses sheets of gelatin but I have used gelatin granules instead. Honey may be substituted with sugar if you prefer. I have made this dessert a couple of times and find that most of the fig slices do not remain adhere to the side of the bowl, but that is OK, as the dessert still tastes yummy!

Refrigerate the pannacotta overnight, and the next day you will have a delightful cold creamy luscious dessert to enjoy after a dinner meal. Delicious with the light tasting honey, and refreshingly good with the sweet fig slices! Yummy! 

(my adaptation listed in blue)
Fig and Honey Pannacotta
(desserts by Michel Roux)
1-1/2 sheets leaf gelatin (2 tsps gelatin granules)
1-1/4 cups (300ml) heavy cream (1-1/2 cups)
scant 1 cup (200ml) milk
generous 1/4 cup (100gm) honey, or scant 1/2 cup (80gm) superfine sugar (I use orange blossom honey)
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise (I use 1/4 tsp vanilla extract)
3 ripe fresh figs, sliced into fine circles

Soak the gelatin in cold water to cover for about 5 minutes. (If using gelatin granules : measure 2 tablespoons of warm water in a small microwavable bowl, scatter the gelatin granules over, and leave for a few minutes to soften. Microwave on high on 10 seconds spurts, stir, and repeat until the gelatin has fully dissolved). Heat the cream, milk, honey or sugar, and vanilla beans in a pan, stirring from time to time, until the mixture almost reaches a boil, then remove from the heat. Immediately drain the gelatin and squeeze out excess water, then add (the dissolved gelatin granules) to the creamy milk, stirring until completely melted.
Strain the mixture through a fine strainer or chinois into a bowl. Stand in a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and a little water to cool quickly, stirring from time to time, until it is nearly cold.
Meanwhile, arrange fig slices around the sides of 6-8 individual glass bowls or cups (measuring about 3-1/4 inches/8cm across the top), making sure they adhere; save 6-8 slices for decoration. Carefully pour in the pannacotta mixture, ensuring it covers the figs. Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours, or overnight if preparing ahead.
Remove from the refrigerator about 10 minutes before serving. Top each pannacotta with a fig slice to serve.

kitchen flavour's notes :
2 teaspoons of gelatin granules gives a softer set, which we prefer. For a firmer set, add a little more of the granules.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #35 

Friday, October 26, 2018

My Newest Gougeres

Cook the Book Fridays (CtBF) is cooking through Dorie Greenspan's latest book, Everyday Dorie, starting today! After my long break cooking with the lovely ladies at CtBF, I am back again, this time jumping into the wagon of Everyday Dorie. The first recipe that was chosen is My Newest Gougeres.

Gougeres are French cheese puffs, made with pâte à choux (the dough used for cream puffs), with added cheese, and Dorie's addition of Dijon mustard and walnuts. I have however omitted the walnuts as some of us are not fan of nuts. For the cheese, I've used Cheddar. These little puffs are quite easy to make, did not take much time at all. I've made half a recipe, baked half of it, and freeze the other half, though those would be gone soon!

I use a small cookie scoop to drop the batter onto the baking pan, and I got 25 gougeres for half a recipe.

Smells so cheezy nice while these are baking.

They are quite delightful and yummy! With light crisp crust and chewy soft centre. But I did find them a little salty. That being said, I would gladly made this again, with a lesser amount of salt.

Please do visit my friends' links at CtBF and see what they think of "My Newest Gougeres". 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Everyday Sourdough

My first sourdough bread! Yay! Have been wanting to make sourdough bread for ages, but the whole process sounds very intimidating, from the making of the sourdough starter to the baking! I finally took the plunge! 

Sourdough is slow- fermented bread. It does not use commercial yeast, but made with live fermented culture (sourdough starter), which acts as the leavening agent. The sourdough starter (the most basic one) is made by mixing flour and water. The most frustrating part of the whole process is the beginning, the making of the sourdough starter. It took mine, three whole weeks, feeding it with water and flour, before the starter began to grow to almost three times in volume and began to puff and bubbly and ready for baking. 

Meet Bubbles, the starter. It smells nice, yeasty, sour and sweet. 

My first sourdough bread is the most basic one, perfect for a newbie like me, Everyday Sourdough. I mixed the dough and let it rise in the fridge overnight. The next morning, I shape it and left to rise in a cloth-lined banneton for the second and final rise, then invert onto a parchment paper. Scatter some flour on the dough, and rub gently, then score the top with a cross-cut pattern. Transfer the dough together with the parchment paper onto a Dutch Oven, cover and bake in a very hot oven for 20 minutes. Remove the cover and continue to bake for another 30 minutes. Then carefully remove the bread and bake directly on the oven rack for a further 10 minutes to crisp the crust.

Let the bread cool completely before slicing.

Ooh... the crispy sound as the knife cuts into the crust, is like music to my ears! 😊 The crumb is soft with a mild sour taste, very nice!

Spread with butter, and lightly toasted, makes a delicious sandwich with some deli ham, tomato, avocado and lettuce greens. 

Both the starter and the Everyday Sourdough bread recipes are from this fabulous book Artisan Sourdough Made Simple by Emilie Raffa. I love this book and am looking forward to try if not all, then most recipes from it!

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #34 

Friday, October 5, 2018

The Union Square Cafe's Bar Nuts

If you are a nut lover, then do make these! They are addictive, just as Nigella says, "once you eat these, you will never want to stop"!

The nuts I've used are walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia, peanut and almonds. Go easy on the salt. I have reduced the salt to half and thought that I could reduce it further. 

Sweet, salty, spicy, crunchy, and fragrant from the rosemary! This calls for a big glass of cold beer!

The Union Square Cafe's Bar Nuts
(Nigella Bites, by Nigella Lawson)
2-1/4 cups assorted unsalted nuts, including peeled peanuts, cashews, Brazil nuts,
hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans and whole unpeeled almonds
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons Maldon or other sea salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Toss the nuts in a large bowl to combine and spread them out on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven till they become light golden brown, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the rosemary, cayenne, sugar, salt and melted butter.
Thoroughly toss the toasted nuts in the spiced butter and serve warm.

Cookbook Countdown is cooking with Nigella Lawson this month. Make any dish of Nigella and join us. Or simply cook any recipe from any of your cookbook collection (other than Nigella's), and join us at Cookbook Countdown.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #34 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Pasta with Meatballs

What's not to love about meatballs? Cooked in a saucy tomato sauce and top over pasta, makes a satisfying meal. This delicious recipe comes from Nigella Lawson, from her book, Nigella Bites. In her recipe, she served with her homemade pasta, but I have taken the easier route, with dried pasta, Spaghettini, which I had in my pantry.

The meatballs are very tasty. We did enjoy this pasta meal very much!

Pasta with Meatballs
(Nigella Bites, by Nigella Lawson)
for the meatballs :
9 ounces ground pork
9 ounces ground beef
1 egg
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons fine bread crumbs
good grind of black pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Just put everything together in a large bowl and then, using your hands, mix to combine before shaping into small balls (about a teaspoon amount). Place the meatballs on baking sheets or plates that you have lined with plastic wrap, and put each in the refrigerator as you finish them.

for the tomato sauce :
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil (not extra-virgin)
24 ounces canned tomatoes in puree
3/4 cup water
pinch of sugar
salt and pepper
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon while milk (I use 2-3 tablespoons)

Put the onion, garlic and oregano into the processor and blitz to a pulp. Heat the butter and oil in a deep, wide pan, then scrape the onion-garlic mix into it and cook over low to medium heat for about 10 minutes. Don't let the mixture stick, just let it become soft. Add the tomatoes and then add about 3/4 cup cold water to the pan with the pinch of sugar and some salt and pepper, and cook for about 10 minutes. The tomato sauce may appear thin at this stage, but don't worry, as it will thicken a little later. Stir in the milk, and then drop the meatballs in one by one. Don't stir the pan until the meatballs have turned from pink to brown, as you don't want to break them up. Cook everything for about 20 minutes, with the lid only partially covering it. At the end of cooking time, check the seasoning, as you may want more salt and a grind or two more of pepper.

Cookbook Countdown is cooking with Nigella Lawson this month. Make any dish of Nigella and join us. Or simply cook any recipe from any of your cookbook collection (other than Nigella's), and join us at Cookbook Countdown.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #34 

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Spicy Olive Bread

America's Test Kitchen cookbook, Bread Illustrated is one of my favourite baking book on breads. I have made some really nice breads from it and this Spicy Olive Bread is one of them.

There's lots of flavours going on in this bread ; there's red pepper flakes, minced garlic, black and green olives. The dough is mixed using the stand mixer. After the first rising, the dough is knocked back and shaped into a round, the second final rising is done in the Dutch oven.  

Once the dough has risen, the top is slashed with two 1/2 inch deep slashes to form a cross. Cover the Dutch oven and place in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, then remove the cover and continue to bake until the top is deep golden brown, about 25 minutes more.

Cool thoroughly before slicing.

I love the soft crumbs, with all the flavours ; a little spicy kick from the red pepper flakes, a little garlicky taste from the minced garlic, perfect combo with the salty olives. A good thing that I have reduced the salt by half, as I thought that it was perfect with just 1 teaspoon. Lovely bread!

Spicy Olive Bread
(Bread Illustrated, America's Test Kitchen)
3/4 cup pitted olives, rinsed, patted dry, and chopped coarse
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups (16-1/2 ounces) bread flour
2 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
2 teaspoons salt (I use 1 tsp)
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1-1/3 cups (10-2/3 ounces) water, room temperature
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  1. Combine olives and garlic in bowl. Whisk flour, yeast, salt, and pepper flakes together in bowl of stand mixer. Whisk water, sugar and oil in 4-cup liquid measuring cup until sugar has dissolved. Using dough hook on low speed, slowly add water mixture to flour mixture and mix until cohesive dough starts to form and no dry flour remains, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed.
  2. Increase speed to medium-low and knead until dough is smooth and elastic and clears sides of bowl, about 8 minutes. Reduce speed to low, slowly add olive mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, and mix until mostly incorporated, about 1 minute.
  3. Transfer dough and any loose olives to lightly floured counter and knead by hand to form smooth, round ball, about 30 seconds. Place dough seam side down in lightly greased large bowl or container, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in size, 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
  4. Press down on dough to deflate. Turn dough out onto lightly floured counter (side of dough that was against bowl should now be facing up). Press and stretch the dough into 10-inch round.
  5. Working around circumference of dough, fold edges toward centre until ball forms.
  6. Flip dough ball seam side down and, using your cupped hands, drag in small circles on counter until dough feels taut and round and all seams are secured on underside of loaf.
  7. Lay 16 by 12-inch sheet of parchment paper on counter and lightly spray with vegetable oil spray. Transfer loaf seam side down to centre of prepared parchment Using parchment as sling, gently lower dough into Dutch oven. Cover tightly with plastic and let 5rise until loaf increases in sizer by about half and dough springs back minimally when poked gently with your knuckle, 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  8. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Using sharp paring knife or single-edge razor blade, make two 5-inch long, 1/2-inch-deep slashes with swift, fluid motion along top of loaf to form cross.
  9. Cover pot, place in oven, and bake loaf for 30 minutes. Remove lid, reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees, and continue to bake until deep golden brown and loaf registers 205 to 210 degrees, 20 to 25 minutes.
  10. Using parchment sling, remove loaf from pot and transfer to wire rack; discard parchment. Let cool completely, about 3 hours, before serving.
***ATK do not recommend mixing this dough by hand.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #33 

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Roasted Cajun Chicken with Spicy Tomato Salsa

Made this delicious Roasted Cajun Chicken with Spicy Tomato Sauce, with some short-cuts thrown in! Firstly, the recipe uses small whole chickens, butterflied, rub with the marinating spices and barbecued over low heat until cooked through. I have used whole chicken legs, marinated them for an hour and then roast in a preheated oven for an hour until done.

For the Spicy Tomato Salsa, instead of cooking fresh tomatoes over the grill plate, which are then to be chopped coarsely, I have used canned chopped tomatoes with chillies in tomato juice. Omitted the red wine vinegar as the canned tomatoes are already sour, so I have added about a tablespoon of sugar and some salt to taste.

Both the chicken and the tomato salsa are delicious. I've made some potato salad (not pictured) and with some fresh salad greens served alongside, this is one yummy meal! Happy faces at the dinner table! 

Barbecued (Roasted) Cajun Chicken with Spicy Tomato Salsa
(Perfect Roasts, The Australian Women's Weekly)
6 small chickens (3kg) (I use 6 chicken legs)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small brown onion (80gm), grated coarsely
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons each ground cinnamon and fennel
2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt to taste

Spicy Tomato Salsa :
6 large plum tomatoes (540gm), halved (I use canned chopped tomatoes with chillies in tomato juice)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium brown onion (150gm), chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (omitted)
1 fresh long red chilli, chopped finely
  1. Discard neck from chickens. Rinse chicken cavities and pat dry with absorbent paper. Using kitchen scissors, cut along each side of backbones; discard backbones. Turn chicken skin-side up; press down on breastbone to flatten (I use 6 chicken legs)
  2. Combine remaining ingredients ; rub all over chickens. (Marinate for an hour, keep refrigerated. Arrange on baking tray and drizzle some olive oil over chicken pieces).
  3. Cook chicken on heated oiled covered barbecue, over low heat, 35 minutes or until chickens are cooked through. (Roast in a preheated oven, at 200C for an hour, basting the chicken with the juices accumulated in the roasting pan, a couple of times).
  4. Meanwhile, make spicy tomato salsa.
  5. Serve chicken with salsa.
Spicy Tomato Salsa :
Cook tomato on heated oiled grill plate, turning, until softened ; chop tomato coarsely. Heat oil in a medium saucepan; cook onion and garlic, stirring, until onion softens. Add spices; cook, stirring, until fragrant. Stir in tomato, vinegar and chilli; cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes or until salsa thickens. 
(I've used 2 cans of chopped tomatoes with chillies in tomato juice, omitted the vinegar as canned tomatoes are usually a little sour. I've added about 1 tbsp of sugar to balance out the sourness)

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #33 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Char Siu Pork with Snake Beans

A delicious stir-fry veggie dish with char siu. To make it a quick and easy stir-fry, I bought the char siu from the market, complete with the sweet sauce. If you are up to making your own, it is given in the recipe, how to make a simple char siu for this dish.

I microwaved the long beans for 3 minutes on high, and stir-fry them for a few minutes with the rest of the ingredients in step 3, it makes for shorter cooking time.

We love this dish, great with white fluffy rice. Will definitely be cooking this dish again. Would be great with French Beans as well. Yum!

Char Siu Pork with Snake Beans
(Wok Simple, by The Australian Women's Weekly)
200gm pork strips
2 tablespoons char siu sauce
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 shallot (25gm), sliced thinly
1 clove garlic, crushed
100gm snake beans, chopped coarsely
1 tablespoon mirin (I use Hsiao Shing wine)
1/4 cup (50gm) rinsed, drained sliced bamboo shoots (omitted, not a fan of bamboo shoots)
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted

  1. Combine pork, sauces and five-spice in small bowl.
  2. Heat half the oil in wok; stir-fry pork mixture until browned and sticky. Remove from wok.
  3. Heat remaining oil in wok, stir-fry shallot, garlic and beans until beans are tender. Return pork to wok with mirin and bamboo shoots; stir-fry until hot, season to taste. Serve topped with sesame seeds.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #33 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Rum and Raisin Braid

A soft, moist and rum-fragrant bread. Raisins are soaked with half cup of dark rum, then mixed with the rest of the ingredients to form a dough. Let rise until doubled in size, then punch down and divide the dough into three. Roll each piece into a long rope, then braid them together, let rise again until doubled in bulk. Brush the top with egg wash, bake for 35 minutes until golden. 

Some of the raisins got mashed up during the kneading process in the stand mixer. But I thought that is a bonus, as the crumbs are deliciously flavoured with the raisins. I have omitted the glaze drizzled over the cooled braid.

The braid is soft, moist, lightly sweetened from the mashed raisins, and fragrant from the rum. Lovely eaten as it is and makes a wonderful toast, spread with salted butter with a cup of hot coffee for breakfast.

Rum & Raisin Braid
(Simply Bread, by The Australian Women's Weekly)
3/4 cup (110gm) raisins
1/2 cup (125ml) dark rum
3/4 cup (180ml) warm milk
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons (7gm) dried yeast
40gm (1-1/2oz) butter, melted, cooled
3 cups (450gm) plain (all-purpose) flour (I use bread flour)
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
1 egg, beaten slightly
1/2 cup (80gm) icing (confectioners' sugar)
3 teaspoon milk, extra
  1. Place raisins and rum in a small bowl, stand for 30 minutes.
  2. Combine milk, brown sugar and yeast in a small bowl. Stand in a warm place for 10 minutes or until mixture is frothy. Stir in butter.
  3. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add yeast mixture, raisin mixture and two-thirds of the egg (reserve remaining egg in the fridge). mix to a sticky dough. Continue mixing dough with mixer for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
  4. Transfer dough to an oiled large bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Stand in a warm place for 1-1/2 hours or until dough has doubled in size.
  5. Grease an oven tray. Punch down dough with your fist; turn onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into three portions. Roll each portion into a 35cm (14 in) long rope. Place dough lengths on oven tray, pressing the tops together to join; cross lengths over and under each other to form a plait. Press ends to join; tucking ends under. Cover with oiled plastic wrap. Stand in a warm place for 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size. 
  6. Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
  7. Brush braid with reserved egg. Bake for 35 minutes (I baked for 42 minutes), or until golden and sounds hollow when tapped on base. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  8. Sift icing sugar into a small bowl; stir in extra milk. Drizzle glaze over braid.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #33 

Monday, September 3, 2018

Hazelnut Pinwheels

These pinwheels makes a nice snack with a cup of hot coffee, tea or even milk. The filling for the swirls is simply chocolate hazelnut spread with some hazelnut meal. The dough is mixed in the food processor, knead briefly by hand then chill for 1 hour. The chilled dough is then rolled out and spread with chocolate hazelnut spread (I've used nutella), and sprinkle with some hazelnut meal. Roll the dough, refrigerate for 30 minutes, then cut into 1cm slices. Bake for 20 minutes.

These are super easy to make. I did however, reduce the sugar to just 50grams and thought that it was perfect, without being overly sweet. Delightful little treats, great for snacking!

Hazelnut Pinwheels
(Cakes Biscuits & Slices, The Australian Women's Weekly)
1-1/4 cups (185gm) plain flour
100gm butter, chopped
1/2 cup (110gm) caster sugar (I use 50gm)
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon milk, approximately
1/3 cup (110gm) chocolate hazelnut spread
2 tablespoons hazelnut meal

  1. Preheat oven to moderate (180C/160C fan-forced). Grease oven trays; line with baking paper.
  2. Process flour, butter and sugar until crumbly. Add egg yolk; process with enough milk until mixture forms a ball. Knead dough on lightly floured surface until smooth; cover, refrigerate 1 hour.
  3. Roll dough between sheets of baking paper to form 20cmx30cm rectangle, remove top sheet of paper. Spread dough evenly with hazelnut spread; sprinkle with hazelnut meal. Using paper as a guide, roll dough tightly from long side to enclose filling. Enclose roll in plastic wrap, refrigerate 30 minutes.
  4. Remove plastic; cut roll into 1cm slices. Place slices on trays 2cm apart. Bake about 20 minutes. Stand pinwheels on trays 5 minutes; transfer to wire rack to cool.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #33