Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Easy Boiled Fruit Cake

christmas cake

1kg dried fruits (raisins, currants, sultanas, dates, apricots, etc)
125 ml brandy

250g butter, cut into cubes
100g dark brown sugar
60g raw sugar
1 can (440g) crushed pineapple
125ml orange juice or water
zest of 1 orange
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp Dutch-processed cocoa powder (optional)
1/2 tbsp instant coffee granules (optional)
1/2 tsp soda bicarbonate

4 eggs, lightly beaten

185g self-raising flour
185g plain flour
60g walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped

60 ml brandy, extra - for brushing

For decorations:
100g blanched almonds
red glace cherries

  • Combine ingredients (A) in a large bowl. Cover and set aside to soak for at least 24 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • In a saucepan, combine the macerated dried fruits and all the ingredients (B). Stir over medium heat until butter is melted and the sugar dissolved. Bring to the boil. Remove from heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl to cool.
  • Stir beaten eggs (C) into the cooled fruit mixture.
  • Add in ingredients (D) - sifted flours and walnuts. Mix to combine.
  • Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan (see Note 2), smoothing the top with the back of a wet spoon.
  • If desired, decorate the top of the batter with nuts and glace cherries. 
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 150°C for about 1 hour 45 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. The centre of the cake should feel firm when pressed gently. 
  • Remove cake from oven. Brush the hot cake with extra brandy. Cover tightly with foil while cake is still in the pan and then wrap the pan in a tea towel. Allow to cool completely.
  • Once the cake is cool, remove from the pan. Tightly wrap it in plastic wrap,and store in the refrigerator.

Note 1:  For this recipe, you can make -
  • one 23cm round cake, or
  • two 15cm square cakes plus one 8" x 4" cake; or
  • four 8" x 4 " cakes.
Note 2:  To prepare the tin, line the base and sides of the pan with two layers of brown paper and two layers of baking paper, bringing the paper 5cm above the edge of the pan.

Note 3:  Fruit cakes taste better with age, so let it mature for at least 2 - 3 weeks before eating.  During this time, keep brushing the cake with brandy regularly.

Soft Wholemeal Bread

Wholemeal flour will turn rancid if left at room temperature for extended periods of time. Instead of buying wholemeal bread flour in bulk and also to save costs, I've decided to mix wheat germ and bran to the white bread flour to make wholemeal flour.  This way you can experiment and make adjustment to the ratio of flours, germ and bran.  Bear in mind that wholemeal flour absorb more liquid than plain flour, therefore it is necessary to use more water or milk in the dough.  Otherwise the bread will turn out like dense bricks!

Ingredients:  For 1 loaf of bread

Water-Roux or Tangzhong Dough:  Refer here on how to cook the water-roux
20g bread flour
100g water or milk

Main Dough:
245g bread flour
5g organic wheat bran
5g organic wheat germ
5g milk powder (optional)
10g chia seeds
25g caster sugar
5g salt
4g instant dried yeast
30g egg, lightly beaten
100g yogurt or milk
90g tangzhong dough
30g butter, cut into small pieces

  • In the bowl of the stand mixer, combine all the main dough ingredients together, except butter. With the dough hook attached, mix until the dough comes together.
  • Add in the butter gradually.  Continue mixing until dough is smooth, shiny and elastic; and passed the window pane test. 
  • Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with cling wrap.  Let it rise until doubled in bulk.
  • Punch down the dough to release trapped air.  Roll into a ball, cover and let it rest for 15 minutes to give the gluten a chance to relax which will help with the shaping of the loaf later.
  • Flatten the dough into a rectangle with the heels of your hands.  Roll up tightly like swiss rolls and place into a lightly greased loaf pan.  Cover with cling wrap and leave to rise until almost doubled.
  • Slash the top of the dough with a razor blade and brush with egg wash.
  • Bake in a preheated oven of 175°C for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Remove bread from the oven and let it cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Macadamia Crusted Chorizo Pasta


Ingredients: (for 2 persons)
250g spaghetti
70g macadamia nuts
100g chorizo
70g cherry tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, grated
50g crumbled fetta cheese
olive oil
black pepper

  • In a hand blender, chop macadamia nuts coarsely
  • Cut chorizo into small cubes or you can blend it coarsely in a blender.
  • Heat about 1/2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan, put in chorizo, macadamia, salt and black pepper. Fry them until crispy.  Set aside in the pan.
  • Meanwhile, place cherry tomatoes into a tray. Drizzle some olive oil over them and season with salt and black pepper.  Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for about 20 minutes or until blistered and starting to burst.  Remove from oven.
  • Cook spaghetti until al dente
  • Toss the hot spaghetti into the chorizo and macadamia mixture.  Add in roasted tomatoes and fetta cheese which will melt slightly.  Season with more black pepper. Drizzle with a little olive oil and serve hot.

Friday, December 2, 2016

"Mushroom" Bread

Saw these cute "Mushroom" Bread posted on Instagram by le.chiffon18 and after getting some tips from her, I just couldn't wait to try making these impressive little gems. 

What you need is -  a couple of mini muffin pans and your favourite bread dough.  To add a depth of flavour to the otherwise plain white bread, I added some grated Parmesan cheese and garlic powder. After the first prove, divide the dough into portions of 20g each and place them into the greased mini muffin pan.  

Brush the paste over the dough, cover and let them rise ...

.... until doubled in size before putting them into the oven.

Bake for about 25 minutes at 180°C

To prepare the paste, mix the following together:
       2 tbsp rice flour
       2 tbsp dark cocoa powder
       1/8 tsp sugar
       4 tbsp water

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