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Archive for January, 2011

>summer? – humph!

>Mid summer in NZ and it is blowing a gale where I live. I don’t really mind too much – I am after all, snug and safe inside. I can’t do the laundry because I murdered the washing machine on the weekend and they can’t deliver a new one till tomorrow. I can’t make the bed because The Big Lump is asleep. My Little Mate has made a nest in the eiderdown on the spare bed – so my boys are both safe. And I don’t do to well in the heat of summer anyway, so this is a good day to make chocolate cakes – like I need an excuse!

CHOCOLATE FONDANT CUPCAKES
6 eggs – separated
150g caster sugar
200g almond meal
200g good quality dark chocolate – broken into pieces
150g unsalted butter – chopped
icing sugar to dust

Pre-heat the oven to 160c. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with paper cases and lightly grease them (I used spray-on oil)
In a large bowl, mix the egg yolks, and 1/3 cup of sugar with a spoon, to combine.
Stir in the almond meal to form a thick paste form, and then set aside.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Don’t let the bottom of the bowl touch the water. Remove from the heat and stir until smooth.

Gradually mix the chocolate into the almond mixture until well combined – don’t worry if it is a bit lumpy. Set aside.

In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with the remaining sugar until soft peaks form. In 3 batches, gently fold the meringue into the chocolate mixture, taking care to keep as much air in the mixture as possible.

Divide the mixture evenly among the paper cases. Bake 18-20 minutes until the cupcakes are firm on top, but still moist in the centre.

Serve warm, dusted with icing sugar, with shaved chocolate, with fresh strawberries…
I made these with Whittaker’s 72% Dark Ghana chocolate. My Dad said he would prefer them sweeter – everyone else loved them. They keep really well too. They are moist and light.
This recipe was in delicious.magazine April 2009

The Lump. Out of bed, but not yet awake
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>I worked with Pip.
She shared a flat with this guy.
She invited me to the movies with them. She set us up. We’ve been married nearly 25 years. It is all Pip’s fault.

PIP’S PUMPKIN SOUP

1 kg pumpkin – peeled and chopped
2 cups chicken stock
2 tsp sugar
2 onions – chopped
2 cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Cook together until vegetables are soft.
Whizz.
Re-heat with 1/4 tsp nutmeg and thin with 2 – 3 cups of milk

You can make so many variations of pumpkin soup, but this is great for when you just want something simple.

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>Because one day I hope I will be able to eat dairy again…

COUER A LA CREME

250g gluten free cream cheese
3/4 cup icing sugar
1 tsp lime or lemon juice
1 tsp grated lime or lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp fruit flavoured liqueur
1 1/4 cups cream

Beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy.
Beat in the icing sugar, juice and zest.
Whip cream, vanilla and liqueur together .
Fold cream into cheese mixture.
Line a mould or sieve with a double layer of fine cheesecloth.
Pour in the mixture and smooth the top with a spatula.
Cover with a layer of cheesecloth, place the mould on a plate and allow it to ‘weep’ in the fridge overnight.
Discard any liquids.
Unmould the creme and remove the cheesecloth.
Serve with fresh fruit.

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>This is a go-to recipe for whenever you need to impress someone (except a vegetarian, obviously)

SOY-GLAZED FILLET OF BEEF

75ml gluten free soy sauce (I use tamari)
45ml grapeseed oil
45ml dry sherry
2 garlic cloves – finely chopped
1 – 1.5kg fillet of  beef, stripped of all fat and silver skin

Season the beef with black pepper.
Combine all marinade ingredients, add the meat and leave to marinate for at least 4 hours, turning it regularly. If you have to refrigerate it, bring it back to room temperature before you cook it.
Heat oven to 220c
Place fillet on a rack in a roasting dish.
Spoon over some of the marinade.
Cook, uncovered and baste from time to time.
Cook 18 – 22 minutes per kilo for rare, and 30 minutes per kilo for medium/rare.
Serves 6

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>and because even celiacs deserve gravy.

CHEATS GRAVY

2 cups of chicken consomme
 1/2 cup of sherry or madeira
1 tbsp redcurrant jelly (or crab apple, quince – whatever)
Place in a medium saucepan and simmer 5 minutes over a moderately high heat until reduced and thickened by 1/3. Season to taste.
For lamb – add a little rosemary
For Chicken or Veal – add tarragon.

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>MINT SALAD DRESSING FOR PRAWNS

1 tbsp fish sauce (nam pla)
juice of 1 lime, or lemon
3 tbsp coconut milk
1 tsp sugar
1 clove garlic – chopped fine
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 fresh chillies – chopped fine – take out the lumps if you want
fresh ground black pepper

Mix all these ingredients together and pour over prawns.
Serve topped with chopped mint

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>I’m not sure if I should include this recipe. I have not yet made it, so I don’t know if it works. But, whoever wrote this says it is delicious with bubbles…  so, I will! and in my defence…. it usually takes just two glasses of wine to make me sleepy/tipsy!

STRAWBERRY SOUFFLES
Strawberry Sauce
12 – 15 fresh strawberries
1/2 cup good quality berry jam
2 – 3 tbsp fruity liqueur ( grand marnier, kirsch – the booze is optional)

Blitz everything in a kitchen whizz.
Put 1/2 the sauce into a small pot and heat, stirring until boiling
Spoon the remaining sauce into ramekins

Souffles
2 egg whites
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Whisk egg whites to soft peaks, add sugar bit by bit and beat until sugar is dissolved.
Fold in hot berry puree and vanilla.

Spoon meringue over the top of cold berry puree.
Bake 4 – 6 minutes until souffles start to brown. Don’t keep cooking until they rise or they will collapse too much as they cool.

Serve immediately with sliced strawberries.

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