Wednesday, November 26, 2008

TWD: Thansgiving Twofer Pie

This week's recipe is a combo of pumpkin and pecan pie. Now, we obviously don't celebrate Thansgiving in NZ, and I have never made pumpkin or pecan pie before, so I wanted to make this to try what seem to be American traditions. Unfortunately, I had to race out the door to work yesterday at 1pm, so I left it for the family to try first. I didn't get home til after midnight, but noticed half the pie had gone...always a good I cut myself a little sliver. Mmmmm, this was scrummy, so I cut myself another sliver. Oh my gosh, and that was not enough. Blow it, I helped myself to a hunk and sat down to enjoy it!!

What a yummy blend of flavours. It was easy to make. I used store bought pastry rather than making my own. I had a triffid pumpkin grow last autumn with a ton of pumpkins so I used one of those to make the puree. I have never seen pumpkin puree in a can before, and I am not even sure if you can buy it here. I followed the rest of the recipe exactly. I had to cook it for a little longer than recommended though.

Vibi from La casserole caree chose this week's recipe. You can find the recipe on her blog. And please check out what the other TWD bakers thought as well.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

TWD - Arborio Rice Pudding

I have not been cooking much at all lately. Been hideously busy at work, so doing lots of overtime. As I work 12 hour days, it does not leave a lot of extra time at the end of the day to venture into the kitchen. Plus I have been trying to finish a post graduate paper. It is very easy to get distracted by food, the garden or the computer, so I decided no internet until I finished the paper! And I have just come back from a small holiday in Oz. So, this week is really the first chance I have had to catch up on reading all the blogs, and actually getting back into the kitchen again.

I have joined the Tuesdays with Dorie group in which we bake an item from Dorie Greenspan's book "Baking: From my home to yours" each week. I already use this book a lot and it is definitely one of my favs.

This week's recipe is Arborio Rice Pudding. This is one of those great comfort foods that I remember from my childhood. I haven't had Rice Pudding for years. Both my mother and grandmother always added juicy plump raisins to the pudding and we often had different variations of it. I remember the last time I made it was about 10 years ago when I had a Japanese friend staying with me. He was quite disgusted by the fact that we used rice in a dessert. He likened it to having potato in a pudding if he was to make it for me. That does kind of sound eeewww!

Anyway, with the kids harping for a pudding I decided to make it last night. Again, like many of the others I wish I had read the message board first as I only cooked it for 35 minutes instead of 50. Apparently the 35 minutes in the book is a typo and it should be cooked for longer! It was still quite runny, but definitely edible. I added lots of raisins cos that is just how rice pudding should be!! There is a chocolate version too, but I had no chocolate so decided to juct make the vanilla version.

I would definitely make this again. It got the thumbs up from everyone here. See what the other TWD bakers thought. Thanks to Ina at Les Gourmandes d'Isa for choosing this recipe which is on her blog.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Oat Bran & Apple Muffins

I have decided to we need to eat more healthily. Not that we ever really eat a high fat diet or badly, but the pounds creep on over winter and with the warmer weather, that only means one thing...the layers of clothing need to be shed and the flab starts getting exposed!! We are off to the Gold Coast in a couple of weeks and the thought of putting on my bikini at the moment frightens me [and will probably frighten the rest of the swimmers as well :-)]

I love muffins but they are so high in fat. They make a good snack for the kids after school or for the lunchboxes, but thought I would try making a healthy version. I had a couple of apples in the fruitbowl, some buttermilk in the fridge that was near its due date so wanted something that combined these two things. Found a few recipes but nothing that looked particularly low fat so decided to make my own version adapted from Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins.

They were pretty good. Got a thumbs up from the kids and Tony. Next time I would probably put the cinnamon sugar topping on. I think they would be nicer warm rather than cold as well. It is a pretty wet mixture, but I think there is nothing worse than a dry muffin.

Oat Bran & Apple Muffins

I cup wholemeal flour
1 cup oat bran
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup raisins
2 egg whites
1 cup chopped apple
1¼ cups buttermilk

Mix dry ingredients into a bowl.

Whisk egg whites lightly. Add chopped apple and buttermilk and mix.

Quickly mix the wet ingredients into the dry. Do not over-mix or muffins will be tough.

Spray muffin pans and spoon muffin mixture into pans.

Combine equal measure of cinnamon and sugar and top each muffin with this mixture.

Bake 180 degrees C for approx 15-20 minutes.

Makes 12

Friday, October 17, 2008

Apple Bread

A friend of mine gave me a recipe years ago that I made, loved, but never ever made again. I discovered it when I was having a sort-out of my recipes just the other day. I try only to collect recipes that I know I will make otherwise I end up with piles of magazines, bits of paper with recipes scribbled on them and notes jotted down here and there. I had bought myself a book to file all these jottings into and it was while I was doing this that I discovered this long lost recipe.

This Apple Bread is one of those comfort foods, when one piece is never enough. In fact, between three hungry kids and myself we polished it off for afternoon tea! *blush* The kids have begged me to make it again but, like any bread it needs time for rising and all in all it takes about 4 hours at least to make. However, it is very easy and well worth making.

Apple Bread

1¼ tsp yeast
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp butter
2 cups flour
½ tsp salt
180 mls water

1½ cups chopped or grated apple
1 tbsp flour
2 tbsp butter
⅓ cup brown sugar
2 tbsp raisins
⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
⅛ tsp salt
⅛ tsp cinnamon

Put dough ingredients into breadmaker and set on dough setting.

Cook filling in pot stirring until apple is tender. Remove from heat.

Roll dough into a 32cm x 20cm rectangle on floured surface. Spread apple filling over centre third of rectangle.

Make cuts from filling to edge of dough at 2.5cm intervvals along each side of rectangle to make strips. Fold strips at an angle over filling alternating sides.

Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30-45 minutes.

Heat oven to 180 degrees Celcius and bake for 30 mins.


Monday, October 6, 2008

Lemon Curd

And with all those left over egg yolks, I had to find a recipe to use them up. I didn't feel like making hollandaise or aioli. After the hammering my arteries have taken from that Devil's Food White-Out Cake and all that junk food on Sunday, I thought I had best stay away from butter and oil. However, my daughter loves Lemon Curd (or Lemon Honey), especially on toast in the morning, so after a quick Google perusal, I found an easy recipe on the Australian Cuisine site.

I made this in about 10 minutes literally. It was very easy. The most time consuming part was making the lemon zest!! It only made one jar, but has a yummy tart flavour which I prefer to anything too sweet. Mmmmm, breakfast with homemade wholegrain bread, toasted just enough with lashings of melted butter and lemon curd.....Okay, okay, so maybe this isn't such a healthy choice after all!!

I settled for scones and lemon curd for afternoon tea. Used my new book "Ladies, A Plate please" which had an interesting variation of using cream instead of butter. Much easier than rubbing all that butter into the flour. Would definitely make both the scones and the lemon curd again.

I have had a busy week with little time for the computer. Needed to go to Wellington again for the last part of my university course. I did manage to fit in a quick visit to Moore Wilson though :-). Added a couple more cookbooks to my collection (like I need any more!!).... 50 Great Curries of India and Ladies, A Plate, and a candy thermometer. Lots of reminiscing in the latter book with cakes and biscuits I remember from my childhood. Some of my favourites are now my kids' favourites.

Been a busy weekend. Went to the Home and Garden Show in Hamilton on Saturday and got a phone call last night to say I had won the $1300 expresso machine and coffee grinder that the Red Cherry Cafe had up for grabs. I had bought some coffee beans and that entitled me to enter the draw. I was stoked and couldn't really believe it. I never win anything so I was very excited. I am such a coffee addict, so it will be a very welcome addition to my kitchen. The Red Cherry Cafe roasts its own beans and they do make very nice lattes! Not sure if I will be able to match them but it will be nice doing brunch on the deck with a mug of freshly brewed coffee.

Last night was my stepson's 10th birthday. It is a family tradition to have a meal and celebration with the family on special occasions like this. The birthday person gets to choose whatever they want for the meal, so his request was pizza, fries and cheerios. Pretty typical for a 10 year old boy and we just ignore any Heart Foundation warnings on this day!!! For his birthday cake he chose Devil's Food White-Out Cake by Dorie Greenspan.

I have always admired this cake on the front of Dorie's book, so what better opportunity than a birthday for it to make its debut. Unfortunately, my cake pans were a fraction too big, so it gave quite a thin layer of cake once it was halved. However, they were just what I had on hand, so I had to make do. The marshmallow frosting was easy enough to make, but it seemed to take ages for the syrup to heat to the right temperature, but my new candy thermometer came in very handy for this. The kids loved the cake, as did the hubby. It was very brownie-like with an interesting flavour coming from the marshmallow frosting. It didn't get the recommended time to refrigerate before cutting so was a bit crumbly, but certainly didn't detract from the flavour. It certainly kept his layers better today when I cut it.

Devil's Food White-Out Cake
From: Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

For the cake:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup (packed) light brown sugar
½ cup sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
½ cup buttermilk or whole milk, at room temperature
½ cup boiling water
4 ounces semisweet or milk chocolate, finely chopped, or 2/3 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips

For the filling and frosting:
½ cup egg whites (about 4 large)
1 cup sugar
¾ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Getting ready:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter two 8-x-2-inch round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottoms with wax or parchment paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

To make the cake:
Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugars and continue to beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, beating for 1 minutes after each addition. Beat in the vanilla; don’t be concerned if the mixture looks curdled. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the melted chocolate. When it is fully incorporated, add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients); scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter. At this point, the batter will be thick, like frosting. Still working on low speed, mix in the boiling water, which will thin the batter considerably. Switch to a rubber spatula, scrape down the bowl and stir in the chopped chocolate. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with the rubber spatula.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point. When fully bakes, the cakes will be springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the centers will come out clean. Don’t worry if the tops have a few small cracks. Transfer the cake pans to a rack and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up. (The cooled cakes layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.)

When you are ready to fill and frost the cake, inspect the layers. If the cakes have crowned, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them. With the same knife, slice each layer horizontally in half. Set 3 layers aside and crumble the fourth layer; set the crumbs aside.

To make the filling and frosting:
Put the egg whites in a clean, dry mixer bowl or in another large bowl. Have a candy thermometer at hand.

Put the sugar, cream of tartar and water in a small saucepan and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, cover the pan and boil 3 minutes. Uncover and allow the syrup to boil until it reaches 242° F on the candy thermometer. While the syrup is cooking, start beating the egg whites.

When the syrup is about 235° F, begin beating the egg whites on medium speed with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer. If the whites form firm, shiny peaks before the syrup reaches temperature, reduce the mixer speed to low and keep mixing the whites until the syrup catches up. With the mixer at medium speed, and standing back slightly, carefully pour in the hot syrup, pouring it between the beater(s) and the side of the bowl. Splatters are inevitable – don’t try to scrape them into the whites, just carry on. Add the vanilla extract and keep beating the whites at medium speed until they reach room temperature, about 5 minutes. You should have a smooth, shiny, marshmallowy frosting. Although you could keep it in the fridge in a pinch, it’s really better to use it right now.

To assemble the cake: Put a bottom layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or on a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. Using a long metal icing spatula, cover the layer generously with frosting. Top with a second layer, cut side up, and frost it. Finish with the third layer, cut side down, and frost the sides and top of the cake. Don’t worry about smoothing the frosting – it should be swirly. Now, cover the entire cake with the chocolate cake crumbs, gently pressing the crumbs in to the filling with your fingers.

Refrigerate the cake for about 1 hour before serving. (If its more convenient, you can chill the cake for 8 hours or more; cover it loosely and keep it away from foods with strong odors.)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Gluten free lunch: Friands & Quinoa Salad

I have a very good friend who is gluten free and she was popping out for lunch today. Now, I knew Dorie Greenspan's chocolate chunkers were probably a no-go for a gluten-free lunch ;-) so I decided to check out a few blogs for some inspiration. Since we are heading into spring, I wanted something light and fresh.... maybe with a hint of herbs and crisp spring flavours.

Heidi at 101 cookbooks always has yummy, and very healthy recipes so I headed there. Found 2 great recipes...Lemon-scented quinoa salad recipe and Delicious big bowl - quinoa recipe. Hmm, which one to choose as they both sounded yummy, so I did a quick ingredients check.....Ok didn't have the entire ingredients for either of them, so amalgamated both the recipes. I added in asparagus (my first asparagus of the season, I have been waiting for this), cherry tomatoes, red onion and toasted pinenuts to the cooked quinoa and finished it with a lemon and garlic dressing and lashings of coriander. By now, you must know I love this herb, much to the disgust of the kids who always mutter, Oh no, not that smelly green grass again Mum!!!!

Quinoa is a fascinating grain. I love the way it goes from a hard, little ball and metamorphoses (is that a word, even?) into an alien looking worm thing. It is an ancient grain with a high nutritional value. It is light and fluffy when cooked, not unlike couscous, and has a slight nutty flavour. It is a versatile grain and can be used in loads of different ways. I prefer it as a salad and the beauty is that you can add whatever you like to it to have as a side dish or as a complete meal.

To finish we had Lemon and Blueberry Friands with coffee. A friand is a small French cake made with almond meal, egg whites, sugar and butter. Often fruit, such as berries, peaches or apples are added as well. They are crunchy on the outside, but light and sweet and melt in your mouth on the inside. These got another "Wow" from the Quality Control Inspector, as he tried to sneak a couple more from the plate when I wasn't looking.

The recipe I used for these was one by Allyson Gofton called Lemon Poppy Seed Friands. I didn't have any poppy seeds so omitted them. And to jazz them up a bit I pushed in 3 blueberries to the top of each friand before they went into the oven. Once they were cooked, I poured a lemon syrup over them. Mmmmm.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Chicken & Spinach Curry

I was at the library the other day and came across a book called 50 Great Curries of India by Camellia Panjabi. It had lots of great photos in it with clear instructions, as well as descriptions and photos of all the ingredients you would be likely to use in Indian cuisine. A brief history is also given of Indian cooking and the variations between the different regions. I loved the big, glossy photos as I really like being able to visualise the recipes. My mouth was watering as I was glancing though the book. So I tucked it under my arm with firm intentions of cooking a curry that night.

It was really hard to decide which one to make. Some interesting recipes...Watermelon Curry for example, which is a summer curry, along with the more familiar curries like Rogan Josh and Pork Vindaloo. And of course, recipes for all the side dishes and breads. What is an Indian meal with some type of roti to mop up all that yummy juice so I settled on chapatis first

I really wanted to make the Chicken Cooked with Lentils and Vegetables but I didn't have all the ingredients so decided to make just a "Simple Homestyle Curry" that Camellia recommends as being very easy and delicious. As a PS, I went and bought all the ingredients for the previous dish and made it last night. It was divine and gobbled up so fast, there wasn't even time to take photos!! In fact, everyone was scrapping over who was going to get the last bit of juice in the bottom of the dish!! I served the Simple Homestyle Curry with basmati rice and the chapattis that were so easy to make.

I will definitely be purchasing this book, and I see she has a more recent edition out. I would be interested in knowing which are some of your favourite Indian cookbooks?

Simple Homestyle Curry
2 chicken breast fillets (or whatever meat you want)
4 tbsps oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ inch square piece of fresh ginger, chopped
¾ tsp coriander powder
pinch of turmeric
¼ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp garam masala
1 tsp paprika
2 tomatoes, chopped
chopped coriander to garnish

Heat oil in pan. Add onion and saute over medium heat for about 20-25 mins or until deep brown.

Add garlic and ginger and fry for 1 minute. Add coriander powder and stir for a further minute.Add remainder of spices and saute for 30 seconds. Add 1 cup of water and cook for 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add salt to taste.

Add chicken. I also added spinach. Add 1-2 cups of water, depending on how thick you like your curries, and cook for further 15 mintes.

Sprinkle with chopped coriander leaves.

1 cup chapati flour or wholemeal flour
⅓ cup warm water
2 tsps oil

Mix all ingredients together to make a dough. I used my stand mixer with the dough hook. Mix for about 8 minutes as this will make the final product softer in texture.

Preheat griddle or pan to a high heat. Break into 12 balls and roll out on floured surface. They should stretch to a thin pancake about 6 inches in diameter.

Cook until brown spots appear, then flip chapati over til the other side is cooked.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Caramel Tarts

I have always had a weakness for caramel. My husband also has a weakness for caramel. If we go out for coffee, I can guarantee that he will always, always, always get a piece of chocolate caramel slice or, heaven forbid they don't have any, then the next closest caramelly, gooey cake he can spot. However, chocolate comes a close second for him, and he is easily pleased, so he is never left wanting for any length of time.

I came home from work one day to find a recipe for Caramel Pecan Slice surreptiously placed on the kitchen bench where he knew I would find it. No prizes for subtlety, that's for sure. First off, he gets brownie points for showing an interest in my passion (even if it ultimately rewards him lol). Secondly, he scored a few more points for actually finding the recipe and recognising it as something worth making. If it is not part of a car mag or Repco mailer, he is unlikely to deem it as anything important! Apparently it came in his health insurance invoice, which is kind of ironic given the ingredients in it....this recipe is more likely to induce cardiac disease than prevent it!!

So the plan was that I would make this today for him. However, while I was having my morning coffee, my daughter thrust a Foodtown magazine under my nose and begged me to make the Caramel Tarts that were so wantonly displaying themselves on Page 78. What sort of mother would I be if I turned her down, so Caramel Tarts it was and the Caramel Pecan Slice will just have to wait until later in the week.

Well, they were very easy to make. I even thought about cheating and using store bought pastry, but didn't have any. However, in as much time it would have taken pre-made pastry to defrost, I had this pastry whipped up in the food processor and resting in the fridge. The caramel sauce was easy peasy to make and I made sure there was enough left over for a quality control check ;-)

The recipe uses 2 Texas muffin tins. I only had one, so used a normal muffin tin and just cut the pastry a bit smaller. I cooked them for a couple of minutes less as well. The testing panel rated them 10 out of 10 and I must agree they were pretty D-I-V-I-N-E!!! (We actually served them with a scoop of ice cream as well).

Caramel Tarts
1½ cups flour
½ cup sugar
125g cold butter, cubed
1 egg yolk
½ tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsps iced water

395g can sweetened condensed milk
75g butter
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tbsps golden syrup
3-4 tbsps flaked almonds to decorate

To make the pastry, place the flour, butter and sugar into a food processor and process for 20-30 seconds until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add egg yolk, vanilla essence and water and pulse until mixture comes together. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

To make the caramel, put all the ingredients in a saucepan (except almonds!) and stir over a medium heat until combined.

When ready to bake, spray 2 Texan muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray (or whatever size muffin pans you have). preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until it is about 2-3 mm thick. Using a 9cm cutter, cut 12 rounds from the pastry and press them gently into the bottom of the muffin pans. The pastry should come up the sides about 1cm. If using smaller pans, adjust the size of the rounds accordingly.

Spoon the caramel into the pastry shells, filling almost to the top. Sprinkle with the flaked almonds and bake in the lower part of the oven for about 20 minutes or until lightly golden. they may need a shorter cooking time if using smaller pans. Cool for 10 mins before lifting out onto a cooling rack.

Source: Foodtown magazine, June/July 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Moroccan Bean Soup

I absolutely love the Watties Moroccan Bean Soup that you can buy from the supermarket so thought I would have a go at making my own. It's perfect for taking for lunch and dinner with a big hunk of home made bread when I am on a 12 hour shift.

It's not authentic Moroccan fare by any means, but I love the blend of flavours in this soup. In fact it is even unusual that I have made two Moroccan meals in such a short space of time. I am more likely to whip up Indian or Asian meals than Moroccan.

So I used the No Knead Spelt Bread recipe that is fast becoming a favourite in this house. It was such a glorious sunny day yesterday that it took no time at all for it to rise and I got 2 big loaves out of it. While that was rising I cooked the beans and prepared the rest of the ingredients. The beauty of this soup is that you can add whatever beans or vegetables you like. I would have liked to added red pepper too, but given the cost of them at the moment, that was not an option! I probably would have put some ground cardomom in too, if I had had any. I like my soups thick and chunky too, so you can add or decrease the water to suit your own taste. It was very yummy, and I will definitely be making this again. It does make a large amount, but knowing this household, it will be gone in a couple of days!!

Moroccan Bean Soup
1 cup dried baby green lima beans
1 cup dried pink beans
2 cups red lentils
2 cans Watties Moroccan tomatoes
1 can plain tomatoes
1 can whole kernel corn
2 onions
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
2-4 garlic cloves
1 tsp crushed ginger
2 tsps sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups water

Cook the beans according to the type of bean. I soaked mine overnight and then cooked them for a couple of hours. The baby green beans cooked more quickly than the pink beans.

Cook the diced onions in a little oil until they are soft. Add the celery and cook a little longer.

Add the crushed garlic, ginger and spices and cook until fragrant.

Add the tomatoes, corn, washed lentils, sugar, salt and extra water and cook until lentils are soft and soup has thickened.

Garnish with freshly chopped coriander (cilantro).

Serve with crusty home made bread.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

World Peace Cookies

Wow! was the first word my husband uttered as this chocolate taste sensation exploded in his mouth. I already knew that he would like them as I had quickly scoffed 2 when they came out of the oven...just for quality control purposes, of course!

After all the praise Nancy has given them, I knew I had to make these. Oh my gosh, these have now definitely become my new number 1 favourite cookie. If you like chocolate, you will adore these. I only made them yesterday and between me and my hubby we have nearly eaten the whole lot! The only trouble is you can't just have one...they are so yummy you just keep eating them.

The recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate so I used Whittaker's Dark Ghana which is 72% cocoa solids. Perfect choice...I used chopped it into small chunks, probably chocolate drop size.

World Peace Cookies
1¼ cups all purpose flour
⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp baking soda
4 ozs plus 3 tbsps butter
⅔ cup light brown sugar, packed
¼ cup caster sugar
½ tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 ozs bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chunks or chips

Beat butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add sugars, salt and vanilla extract & beat for 2 minutes more.

Add sifted dry ingredients and and mix just until flour disappears into the dough. For the best texture, work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added. Don't be concerned if the dough looks a little crumbly.

Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix to incorporate.

Turn the dough onto a work surface, gather it together and divide it into half. Shape the dough into logs that are about 1½ inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 3 hours.

Using a thin, sharp knife, slice the logs into ½ inch rounds. They are likely to crack as you cut them. Don't worry, just push the cookie back together.

Place on baking sheets with about 1 inch between cookies.

Bake at 325 degrees F for 12 minutes. They won't look done nor will they be firm but that is how they should look. Let the ccokies rest and transfer to a cooling rack.

Source: Dorie Greenspan's From My Home to Yours.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Moroccan Chicken with Couscous & Moroccan Bread

Today was one of those days where I had lots of things to do, so really did not want to spend a lot of time and effort with the evening meal. I had a cycle ride planned for about 4pm so the last thing I would want to do would be thinking about dinner when I got home from that all beet red and sweaty. I knew I only had a meat selection of chicken, chicken or chicken, so chicken won out and I settled on a crockpot recipe that could simmer away all day and look like I had been slaving for hours! Whip up some couscous to go with it and what a tasty meal.

Well, the cycling got cancelled as Tony had to work late which meant I had no-one to look after the kids, so what is a bored foodie to do. I know, let's whip up some Moroccan bread as well. Trusty old Google came to the rescue and I found several great recipes. The one I liked best was an easy looking bread called Authentic Moroccan Bread

So I threw all the ingredients in my stand mixer (which is all of about 2 weeks old I might add), went out and fed the hens and the rabbits and when I came back in about 5 minutes later, my poor old mixer had smoke coming out of the top and was kaput!!! So the easy bread making session I had envisaged turned into hard slog with me kneading dough for about 10 minutes! Crikey, it felt like my arms were going to fall off. Anyway, it turned out fantastically. Bread kneading is a good way of dealing with life's frustrations!! Take that and that!!!!
I had made No Knead Spelt Bread a few days ago and this was divine. Well, the kids reckon this bread comes a close second!!

So the chicken recipe I chose was one by Simon and Alison Holst out of their book Year Round Recipes for Crockpots & Slow Cookers A great book that has a good variety of easy to make and tasty recipes. I just made some simple couscous to go with it...adding chicken stock, lemon juice, currants and a knob of butter. Easy peasy, but yummy!

Moroccan Chicken
1kg chicken pieces or large chicken chunks
2 tbsp plain flour
3 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

Chop the chicken if using chicken chunks and coat with flour. Heat 1tbsp of oil in large frypan and cook chicken until golden brown on all sides. Transfer into crockpot.

Put onion and garlic into small food processor and chop finely. add remaining oil, tomato paste, spices and salt and process until a thick paste is formed.

Zest the lemon and add this and the juice to the paste and pulse to combine.

Spoon the paste over the chicken, and turn to coat. Cover and cook on LOW for 4-5 hours.

Garnish with fresh chopped coriander

Monday, September 8, 2008

Elephant Slice

Well the cookie swap evening was awesome fun and I am sure I have gained about 5 kilos since Saturday night. Such a great mix of people from different walks of life, but the one commonality was our love of cooking and baking. So there were 9 of us and we all took different items. I took along Chocolate Chunkers and Granola Grabbers, both of which were a hit and I think Dorie got a few more book sales that night!!

One of favourites from the night was Elephant Slice, duly named because if you consume too much of this slice you will end up the size of an elephant!! It was very rich and sweet, but very very yummy. Mind you, it was a tough call between Nigella's Triple Chocolate Brownies and this.

Elephant Slice

1 packet malt biscuits, crushed
125g unsalted butter, melted
250g dessicated coconut
1 tin sweetened condensed milk

Mix melted butter into biscuits crumbs and press into lightly greased slice pan. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 3 minutes.

Meanwhile combine the coconut and condensed milk together. Spread this over the top of the biscuit base and return to the oven for a further 12 minutes or until the topping is starting to colour. Remove fron the oven and ice while warm.

Mix 8 tbsp of brown sugar, 8 tbsp of icing sugar, 1 tsp of vanilla extract and 2 tbsps of milk to a smooth paste. Spread over coconut.

Refrigerate and cut when cold. Store in the fridge. Will last for a week if you are lucky!!!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Okay, so I had this recipe by Dorie Greenspan I wanted to make...Granola Grabbers. However, I have never heard of granola. I googled it and found Granola on Wikipedia. Okay, so it sort of sounds like what we call muesli here. So I figured the best thing was to make it and compare it. So where to get a granola recipe from? Again, trusty Google came to rescue and I found that Nigella Lawson had a granola recipe in her book Feast. Oh my gosh, and I just happened to have this book!! Her description of it was enough to make me want to rush out and make it right now, which of course I did!!

I had all the ingredients on hand, apart from the brown rice syrup. so I just substituted maple syrup instead. I guess this is one of those sorts of breakfast cereals that you could add anything you like to it. Not sure if that is a true granola, but I bet it would be scrummy!! I threw all the ingredients in a pan and lightly roasted the ingredients. Everyone had a taste as it came out of the oven, and indeed this was very tasty.I am definitely a must have breakfast girl and tried this today with yoghurt. It was a taste sensation, with lots of crunch and flavour. I think this has become our new breakfast cereal and I don't know if this batch will be enough for the Granola Grabbers now that everyone has had some!!


450g rolled oats
120g raw sunflower seeds
120g white sesame seeds
100g light brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt
300g raisins
250g whole natural almonds
175g apple sauce
120g maple syrup or brown rice syrup
4 tbsp runny honey
2 tbsp sunflower oil

Mix everything except the raisins together in a large mixing bowl.

Spread this out on a baking tray lined with baking paper.

Bake at 170 degrees Celsius for about 40 minutes, turning and stirring regularly.

Mixture should be golden brown. Mix with raisins when cool.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


I popped by the Asian foodstuffs supermarket the other night to grab some more miso, noodles and vegetables. It's always a bit of a trip down memory lane when I go in there as I spent 18 months living in Japan and then another six months travelling around Thailand and Malaysia, so I see all these wonderful foods and reminisce. Japan holds a particular place in my heart as I have many friends still there and the food from Japan has to be my favourite type of food. Its simplicity, subtle blend of flavours and elegant presentation never fails to amaze me.

I was lucky enough to live above a sushi shop, and so on many a night the family and I would share sake, green tea and laughter as we battled the language barrier. In amongst this, I learnt some of the cooking skills that Japanese women take for granted and I would share some insights into Kiwi life and food. I was also lucky enough to have lessons in Japanese cooking from one of the sushi chefs there. Becoming a sushi chef takes years of training and dedication and they are trained in all aspects of food and food presentation, so it hardly skimmed the surface, but I did take away some valuable skills.

Miso soup and sushi would have to be my favourite Japanese foods, but sukiyaki comes a close second. It is not something a Japanese housewife would cook frequently at home and is considered somewhat of a luxury meal, but it is uniquely Japanese with its flavours. It is basically a one pot meal with beef, vegetables and rice noodles cooked in a sweet soy sauce broth. Raw beaten egg is traditionally used as a dipping sauce but it can be enjoyed without it. It is also traditionally served with a bowl of white rice too.

I tend to use whatever vegetables are in season here, as fresh Japanese vegetables out of season are impossible to come by in this little town! I usually grow shungiku but not at this time of year, so I used pak choy. And shiitake mushrooms are hideously expensive, so I just used ordinary old button mushrooms. I threw in carrots as the kids love them, and brussel sprouts for Tony as he is a fan of them...(the only person I have ever met that likes that vegetable!). I just throw everything in my wok at the table. Half the fun is the novelty of dining like this.


1-2 cups of dashi broth
3-4 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons of soy sauce
3 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons sake

750 grams well marbled beef, (eg sirloin) cut into paper thin slices
green onions, sliced diagonally into 4cm lengths
1 cake firm tofu, cut into large cubes
1 bunch shirataki (fine rice noodles), boiled for 3 minutes first, then drain
1 bunch shungiku (chrysanthemum leaves), or spinach or watercress or similar green vegetable
shiitake mushrooms

Combine broth ingredients in the wok. Once it starts to boil, add some of the meat and vegetables. As it cooks, diners can help themselves to whatever they want, dipping the food into individual serving bowls of beaten egg before eating. Add more meat and vegetables as the meal progresses. And, of course, chopsticks are a must!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sticky Brown Sugar Buns

Was perusing one of my Foodtown magazines last night trying to find some inspiration for a meal and I spotted some delectable looking sticky buns that would make a great after school snack for the kids. Chelsea buns are one of my favourite sticky buns and I have great memories of a shop in Takapuna, Auckland that used to make the most scrumptious buns that oozed brown sugar, raisins and sweetness. I used to go there after nursing school several times a week with a couple of friends. We would each get a sticky bun then wander down to the beach and slowly savour each mouthful. The scavenging seagulls were always very hopeful we would throw them a crumb or tasty morsel, but they were always out of luck! I have never found another bakery that can make them just so, but these buns come a very close second and certainly stirred up memories from a few years ago.

They really are very simple to make. I just threw all the ingredients in my stand mixer and let it do all the hard work. Let it rise for a couple of hours, the rolled it out and smothered the dough in dried raisins and sultanas, brown sugar and butter. Rolled it up and then sliced it into 12 pieces.

I then let the dough rise for another hour or so. I cheated and heated up my oven then let the tray sit in there, so the buns could rise. Time was getting on, and I knew those hungry kids would be off the bus soon flinging open the cupboards and looking for food. The buns were soon in the oven and the smell of baking buns and cinnamon was filling the house. Yum!

While they were still warm I drizzled some a thin icing over the buns. I just mixed half a cup of icing sugar and a little water and spooned it over. If you want a crispier icing, then leave the buns til they are cooler. However, I like the softness of the icing all melted into into the buns.

Sticky Brown Sugar Buns
3 and a half cups high grade flour
2 tablespoons sugar
50g softened butter
3 teaspoons Surebake yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
275mls milk, warmed for 20 seconds in microwave

Make the dough using a breadmaker or a stand mixer. If using a mixer, mix on low speed for 10 minutes using the dough hook.

Spray the dough and bowl with oil and leave in a warm place until doubled in size. Cover with plastic wrap.

Tip onto lightly floured bench and roll out to about 25cm x 35cm rectangular shape.

Mix together:
50g butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Spread over the bread dough then sprinkle with 1 cup mixed dried fruit (sultanas, raisins, currants etc).

With longest side facing you, roll up the dough into a log shape, pinching it to seal. Cut the dough into 12 even sized pieces and place them onto baking tray. Spray with oil, cover with plastic wrap and leave to double in size.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and hollow sounding. Transfer to cooling rack and drizzle with icing if desired.

Source: Foodtown magazine June/July 2008


Monday, September 1, 2008

Chocolate Chunkers

Okay I think I have found the winner! Forget about making any more on my list! This is undoubtably one of the most divine cookies I have ever tasted. Chocolately, with hunks of chocolate, the sharpness of cranberries and the crunch of brazil nuts. Certainly not a cookie to make if you are on a budget, but money, schmoney when it comes to this chocolate treasure!

Dorie uses raisins and peanuts in her cookies, but I decided to use brazil nuts and cranberries, which give a little bit of a contrast to the sweetness of the cookie.

Chocolate Chunkers

⅓ cup all purpose flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 oz unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 large eggs, at room temperature
⅔ cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped into chunks, or 1 cup store bought chocolate chips or chunks
6 oz premium quality milk or white chocolate, chopped into chunks, or 1 cup store bought chocolate chips or chunks
1½ cups coarsely chopped nuts, preferably salted peanuts or toasted pecans
1 cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden) or finely chopped moist, plump dried apricots.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder.

Set a heat proof bowl over the saucepan of simmering water and add the butter, bittersweet chocolate and unsweetened chocolate. Stir occasionally until just melted. It should be smooth and shiny, but not so hot that the butter separates. Remove bowl from the heat and set to cool.

Beat eggs and sugar with a mixer on medium high speed for about 2 minutes, until they are pale and foamy.

Beat in the vanilla extract.

Add melted chocolate and butter with mixer on low speed.

Add dry ingredients. Mix until dough is just combined, then add the semisweet and white chocolate chunks, nuts and raisins. Dough will be very chunky!

Drop tablespoons of dough onto baking sheet about 2” apart and cook at 180° C (350° F) for 10-12 minutes. The top of the cookies will look crunchy, but inside will be soft.
Source: Dorie Greenspan "Baking, from my house to yours".

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Egg Korma & Cauliflower Palya

After all the sweet things I have been eating lately, I had a real craving for something savoury tonight for dinner. I didn't get much sleep today...something to do with the cat squeaking, "talking" and purring at various stages throughout the day. The kids had gone to thir dad's for the weekend so I should have been able to have a great sleep without any of them coming in and saying " Mum, he looked at me funny when I was reading quietly" or, "Mum, can I have a sandwich?" or "Mum, are you getting up soon". That is always the killer!! I don't do night shift that often, but the whole family knows a tired mummy is not a happy mummy. They should know by now it is like waking a sleeping bear!!

Anyway, I was not in the mood to spend hours in the kitchen after 4 hours sleep. I wanted something quick and easy, but with a bite to it. Allyson Gofton soon came to the rescue with an adaptation of her Tikka Masala Eggs. The hens have started laying again so have got lots of fresh free range eggs on hand. I only had Korma paste on hand so used that instead. I wanted to team it with some accompaniments, but did not have much on hand and was too lazy to whip up something from scratch, so found a cauliflower palya to go with it instead.

Korma Eggs
6-8 eggs
1 red onion, peeled and sliced
3-4 tablespoons of korma paste (or other curry paste)
400 gram can Indian spiced tomatoes
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup yoghurt
fresh coriander

Hard boil eggs. Peel and quarter.

Cook the red onion with a dash of oil in a frying pan over a moderate heat for about 5 minutes or until tender.

Stir in the korma paste and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.

Add the tomatoes and water. Simmer for 3-4 minutes.

Fold through the eggs, youghurt and coriander. Do not boil.

Serve with rice, naan, raita, chutneys etc.

Source: Allyson Gofton's After Work Cookbook

The cauliflower palya was easy to make. I steamed the cauliflower first. Heated a smidgeon of oil in a pan, then added mustard seeds. Once they started popping, I added about a teaspoon of tumeric and about half a teaspoon of salt, then the cauliflower. The florets were quite soft, not usually like I have my cauliflower, but I don't think crisper florets would have worked so well.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Chunky Peanut Butter & Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters

Part 2 of the great cookie bake-off! I must admit I was really looking forward to making these cookies as I love the combo of peanut butter and chocolate. I fell in love with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups when I went to the USA a few years ago. I had never tasted them before until one evil friend, who shall remain nameless, forced one upon me knowing my weakness for chocolate and peanut butter. I think I went over my luggage limit on the way home and I can surely say it was in no small way related to the fact that I had rather a large amount of Reese's PBC in my suitcase!!

These cookies were very nice but I don't think I would put quite so much cinnamon in them next time. They were quite spicy with the 2 teaspoons. I also added half chocolate and half raisins to give the illusion that they were a teensy bit healthy! Hubby has certainly given them the thumbs-up though. I am working tonight so will take a bunch along to work for those 3am munchies.

Chocolate Peanut Butter & Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters

3 cups oats
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
8 ozs unsalted butter
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
9ozs chocolate drops / raisins / nuts whatever

Whisk together the oats, flour, baking soda, spices and salt.

Beat the butter, sugars and peanut butter on medium speed until smooth an creamy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition.

Beat in the vanilla extract.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, beating only until just blended.

Mix in the chocolate, raisins or whatever else you might want to add.

Drop rounded tablespoons onto baking sheets, placing 2 inches apart.

Bake for about 15 minutes.

Makes 60 cookies.

Source: Dorie Greenspan. Baking: From my house to yours.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops

I got an invitation to go to a Cookie Swap next weekend and take along a batch of my favourite cookies. Crikey, how does one decide which is one's favourite cookie? There's not many cookies I don't like, so I decided to get the family to help me decide. We pored over the cookbooks but Dorie Greenspan's book Baking: From my house to yours got the definite thumbs up from everyone so we made a short-list of cookies to bake this week....Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops, Granola Grabbers, Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters, Chocolate Chipsters and Chocolate Chip Cookies. See a theme occurring there!! This is such a fantastic book and it was very hard to limit ourselves to just 5 cookies.

Now, unfortunately, one of the cookie swapees is allergic to chocolate so that poses a small problem as all these contain chocolate apart from the Granola Grabbers. Imagine that...allergic to one of life's food groups!! So I thought about taking the Granola Grabbers and one other cookie.

The first cookie we made was the Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops. These are an absolute taste sensation....chocolately and soft with chunks of chocolate and malt. Mmmmm! They spread a lot so I was glad that I had actually followed the recipe for once and allowed 2 inches between cookies on the tray. Usually I cram as many as I can onto the tray!

I have no idea what Whoppers are, but they sound very similar to Maltesers so I used them instead. I also used Ovaltine as I am sure I would not find malted milk powder in my local supermarket. Everything else I kept as the recipe said.

Dorie also says they are great with ice cream too and she is sooo right. I crumbled up a biscuit into a bowl of French Vanilla icecream for dessert. It was like cookies and cream, but oh so much better!

Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops

1¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup Ovaltine
¼ cup cocoa powder
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
4 oz unsalted butter, plus 3 tablespoons
⅔ cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup milk
2 cups Maltesers
1 cup chocolate drops

Sift together the flour Ovaltine, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until very smooth.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla; don’t be concerned if the mixture looks curdled-it will even out when the dry ingredients are added.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half the dry ingredients, mixing just until they disappear into the batter. Mix in the milk then the remaining dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated. The batter will look more like fudge frosting than cookie dough-and that’s fine.

With the mixer on low, or by hand with a rubber spatula, mix the malted milk balls and chopped chocolate.

Drop the dough by rounded tablespoonful onto sheets, leaving about 2 inches of space between.

Bake for 11 to 13 minutes. When done, the cookies will be puffed and set but slightly soft to touch. Let the cookies the rest for 2 minutes before using a wide metal spatula to transfer them to racks to cool to room temperature.

From Dorie Greenspan's Baking: My house to yours

Monday, August 25, 2008

Oat Shortbread

I was sitting down with a coffee and had a hankering for some buttery shortbread. You know, that kind that just melts in your mouth, with an ever so delicate flavour. It was something my mother and grandmother always had in the baking tins when we were growing up. It is not something I have made much of as an adult as the amount of butter that is usually required just makes my arteries scream in horror!

The traditional Scottish shortbread is generally made with butter, sugar and flour, cornflour or oatmeal, but there are lots of variations. Apparently, too, shortbread also has a national day on January 6th each year as well! So it is quite a famous little cookie. Anyway, upon perusing my own well worn recipe book I came across a recipe for Oat Shortbread. This seemed a little healthier than the shortbread I remember from my childhood so out came the baking bowl and tin. Took only a few minutes to mix up and none of that rolling out that ends up with more dough on the rolling pin than anywhere else!

And the taste....divine! Not like shortbread in the traditional sense, more like an anzac cookie. It was even better the next day as it had had time to harden more. And it got the definite thumbs up from the rest of the family.

Oat Shortbread

2 cups rolled oats
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 ground ginger
1/3 cup sesame seeds (optional)
150g butter, melted

In a large bowl mix dry ingredients. Add butter and combine well. Press into a greased swiss roll tin and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 20-30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly in tin, then cut into squares and leave in tin until cold.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Thought I had died and gone to heaven...

I recently had a few days in Wellington and discovered a wonderful shop called Moore Wilson. Now, I am sure most Wellingtonians are familiar with it and the delights it holds for a foodie, but the first time I had heard of it was on Linda's blog when she was lucky enough to source a friand pan from there. I knew it was going to be good when I got to the top of the stairs and saw the cookbook shop. Cookbooks of all descriptions, magazines just waiting to be flicked through, and a glimpse of what lay around the corner in the actual shop. Tony gave a loud audible sigh as he knew what he was in for. I had to promise that I would accompany him to Repco in return for his undying patience as I perused the books. I finally settled on Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess. Then with this clasped firmly under my arm, I meandered into the main shop...

Gosh, anything and everything cooking or food related. Another loud sigh from Tony!! Now I didn't really need anything specific, but I, too, had been after a friand pan for some time with no luck, so I found one of those, and then ummed and erred over some bread proofing baskets but decided to make do with what I had. And the great thing is they do mail order too I found out, so I can have my fix any time I like!!

So back in the Waikato, I devoured Nigella and decided on the Rocky Road after collective oohs and ahhs from the kids. It was very easy to make, especially as I decided to put it in a pan rather than doing individual drops as Nigella did.

Rocky Road

200g milk chocolate

25g dark chocolate

75g brazil nuts

75g mini marshmallows

Melt the chocolate in the microwave or using a bowl over barely simmering water. Roughly chop the nuts and mix into the chocolate with the marshmallows.

Drop heaped teaspoons onto a lined baking sheet (or a lined pan) and leave to cool in a cold place. Don't leave in the fridge as it will take some of the gleam from the chocolate.

Makes 24.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

L is for Lemons and Limes

Source: peterpics924

With dreary winter upon us in New Zealand, an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables is clearly lacking in my gardens. However, I can always rely on the citrus trees to produce a crop every year without fail, apart from the mandarin tree as the goats ate that, but that is another story! So what is a girl to do with all these lemons and limes?

Just by chance I happened to be flicking through a mag in my lunch break the other day and came across what appeared to be the perfect recipe. I remember the wonderful lemon loaf my mother used to make that was drenched in sweet, but tangy lemon syrup and this seemed very reminiscent of that. So as soon as I got home I got busy in the kitchen. And oh my, this was absolutely divine. It all disappeared that night and I was begged to make it again and again!

Lemon & Lime Loaf

Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Zest and juice of 1 lime
75ml oil
2 eggs
95g caster sugar
1 tsp salt
250g self raising flour
225 plain yoghurt
50g caster sugar (for sugar)
60g vanilla sugar

For the syrup, heat the lemon and lime juice with 50g caster sugar in a small saucepan on a medium element until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.

Cream the butter and 195g of caster sugar for 3 minutes on high speed until the mixture becomes white and fluffy.

Add grated lemon zest and lime zest with oil and whole eggs, and whisk until thick and pale in colour.

Add salt and yoghurt, mix for 30 seconds until combined, then fold in the flour. Pour mixture into a well greased loaf tin, or use baking paper.

Bake in oven at 160 degs Celsius for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean. As soon as you remove the loaf from the oven, drown it with the lemon syrup, then sprinkle with vanilla sugar and allow to cool before removing from the tin.

Source: North & South magazine, August 2008