24 May, 2010

Babies in the kitchen!

Today was baby day in the kitchen! Cath and baby Charlie came to visit his girlfriend Isabella...the reason for baking day yesterday.

Cath was going to make treacle scones but there are times when babies and baking just DON'T go together so we ended up with some yummy passionfruit and white chocolate scones from Bakers Delight.......plus what we'd made yesterday.

All in all a wonderful breakfast at 11am!

Sunday often seems to be Baking Day

Today became baking day because Cath and baby Charlie are coming tomorrow to visit.

Once Sarah and I start baking it's hard to stop. Today we made puff pastries with chocolate filling, chocolate chip biscuits, gingerbread cake and two date and chocolate rolls. There seems to be a bit of a chocolate theme running through the cooking. Life is SWEETER with chocolate! The 2 leftover bits of puff were filled, one with jam and cream and one with my lime curd and cream.....the puff pastry delicacies became the cooks reward!

I've never made anything in a nut roll tin..they've always scared me! They sort of look like everything will fall out one end BUT I know my grandma used to make rolls all the time so I figured it was one thing I had to do before I died and today was the day that I broke out Ma's two nut roll tins and risked a mess in the oven. Thank goodness she had two of them because that's what the recipe called for. It was originally a "Milly's Kitchen" recipe but (as always) I've changed it a bit!

Date and Nut/Chocolate Roll Recipe
240g dates, chopped
3/4 cup boiling water
125g butter
3/4 cup raw sugar
1 egg
1.25 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup plain flour
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (though we used CHOPPED DARK CHOCOLATE instead, I don't think I'd use milk chocolate as I don't think it would taste as good, the dark stuff goes with the spice so well)

Place dates in a bowl and cover with the boiling water. Leave for 30 minutes to soak. Beat the butter and sugar and then add the egg. Stir in the dates with the water and then add the dry ingredients. Mix well and add the CHOCOLATE (or nuts)!
Spray the inside of 2 nut loaf pans with oil and divide the mixture evenly between the two tins. Make sure the lid is on the bottom BEFORE adding the mixture! Put the top lids on and bake upright on a tray in a moderate oven for about an hour.
Let cakes stand in tins, with lids on, for about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

We had to try some before tomorrow's play date of course. They were BEAUTIFUL with a smear (??) of butter. It is one recipe I will definitely be using again and again and again..............well you get the drift!

21 May, 2010

Mexican Mole Sauce

I'm making an interesting "beef" stew later in the current menu cycle but when I went looking for recipes for this particular ingredient (all will be revealed AFTER the family has tried it!!) I found one I wanted to use but it used canned/bottled pre-made mole sauce, unavailable where I live. The recipe was American SO I decided to research mole sauce and make my own.

Here's the recipe I came up with. I wanted something fairly easy and some of them were extraordinarily hard but also something close to real and at least in keeping with the Mexican original.

Mole Sauce Recipe
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tbs cocoa powder or 35g dark chocolate (I used Lindt 70%, only because I had a bar and the chocolate seemed more original than the cocoa)
1 heaped tsp cumin seeds
1 heaped tsp coriander seeds
2.5cm piece of cinnamon
1.5 cups tomato "sauce".......pureed tomatoes
fresh chillies (I used 2 fresh from the garden and 2 from a Mexican pickled chilli jar)

Grind the cumin, coriander and cinnamon in a mortar and pestle.
Heat the oil and fry the onion, garlic, chilli and ground spices for about 10 minutes on a medium heat till the onion is very soft.
Add the tomato sauce and use water to thin a bit if your tomatoes are very thick.
Cook for about 30 minutes till thick again (the water seems a touch stupid doesn't it? But you need the cooking time to amalgamate all the flavours!)
Add salt to taste.
Add in the chopped chocolate and cook a further 5 to 10 minutes.

Voila! Yummy and easy Mole Sauce.

You could try it with chicken, rice, beans, tomato, salad leaves and avocado wrapped in a tortilla....................though like I said, mine will be stored in the fridge for a few days in anticipation of a special recipe coming up soon!

18 May, 2010

Sautéed Kale

Tonight I cooked kale for the first time! It is in season and seems to be a bit trendy at the moment.

The Recipe
bunch of young kale, stems removed, coarsely chopped
1 large clove garlic, chopped finely
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable stock
salt and pepper
2 tbs red wine vinegar

Heat the oil and fry the garlic till soft. Add the kale and stock and cook till tender and the stock has evaporated. Add salt and pepper to taste and then the vinegar.

I guess if you liked kale it might be OK but I've decided, along with my entire family, that it will never be on our shopping list again! Ryan ate it but only because he HATES chucking out food that is meant to be good for you...............the rest of us had no worries putting it in the bin!

The pan fried whiting, mashed potato, carrots and cauliflower were alright though!