Monday, April 21, 2014

crabapple jelly

Hi Every-one,

I hope you all enjoyed your Easter break. I've just returned from a 4 day visit to Brisbane to find the modem had died in my absence. It's taken me 3 hours to buy a new modem and finally get it up and running and I decided to post this ASAP in case my luck (and internet) ran out. The ironing will just have to wait.

I don't know what's come over me. I've become Ms. Pioneer Woman. I'm baking my own bread; making my own ricotta cheese and my own jam as well. Next I'll be chopping down trees for firewood which would not go down well in Sydney's Eastern suburbs! 

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Have you ever tried or made crab-apple jelly? When I was in Dungog last month, Farmer Andrew's crab-apple tree was full to bursting with fruit. I picked about a kilo of crabapples, searched online for a recipe and set about making the jelly. It's a 2 day process as you have to boil the fruit first, then strain the mixture to make the juice from which the jelly is made. That sentence was a bit of a mouthful, wasn't it?

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Otherwise, it's a straight forward process. The jelly itself is very tasty and I now have 2 very large jars of the stuff stored in the fridge.

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Here's the recipe for you straight from the Waitrose website. Use the recipe as a guide because you have to measure the juice to get the correct juice/sugar ratio.

Makes: 6 x 500ml jars

Crab- Apple Jelly
Ingredients
4 kg crab apples
1 kg caster sugar
1 lemon, juiced

Method
Wash the apples, remove the blossom heads and cut out any bruised bits. Put in a saucepan, fill with water to cover the apples and bring to the boil. Simmer for 25 minutes until the fruit is soft. Pour the pulp into a jelly bag or several layers of muslin and let drip overnight into a pan beneath. Don’t squeeze the bag as the residue will cloud the jelly.

The next day, measure the juice, and combine with sugar at the ratio of 10 parts juice to 7 sugar. Add the lemon, then bring to the boil to dissolve the sugar. Keep at a rolling boil for 35–40 minutes, skimming off the froth regularly. To test, chill a dessertspoon in the fridge. When the jelly is set, it will solidify on the back of the spoon. Pour into warm, sterilised preserving jars and tightly seal while still slightly warm. Store in a cool dark place.

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By the way, the cute 'handmade' tag is from my friend Kylie at Paperboat Press.

It's short work week here in Sydney as Monday was a public holiday and on Friday we have public holiday to commemorate ANZAC Day. I'm planning to make an ANZAC Day inspired treat to share with you next week. 

P.S It's hard to believe but in 3 short weeks, I'll be in Amsterdam! Keep those suggestions for things to see and do rolling in.

See you all again next week,

Jillian

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Passover week - Passover apple blintzes

I was invited out for dinner the other night and I brought along the dessert. I decided to renovate this recipe for Apple blintzes to make it Passover friendly. 

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I made 2 batches of blintzes, one using flour and the other using the Passover mix so I could compare them. The Passover batter is a little thicker than the flour batter so I had to thin the mixture out quite a bit to make 8 blintzes. The apple filling is in one of my cute kilner jars.

Here's the recipe for you,

Passover Apple Blintzes

Pancakes
½ cup Passover baking mix (equal quantities superfine matzo meal and potato flour)
2 eggs
¾ cup milk
Oil and butter for frying

Apple Cinnamon filling
400 g cooked apples
2
½ tablespoons caster sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup sultanas (golden raisins)
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

To serve
Additional sugar and cinnamon
cream

To make the filling, mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl and set to one side.

To make the pancakes, sift the baking mix into a small bowl then add the eggs stirring to ensure there are no lumps. Gradually add the milk to form a smooth batter. Transfer the mixture to a small jug and rest for 30 minutes.

Heat a small pan and grease it well. Pour 2 – 3 tablespoons of batter into the heated pan. Cook over a medium heat until the underside of the pancake is light golden brown, then turn out onto a wire rack. Leave the top side of the pancake uncooked. Continue with the remaining batter to make 8 pancakes. Don’t wash out the jug as in a moment you’ll need the leftovers.

With the cooked side uppermost, spread 2 tablespoons of the filling into the centre of the pancake spreading it out a little with a small spatula.

Brush the edges of the pancake with a little of the uncooked batter; this helps the edges hold together when cooked. Fold in the 2 sides of the pancake, overlapping slightly. Brush the remaining ends with a little of the batter and fold the ends into the centre overlapping a little to make a small parcel.

Heat a little oil and a teaspoon of butter in a small pan. Place the blintzes seam side down and gently fry for a few minutes until golden then flip and cook for a further 2 minutes until both sides are browned. Drain on absorbent paper if necessary.

To serve, sprinkle with sugar and a little cinnamon topped with some cream.

Serves 4


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That's my last Passover week recipe and I hope you've enjoyed them. I'm now looking forward to my 4 day Easter break and then I'll start counting the days until I fly out to Amsterdam.

Happy Easter and I'll see you all again next week,

Jillian

Monday, April 14, 2014

Passover week - chocolate, orange and hazelnut biscotti


I thought I'd finished with Passover week, until I realised I had nothing in the cookie jar. I looked through my recipes and thought I'd try making some biscotti. I adapted an old Bill Granger recipe using ingredients I already had in the cupboards.

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I'd run out of my usual superfine matzo meal and had to buy a different brand. It was much more coarse than the Solomon's superfine matzo and absorbed much more liquid so I found the dough very dry. 

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I added some orange juice to make the dough workable but you could try making the biscotti using half the baking mix and seeing how you go, then adding more of the baking mix if the mixture is too damp.


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Chocolate, orange and hazelnut biscotti - makes 20
(adapted from this Bill Granger recipe)

Ingredients
⅓ cup caster sugar
1 egg
2 tsp grated orange rind
1 cup Passover baking mix (equal quantities superfine matzo meal and potato flour)
¼ cup cocoa
50 g coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts
50g coarsely chopped dark chocolate
3 tbl orange juice (if required)

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C. 
Line a tray with baking paper.
In a stand mixer, beat together the egg, sugar and rind for a few minutes, until thick and pale. 
Sift over the baking mix and cocoa and stir through with a wooden spoon.
Add the nuts and mix well using a clean hand. If the mixture is too thick, add a few tablespoons orange juice to form a dough.
Form the dough into a flattish logs and bake for 20 minutes or until firm. 
Leave to cool on a wire rack.
Lower the oven to 120°C.  Using a serrated bread knife, cut the log into slices about 7mm thick.  Spread the slices out on the baking tray in a single layer and bake for about 20 minutes, turning over halfway.
Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.
These will keep for up to 2 weeks in a sealed container

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These are tasty but as there is no raising agent, they're pretty crunchy so you'll definitely need to dunk these to avoid some expensive dental work.

I hope you enjoy tonight's Seder,

Jillian 


Friday, April 11, 2014

passover week - flourless chocolate prune cake

There are no shortage of flourless chocolate cake recipes out there but I was looking for something a little different. When I found this recipe on Sunday Suppers for a chocolate prune armagnac cake I knew I'd found what I was looking for.

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As you can't use armagnac during Passover I needed to find a more prosaic substitute. I remembered seeing a recipe for tea soaked prunes somewhere in the past so I used tea instead. 

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This is one of those cakes that rises terrifyingly, then sinks as it cools. Don't worry as it's all about the flavour with this cake.

Here's the renovated recipe for you.

Flourless Chocolate Prune Cake

To prepare the tin
1 tbs each cocoa powder and potato flour (starch) mixed together and sieved.

Ingredients
300 g dark chocolate,coarsely chopped
200 g unsalted butter,
coarsely chopped
6 eggs, separated
125 g caster sugar
150 g prunes
150 mls freshly brewed tea
pinch salt

To decorate
cocoa powder

Method
Grease and line the base of a 9 inch round tin. Flour the tin with the cocoa powder mixture.

Soak the prunes in the tea until softened, about 1 - 2 hours. Drain the prunes and using a stick blender or food processor, puree with 1 - 2 tbs of the tea. 

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C (conventional oven).

Melt the dark chocolate and the butter in a heatproof bowl in the microwave. Let cool slightly, then fold in the prune mixture. Set to one side.

Combine the yolks with 100 g of the sugar. Whisk until the mixture triples in size. Gently fold the yolks into the chocolate prune mixture.

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites and salt until stiff peaks form. Add the the remaining caster sugar one spoon at a time until a soft meringue forms.

Gently fold the the egg whites into the chocolate mixture then pour into the prepared tin.

Bake the cake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the cake comes away from the tin. Leave the oven door slightly ajar and leave the cake in the oven for 15 minutes. 

Remove the cake from the oven and allow to completely cool on a wire rack. Gently remove the lining paper from the cake.

Sprinkle with cocoa powder before serving.

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I served the cake with some tart oven baked plums and pears and a dollop of cream to balance out the richness of the cake. It went down a treat!

Have a great weekend,

Jillian

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Passover week - meringues with lemon curd

Hi Every-one,

I had an epic fail trying to make passover profiteroles during the weekend. The passover choux pastry was a disaster but the curd was a triumph and too good not to share with you. I looked through the archives to find a passover friendly recipe that featured my lemon curd and found this recipe for meringues I photographed last year.

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Where would we be without eggs during passover?

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Here's the recipe for you.


Meringues with lemon curd
 
Lemon curd
2 large egg yolks
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
80 ml (⅓ cup) strained lemon juice
⅓ cup caster sugar
40 gm unsalted butter, coarsely chopped

Place the egg yolks, the lemon rind, juice and sugar into a small bowl and place over a pan of simmering water. Whisk the mixture until smooth and keep whisking until thickened. Remove the curd from the heat and s
train the curd through a fine sieve. Add the butter in small batches and mix until incorporated. Set aside to cool. When cool, place in a sealed container in the the fridge and allow to set. 

This makes more curd than you need but it will keep in the fridge for a week stored in an airtight container.

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Meringues
2 egg whites (from 60 gm eggs)
1/2 cup (100g) caster sugar

To serve
cream/berries/lemon curd 

Method
Preheat oven to 120°C/250°F


Lightly grease an oven tray and dust with potato flour or line with baking paper. 

In a medium size bowl using an electric whisk, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until the sugar dissolves and the meringue turns very glossy. 

Using a large spoon, drop dollops of meringue onto the prepared baking sheet. You should get 8 - 10 medium size meringues from this mixture. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes for Pavlova like meringues or 1 1/4 hours for crisp meringues. You can leave the meringues to cool in the switched off oven. Carefully remove the meringues from the baking tray and place on a wire rack. When completely cooled, store the meringues in an airtight container until ready to serve. 

You can eat them as they are or serve them like mini pavlovas topped with homemade lemon curd, cream and berries, fresh from the garden.

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If you want to go dairy free I guess you could use margarine in the curd, though I've never done that myself and serve the meringues with the curd and the berries. 


I'll be back again tomorrow with the last of this week's Passover recipes, so see you all then.

Jillian

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Passover week - chocolate date and almond cake

Hi Every-one,

I was given this recipe many years ago by a workmate called Jackie and it's handwritten in my notebook as Jackie's Date cake. It's quite simple to make as it's just a meringue with lots of chopped nuts, chocolate and dried dates folded through. One of my colleagues mentioned her Mum made the same cake but with hazelnuts and I've made a version using different dried fruits so it's pretty versatile recipe. 

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didn't have to renovate this meringue cake recipe at all as it was always flourless. 

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Here's the recipe for you -

Chocolate, Date and Almond Cake

Ingredients:
250g dates, pitted and finely chopped
250g good quality dark chocolate
250g unblanched almonds
½ cup caster sugar
6 egg whites

Method:
Line the base and sides of a 23 cm/9 inch spring form tin with baking paper.
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
In a food processor, process the almonds and chocolate until finely chopped. Combine with the chopped dates.
In a large bowl beat the egg whites until stiff. Add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and continue beating until the mixture forms a meringue.
Gently fold in the date and nut mixture then spoon into the prepared tin.
Bake for 45 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow the cake to cool completely in the switched off oven, with the door slightly ajar.
Refrigerate the cake overnight.

To serve:
300 mls cream, lightly whipped
Berries

To serve, remove the baking paper from the cake. Transfer the cake to a serving plate, top with whipped cream and berries.

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It looks pretty impressive topped with whipped cream and berries. If you're looking for a dairy free option, I'm sure you could top the cake with a classic dark chocolate mousse but don't skip the berries as you need something fresh to balance out all the nuts, chocolate and dates.

I hope you're enjoying Passover Week 2014,

See you all again tomorrow with another recipe,

Jillian

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

raspberry thumbprint cookies - passover week

When I looked back through my recipes, this recipe for thumbprint cookies was prime for passover renovation. I looked in my cupboards, rifled through the freezer where I'd stored the superfine matzo meal and I had everything I needed. After I assembled the ingredients, it literally took me 3 minutes to make the dough in the food processor before running out the door to get to the gym.

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Rather than raspberry jam I used the homemade summer berry jam I made a few months ago. The original recipe used marmalade so just use whatever jam you prefer. The recipe also calls for vanilla extract. The regular kind can't be used during Passover so if you can't find a Passover version in the supermarket, you could omit the vanilla or use home made vanilla sugar instead (vanilla pod stored in jar of sugar). Similarly there is no Passover friendly icing sugar so you can make it at home by blitzing regular sugar in the food processor.

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Here's the recipe for you -

Passover Raspberry Thumb Print Cookies

Makes 16

125 gm unsalted butter
50 gm caster sugar
½ tsp Passover vanilla extract 
1 cup Passover baking mix (equal quantities superfine matzo meal and potato flour)
⅓ cup hazelnut meal
Raspberry jam
Optional - homemade icing sugar

Preheat oven to 180ºC/350ºF (conventional).
Line 2 oven trays with baking paper.
In a food processor combine the butter and sugar and vanilla. 
Add the baking mix then the hazelnut meal and process until a soft dough forms. Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour.
Roll into walnut size balls (20 gm) between floured palms. Flatten the biscuit with your palm then press your thumb into the centre of each biscuit to form an indent. Place on the tray leaving space for biscuits to spread and bake for 5 minutes.
Reinforce the indent with the handle of a wooden spoon, and then spoon ½ teaspoon of jam into the indent.
Return the jam filled cookies to the oven and baked until they’re golden, another 10-15 minutes. 
Cool on tray, then dust with home made icing sugar if desired and serve.

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I took the cookies into work and the girls really loved them because they were both delicate, not too sweet and 'just right' as one colleague declared. You know sometimes, the passover version is better than the original.

I hope you get the chance to make these,

See you tomorrow,

Jillian