Wednesday, August 2, 2017

CHOCOLATE RISOTTO (AKA CHOCOLATE RICE PUDDING)

Now, I won't go so far as to say that I don't like rice pudding but I can't say that I love it either. I have always found it a bit ho hum....hot sweet rice porridge.  I have tried adding sultanas too it but that did nothing for me.  I tried chopped apple and cinnamon and still nothing.  Then this morning whilst I was crawling along in peak hour on my way to grab patterns on sale at Spotlight (only $5 people!!) it suddenly dawned on me what the solution to my rice pudding dilemma would be....it is the thing that is the answer to just about every dilemma....it's chocolate!  So I have just been rattling around in the kitchen and I have to say that I am not going to need a version two of this beauty - it is so bloody good! So chocolatey, warm, tummy filling......*sigh*. I have called it chocolate risotto because that just sounds so much more fancy than boring old rice pudding! Besides, what is rice pudding if not merely a sweet risotto?
CHOCOLATE RISOTTO

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1 1/3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup cream (thickened or whipping)
1/3 cup brown sugar firmly packed
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp cocoa
4 squares of dark chocolate (I use Cadbury's Dark 70%)
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup medium grain rice

1. Place all ingredients except rice, into the bowl with the stirring blade.
2. Select Speed 3 Temp 95 degrees Time 8 mins. No stopper.
3. On completion add the rice to the bowl and select Speed 3 Temp 95 degrees Time 35 min. No stopper.
4. On completion, allow to stand in the bowl for 10 min before serving.
5. If you wish, place into a bowl, cover the surfact of the risotto with glad wrap and place in the fridge to chill. Serve cold with cream or ice cream.

Caution - small serves.  This is very rich and filling.

NOTE: if you prefer your pudding on the runnier side, then add and extra 1/3 cup of water.

Monday, July 31, 2017

MARSHMALLOWS

When I was a kid, there were three things I looked forward to when it came to food.  Birthday parties, the local show and school fetes/tuckshops.  The latter were where I would find one of my favourite sweet treats.....homemade marshmallows.  They were so much better than anything you could buy in a bag at the local shop.  I like them either as I have made them here, cut into rectangles and covered in toasted coconut or stuffed into a square icecream cone.  Suprisingly, I managed to get to the ripe old age of 47 without ever having made them.  Don't get me wrong, I often thought about it over the years but it always seemed too complicated.  What a silly duffer I was!  It isn't really hard at all....well actually, it isn't really hard with the help of CC!  It is really easy actually.  I hope you enjoy these as much as I do. It makes around 20 good sized marshmallows.


MARSHMALLOWS

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60g gelatine
1 cup cold water
1kg sugar
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lemon juice

1. Place the boiling water and sugar into the bowl with the whisk.
2. Select Slow Cook P1.
3. Meanwhile place the cold water in a bowl and sprinkle the gelatine over the top and stir well.
4. When the program finishes, remove the lid and tip the gelatine mixture into the bowl.
5. Select Speed 2 Temp 130 Time 23min.
6. When the program is complete, remove the lid from the bowl.  Allow the mixture to cool to luke warm - the mixture will be quite thick but should not be set.
7. Rinse out a 30 x 20cm baking dish with cold water but do not dry.
8. Add the lemon and vanilla. Place the lid on the bowl and select Speed 10 Time 5min. At the end of the time the mixture should be quite thick and white.  If it is not, continue at the same speed in 1 minute increments until it is.
9. When ready, pour the mixture into the dish and place into the fridge.  It should be set in around 10 minutes but it is best if you leave it for about 30 minutes before either eating or decorating.
10. To slice the marshmallow into pieces, use a butter knife that is dipped in cold water before each cut.
11. Roll each piece in toasted coconut.

Toasted Coconut

1 1/2 cups of dessicated coconut (or shredded if you are feeling fancy!)

Place the coconut in a frying pan over medium heat and use a wooden spoon to move it around constantly to prevent it from burning.  As soon as it looks toasty brown tip it straight onto a plate or bowl to stop the cooking process.

Notes:
1. If you prefer you can roll the marshmallows in icing sugar rather than coconut.
2. You can add a couple of drops of food colouring to your marshmallow before you beat it.
3. If you prefer, you can use vanilla bean seeds or vanilla bean paste rather than extract.


Saturday, July 29, 2017

CHICKEN LEEK AND SOUR CREAM PIE

I don't often post savoury recipes here but as this lovely pie with its sour cream pastry qualifies as a baked item and as it is so delicious, I thought it was well past time that I shared the recipe.  I originally got the recipe from Taste.com.au and I have made it so many times.  Every time I make this pie, I am blown away by how full of flavour it is for so few ingredients. The pastry is so quick and simple to make with CC and it is lovely to work with too. Please excuse the pic - I forgot to properly seal the pastry - it did taste great though!!

CHICKEN LEEK AND SOUR CREAM PIE



Sour Cream Pastry
300g plain flour
100g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
1/2 tsp salt
125g sour cream
1 egg

1. Place plain flour and butter in the bowl with the kneading blade. Pulse until mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.
2. Add sour cream and egg to the bowl.
3. Select Pastry P1 for 1min 30sec and process until dough comes together.
4. Remove dough from the bowl and knead the dough lightly for around 30 seconds.
5. Weigh the dough and then divide into two parts 1/3 and 2/3.
6. Wrap the dough in cling wrap and place in the fridge for half an hour whilst you prepare the filling.
7. After chilling, roll out the larger piece of dough and fit it into the tin.
8. Roll out remaining dough to fit over the top of the pie.

Chicken and Leek Filling
500g skinless chicken breast chopped (see NOTES)
1tbsp olive oil
60g unsalted butter
1 leek trimmed, halved and sliced
50g plain flour
375ml of chicken stock (I use Vegeta Chicken Style stock)
125g sour cream
1tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 egg lightly whisked
2 tsp milk

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place a flat baking tray on the bottom shelf of the oven. Grease a 11cm x 34cm fluted rectangular tart tin.
2. Place diced chicken and olive oil in the bowl with the stirring blade. Select Slow Cook P1 for 15 min. When cooked removed from the bowl and set aside.
3. Place the butter and the leeks in the bowl with the stirring blade. Select Slow Cook P1 for 10min. (If the leeks need more cooking, continue in 3min increments until done).
4. Add flour to the bowl and select Slow Cook P1 for 5 minutes. ( The flour may ball up with the leek but don't worry it will be fine!). After 3 minutes, slowly pour in the stock with the motor running.
5. When the program stops, add chicken and rosemary to the bowl. Select Slow Cook P1 for 4min.
6. After 3 min pause the program add the sour cream and season with salt and white pepper. Restart program.
7. Place the filling into the pastry lined tin. Place the top dough on and add decorative pastry pieces if desired. Glaze with egg and milk wash.
8. Back on the preheated tray in the middle of the oven for 40-45 minutes until pie is golden.

Notes:
1. If you wish, you can swap chicken breast for the meat of a whole bbq chicken. Simply skip step 2.
2. You can change the rectangle tin for a fluted round tin of either 23 or 25cm. 

PINEAPPLE AND CARROT CAKE

I really love pineapple in cakes and when you put pineapple with carrot, I think it is really something special. This is a really easy cake to make and it is packed with tonnes of flavour.  When I first made this cake, I recall that the recipe called for wholemeal flour.  I am not a fan of wholemeal flour so I have always made it with white flour.  This time however, I made it with gluten free flour.  I used the White Wings Gluten Free Self Raising Flour that comes in the orange pack.  It worked really well. There was no difference between the normal version and the gluten free version. If you like you can ice this with either a lemon glace icing or a cream cheese icing.  I like to serve it hot (zap in the microwave) with icecream.
PINEAPPLE AND CARROT CAKE (Can be Gluten Free)

1 1/2 cups of self raising flour (either normal or gluten free)
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp bicarb soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 salt
2/3 cup oil (light olive oil, canola oil, vegetable oil etc)
2 eggs
1 cup finely grated carrot
1/2 cup crushed pineapple
1 tsp vanilla essence

1. Grease and line a 23cm square cake tin. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees.
2. Place all the ingredients in the bowl with the kneading blade, in the order specified.
3. Select Pastry P1 for 1min.
4. After 30 sec pause the machine and scrape down the sides. Resume program.
5. When program is complete, pour the batter into the tin and level off.
6. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.


Sunday, July 16, 2017

OLIVE AND ROSEMARY FOCCACIA

I have never really been very good at yeast cookery.  The only thing made with yeast that has been pretty successful for me has been crumpets.  You can only eat so many crumpets though!  I have made a few foccacias in the past and always found them a bit heavy and lacking in real taste.  Not today though!  Today I made the most amazing focaccia ever.  It rose beautifully, it had great taste and texture and it was beautifully soft.  I will make it again but next time I am going to try a parmesan, garlic and parsley topping.  Give this a go - I promise you will not be disappointed.  (Adapted from a Taste.com.au recipe).


OLIVE AND ROSEMARY FOCCACIA
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1 1/4 cups warm water
2 tsps dried yeast (I use Lowan's in the red tube with the gold lid)
2 tsps caster sugar
3 1/2 tbsps olive oil
3 cups plain flour (I used bakers flour which I think gives the best result)
2 tsps sea salt flakes
1 1/2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
20 pitted kalamata olives

1. Combine the water, yeast, sugar and 2 tbsp of the oil in the bowl with the kneading blade.
2. Select Speed 3 Time 10 sec. When complete select Temp 35 Time 6 min.
3. Add flour and half the sea salt to the bowl.
4. Select Pastry P1. Cease program once dough has come together.
5. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for 1 min.
6. Remove kneading blade from the bowl and spray the bowl with cooking spray.
7. Place the dough in the bowl and replace lid with the stopper on Maxi.
8. Select Temp 35 Time 45min.
9. Place dough on lightly floured surface. Punch down the centre of the dough with your fist.
10. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Brush a 20cm x 30cm swiss roll tin with two teaspoons of the remaining oil.
11. Knead the dough for two minutes until it is elastic and has returned to its original size.
12. Stretch and press the dough into the prepared tin. (Be patient, it takes a few minutes to stretch it out.)
13. Cover lightly with a slightly damp tea towel and place in a warm area to rise for 20 minutes or until doubled in size.
14. Use your finger to press dimples (press halfway down into the dough) into the dough. Brush with the remaining oil and sprinkle over rosemary and remaining salt. Press the olives into the dough.
15. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden and foccacia sounds hollow when tapped on the base. (Keep an eye on it from 15 minutes onwards - mine was done right on 20 min).

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

CHOCOLATE BUTTER

I recently splurged on a big bag of Lindt dark couverture chocolate and have felt driven to find as many ways to use it as possible.  I was poking around the internet looking at chocolate this and chocolate that when I stumbled across something that really made me sit up and take notice.  What is this attention getting thing you might ask?  Well, set your face to thrilled because mine was.  Are you ready?  Two companies in New Zealand have united to create and sell........CHOCOLATE BUTTER!  Did you get that?  CHOCOLATE BUTTER people! As soon as I read of this I had to know more. So I checked out the product ingredients.  I read a pile of foodie blog posts about it.  Then I read lots of blogs of people who had tried to create it.  So, armed with all this knowledge, I set off to the kitchen.  I am pleased to say that I only wasted two lots of ingredients had two unsuccessful attempts before hitting on a recipe that met my expectations.  One thing I learned in the first attempt is that putting vegetable oil in the chocolate butter is disgusting (quite a few bloggers did this) as it tastes yuck and has a horrible mouth feel.  This recipe gives a lovely silky and beautifully chocolatey butter that looks and smells great. This is a great treat for those who have a nut allergy and can't have things that are nut based like Nutella.  It is also great because you don't need expensive, wanky ingredients.  You can use it any way you see fit - the only limit is your imagination. Put it on pikelets, pancakes, toast, bread, spread it on a cupcake, stick it on a crumpet, put it on ice cream, pile it on a waffle or use it as a cake filling.  As the primary ingredients are butter and chocolate and both can be stored safely at room temperature, you can keep it in the bench or in the pantry.  However, if you live in our hotter climates, I would recommend storing it in the fridge and bringing it out to warm up when you want to use it.  It will solidify in the fridge.  Without further ado, I give you CHOCOLATE BUTTER!!!!

CHOCOLATE BUTTER
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1 cup of chocolate (approx 180g) (the best you can afford - dark chocolate is best)
250g of unsalted butter, diced and soft (it is worth splurging on Devondale or Lurpak as no name brands have a high water content)
2 tbsp icing sugar
2 tbsp cocoa
Good pinch of sea salt

1. Place the chocolate in the bowl with the kneading blade.
2. Select Speed 3 Temp 80 degrees Time 3min. Stopper out.
3. After 1 min, pause the program and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Resume program.
4. Once chocolate is melted leave to cool for 15 minutes with the lid off.
5. Place remaining ingredients in the bowl.
6. Select Speed 9 Time 1 min.
7. After 30 seconds, pause the program and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Resume program.
8. Place the chocolate butter into a clean jar.

Note: This makes about 1 1/3 cups of chocolate butter. It should keep for up to two weeks....if it lasts that long.


Monday, July 10, 2017

CHOC-MALT CHOC CHIP CAKE

I make a lot of chocolate cakes.  I have made more than I could ever remember.  One of my all time favourites is on this blog - Devil's Food Cake.  It is a simple but delicious cake that is suitable for any occasion and can be adapted to suit many tastes. I have to say though that this cake that I made today is right up there in my list of favourite chocolate cakes.  It's texture is divine - a cross between a sponge cake and a mud cake.  The chocolate chips are a lovely surprises as you eat your way through a piece.  The topping is lovely and gooey as it never quite sets.  Once again this is a simple cake made even easier by making it in the CC.

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CHOC-MALT CHOC CHIP CAKE
Cake
1/2 cup malted milk powder (I use Nestle Malted Milk Powder)
1/3 cup cocoa 
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup golden syrup
175g very soft butter, diced
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
2/3 buttermilk
1/2 cup choc chips

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees and grease and line a 22cm square cake tin (you can use an equivalent sized round tin and it will be fine).
2. Place all ingredients except choc chips into the bowl with the kneading blade.
3. Select Pastry P1 for 1 min.
4. After 30 sec pause the program and scrape down the sides and blade. Resume program.
5. When program is complete, pulse for 5 seconds.
6. Add choc chips to the bowl and select Speed 5 Time 20 seconds.
7. Pour batter into the prepared tin.
8. Place tin in the oven and bake for 10 mins, then turn down the oven to 175 degrees and bake for a further 25 minutes.
9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out on to a cooling rack and allowing to cool completely.

Icing

150g dark chocolate (I use Cadbury Gold 70%) broken into squares
5 tbsp thickened cream
5 tbsp malted milk powder

1. Place chocolate into the bowl with the stirring blade and select Speed 3 Temp 80 degrees Time 3min.
2. Once chocolate is melted, add cream and malted milk powder to the bowl.
3. Select Speed 5 Time 20 sec.
4. Allow icing to cool for 15 min before applying to the cake.  Adorn with sprinkles or Maltesers if desired.