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