Sunday, 30 September 2012

Seafood Chowder

Chowder always reminds of the time when my then-boyfriend MrD, who came back from a business trip in the US some nearly 30 years ago. He told me how awesome the food he had over there was, and the one in particular that stuck in my head was the seafood chowder.

Well, me being me, I saw this as a challenge.

So, one day, I took it upon myself to cook him this unfamiliar cream-base soup (probably much to my mom's annoyance -- well, to be fair, she did not say anything but her actions speak louder...hahaha, Mama, if you happen to read this, I LOVE YOU muy grande!)
Luckily for me, my mom loves to collect recipe books, so there was enough information and recipes for me to work with. You see, back then we had no web-based information, no internet to speak of, and my computer was a clunky 256kb pretty-much-useless piece of massive paperweight.
Research still had to be done at your friendly neighbourhood library.

Oh, you lucky, lucky lot nowadays!!!

 Seafood Chowder

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion , chopped
1 tbsp plain flour
800ml vegetable stock
500g new small potatoes , halved
pinch mace
1/2 tsp  cayenne powder
1/2 tsp white pepper
smoked haddock
100ml single cream
small bunch parsley

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, then add the onion. Cook for 8-10 minutes until the onion is soft. Stir in the flour, then cook for a further 2 minutes.
Pour in the fish stock and bring it up to a gentle simmer.
Add the potatoes, cover, then simmer for 10-12 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through.
Add the mace, cayenne powder and white pepper and some seasoning.
Tip the fish mix into the pan, gently simmer for 4 minutes.
Add the cream and mussels, then simmer for 1 minute more.
Check the seasoning and sprinkle with some finely chopped parsley.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Rick Stein's Sicilian Orange Cake

Rick Stein's Sicilian Orange Cake

250g lightly salted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
250g caster sugar
4 medium eggs
1½ teaspoons finely grated orange zest
250g self-raising flour
85ml freshly squeezed orange juice

Preheat the oven to 170C.
Grease and line a 22cm clip-sided round cake tin with non-stick baking paper, or in my case, I'm using a 10-inch bundt pan.
Using an electric whisk, cream the butter and sugar together for 4-5 minutes until very pale.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each one.
Beat in the orange zest.
Add the flour all at once and mix in well, then slowly mix in the orange juice.
Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 45-50 minute.
Leave the cake, in its tin, to cool on a wire rack.
Once the cake is complete cool, put it onto a serving plate.

For the icing
(this recipe makes for a thinner consistency)

125g icing sugar
6 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and stir in the orange juice until you have a spreadable consistency.
Spread it over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides, and leave to set.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Sweet Potato Crisp

A healthier option
Oven-baked Low-fat Sweet Potato Crisp

All you need to do is thinly slice the potatoes. To do this you can use the food processor or if you're feeling lucky, the mandolin yields better looking slices.

Preheat the oven to 100C
Spread the sliced potatoes thinly on a baking tray.
Lightly spritz some canola oil onto the potatoes, making sure all side are thinly coated with oil.
Bake for 45-60 minutes until crispy and golden brown, checking and turning the slices ever so often to prevent any soggy bottoms (now, we don't want that, do we!)
Once baked, sprinkle with some sea salt and your favourite herbs and/or spices. In this instance, I'm using ground cumin.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Apple Walnut Cinnamon Muffin

Apple Walnut Cinnamon Muffin

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
4 oz butter, melted

Preheat oven to 170C.

Whisk together sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
Add chopped apples and walnuts; toss to coat.

In another bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk and butter.
Gently fold buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture until just combined.
Divide batter among muffin cups.
Bake for about 18 - 20 minutes.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Gooseberry Almond and Orange Cake

Gooseberry Almond and Orange Cake

225g butter
225g caster sugar
4 eggs
125g self-raising flour
100g ground almonds
zest of 1 large orange
350g gooseberries, topped and tailed

for the syrup:
100g sugar
juice of 1 large orange

Preheat the oven to 160C fan. 
Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. 
Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition.  
Fold in the the flour and the ground almonds using a large metal spoon; scrape into a buttered, 20cm springform cake tin.
Toss the gooseberries with the remaining 75g caster sugar and spread them over the top of the cake. Bake for 30–35 minutes.  
The cake is ready when a skewer inserted into its centre comes out clean. 
Stir the orange juice and granulated sugar together, spoon over the surface of the warm cake.
Leave it to cool in the tin, then carefully remove the ring and the base. 
Best serve warm with a dollop of creme patissiere.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Marble Cake

Stuck with too many egg whites frozen in the freezer?
Here's one for you to try

Marble Cake
Recipe adapted from Aunty Yochana

360 g egg whites (from 10-12 eggs)
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
200 g sugar

2 egg yolks
20 g sugar

250g flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp milk
220 g melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
20 g cocoa powder

Sift together flour and baking powder and a pinch of salt.

In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. 
Add 200g sugar gradually and continue beating until meringue will hold up in soft peaks.

In another bowl, beat egg yolks with the remaining sugar until pale and creamy. 
Add in the vanilla extract and melted butter into the creamy mixture.
Gently fold in the flour and milk.
Add meringue and mix in thoroughly into the batter.
Divide the mixture between two bowls. Stir the cocoa powder into the mixture in one of the bowls.
Take two spoons and use them to dollop the chocolate and vanilla batter into the tin alternately.
When all the mixture has been used up, tap the tin on your work surface to ensure there aren't any air bubbles.
Bake in 170C for 40-45 minutes.