Showing posts from December, 2013

Christmas Cake

This isn't your average Christmas cake, it's packed with decadent goodies and not a yucky mixed, dried citrus peel in sight! I adapted this recipe from Stephanie Alexander's Cook's Companion

You will need...
225g sultanas, roughly chopped
225g dried cranberries (Craisins)
100g white chocolate chips
75g dried figs, chopped
80ml Captain Morgans Spiced Rum (any rum or brandy will do)
155g softened unsalted butter
60g chopped pecans (or walnuts)
90g plain flour
25g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tsp allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp cocoa powder
125g dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoon black treacle or golden syrup
whole blanched almonds or macadamias for decoration
1. Put dried fruit into a large glass or ceramic bowl with the rum/brandy. Soak overnight. 2. Next day, preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius (if you have a fan-forced oven, preheat it to 140 degrees celsius). Grease an 8inch deep round cake tin well …

Tips and Tricks of the Trade # 8 - Pomegranate

I've noticed a lot of blogs and cookbooks featuring pomegranate of late. I'm sure its not only to do with their deliciousness, but also to do with their gorgeous ruby-red colour which is perfect for injecting a bit of Christmas into any dish!

I love how versatile pomegranate is, that it can be used with sweet or savoury meals and that flavour (which I think can only be described as a similar, lighter flavour as cranberry juice) that can complement anything.

The only downside of the pomegranate is how to get the little juice-wrapped seeds out of the maze of pith and inedible membrane that holds the whole thing together. Well, never fear because I have the trick for you!

You will need...
1 pomegranate
1 large bowl
1 knife and chopping board
1 rolling pin (yes. a rolling pin)

1. Cut the pomegranate in half (I usually equate the pomegranate to expose more seeds)
2. Hold the pomegranate, cut side down, over the large bowl. You should do this over the sink, and preferably …

Best Ever Pork Buns!

Pillows of soft, sweet dough cradling a mouthful of salty pork in thick sticky sauce... Is there anything more glorious?

You will need... (makes 15 pork buns) For the BBQ pork (prepare a day in advance)- 300gr pork fillet, trimmed of fat and sinew
2.5cm piece of ginger, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp brown sugar (or shaved palm sugar if you have it)
3 tbsp Char Siu Sauce

For the dough- 1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
250ml lukewarm water
1 1/2 tsp dried yeast
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
400gr plain (all-purpose) flour

For the filling- 1/2 tsp sesame oil 1 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar 1 tbsp hoisin sauce 2 tbsp soy sauce 3 tbsp Char Siu Sauce 1/4 cup of water
1. Prepare this recipe a day ahead by marinating the pork fillet. To make the marinade, measure out all the ingredients listed below the BBQ Pork ingredient heading. Dice the ginger and garlic, then mix with the hoisin, soy, brown sugar and char siu sauce. Trim any fa…

Beef, Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

You will need...
500gr regular beef mince
1 small brown onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tins chopped Italian tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
250gr ricotta cheese
250gr chopped frozen spinach (you can use fresh if you like), defrosted
1/2 cup grated parmesan
250gr fresh lasagna sheets (or dried cannelloni if you wish)
60gr butter
1/3 cup plain flour
2 cups milk
1 cup grated mozzarella
1/2 cup grated parmesan, extra
1 tsp dried oregano
salt & pepper
olive oil

1. For the sauce- Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large frypan and saute the onion and garlic on a medium-low heat until onion is transparent.Add tomato paste and tinned tomatoes, fill one tin with water, and add to the pan. Season with salt, pepper and oregano and cook for 35 minutes, uncovered at a gentle simmer.
2. For the bechamel- Melt the butter in a heavy based saucepan over a low heat, then add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for two minutes (called a ROUX). Microwave the milk to warm, then …

Tips and Tricks of the Trade #7 Seasoning

Tips that I swear by...

1. Whenever making a large amount of something, whether it be zucchini slice, meatballs or fritters, always take a small spoonful out and fry it so you can taste if it needs extra seasoning before cooking the whole batch.

2. Season early. Whenever making sauces, braising or stewing, always season early on in the cooking process as this will help the flavour permeate through the dish. Having said that, salt leeches moisture out of everything, so always leave salting until just before the cooking process (exclude salt in marinades etc).

3. Less is more when it comes to salting foods, you only want enough salt to enhance the other flavours of the dish. You can always add more salt but it is quite tricky taking it back out again- although if you find a sauce or stew is a little bit too salty, try adding a peeled whole potato to the dish, this should absorb a little bit of the excess salt.

Gingerbread Biscuits

This is a really lovely recipe. The dough is quite crumbly, but that makes for a beautiful textured biscuit- not too soft and not too crunchy. If you're looking for a tried and tested gingerbread recipe then this is the one! I found it on I just added a bit of mixed spice for extra flavour and added a resting time for the dough to help soften it which makes it easier to roll and the biscuits turn out that little bit softer.

You will need...
250gr unsalted butter
200gr (1 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
250ml (1 cup), golden syrup
2 egg yolks
750gr (5 cups) plain flour
2 tsp bicarb soda
1 1/2 Tbs ground ginger
2 tsp mixed spice

1. Use an electric beater to beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and creamy, add the golden syrup and egg yolks and beat until combined. 
2. Sift in flour, bicarb soda, ginger and mixed spice. Use your hands to combine until a firm dough forms. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly until smooth.
3. Wrap dough in c…