Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Peta’s Easy Amazing Incredible Jaffa Fruit Cake and Mince Pies

For Christmas each year and quite often through the year I make this fruit cake.
This is my own recipe. Please read all the instructions before starting too cook this cake.
This is a moist dense fruit cake that is incredibly more-ish. It is great with custard. It is really better if made with the fruit I have indicated rather than pre-packaged mixed fruit.

Ingredients
1 orange and 1 lemon
100 mls brandy or cointreau
Water
100 grams dried apple
100 grams dried peaches
300 grams sultanas
100 grams currants
200 grams dates chopped
100 grams raisins chopped
100 grams dried figs or glace fruit (cherries if you like them) chopped
1 cup walnuts or pecans chopped
½ cup brown sugar (Optional – but better with than without)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon mixed spice
½ teaspoon ground cloves
100 grams dark cooking chocolate broken into chunks.
3 cups (450 g) plain flour
2 eggs beaten

Method
Grease and line a lamington tin 12” x 9” or a 12” square tin with baking paper.

Puree the orange and lemon in a food process until finely chopped.

Strain the juice into a measuring jug. Keep the pulp - don't throw it away.
Add the brandy to the juice and then make up to 600 mls with water or more juice.

Place the pulp and juice into a large pot. Add the chopped dried fruit and spices. Gently bring to a simmer and stir regularly for 15 mins.

Remove from heat. Add the nuts, chocolate and sugar and stir into hot fruit until melted.

Cover and cool. When cool or nearly cool add the flour and eggs and stir well. Place into tin and bake in a 160 °C oven for 1 to 1 ½ hours until cooked You may need to place a piece of foil loosely over the tin after 45 – 60 minutes to prevent top drying out.

Substitutions
Substitute 1 kg mixed fruit for the individual fruits . I personally never use it.

You can decorate the top with glace fruits and almonds if you want to before you cook the cake.

If the top gets to dry warm ¼ cup of apricot jam and add 2 tablespoons of brandy. Mix well and then brush this across the top of the hot cake. Cover and cool.

My favorite mince pies are mince pies with a twist. Here is the recipe.
Marvelous Mince Pies.
Pastry
3 cups plain flour
1/2 cup cornflour
2 teaspoon baking powder
300 grams butter
1/2 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon lemon juice (Optional)
Rub the butter into the combined flours. Add sugar and baking powder. Mix in beaten eggs and lemon juice. You might have to add a bit of water to get it together. chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Roll out and line greased and floured patty cake tins.
Filling
1 cup sultanas
1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
1/3 cup chopped dried apple
1/2 cup currants
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup orange juice.
Grated rind of 1 orange
Mix all these filling ingredients and refrigerate overnight. Stir regularly.
The next day stir in
300 mls sour cream full fat not the skim kind. If you must use the skim then add an extra egg.
2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar.
Mix well and spoon into the pastry cases and bake for 30-40 minutes.
This makes a lot about 5 dozen.
Alternatively just mix 2 1/2 cups of fruit mince with the 300 mls sour cream, a splash of brandy, 2 eggs and 1 cup brown sugar.

Crostata



The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona from briciole. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well. This is crostata (tart), an Italian dessert. The base of a crostata is pasta frolla (or pastafrolla), sweet short crust pastry (or sweet tart dough) made of flour, sugar, butter and eggs. Pasta frolla is versatile: it provides the base to make crostata with fruit preserves, pastry cream, fresh fruit, ricotta, and other ingredients, and, by itself, it makes very nice cookies.

I made the pastry but did substitute 1/2 the flour for gluten free. I am not coeliac but I am wheat intolerant so I use a mix. I made a pumpkin crostata
I steamed the pumpkin and it was a bit watery so I added cinnamon, nutmeg, 2 beaten eggs and 2 tablespoons of plain flour. then baked it for 45 minutes. It was beautiful and a blackberry crostata rustico, the berries where frozen so I tossed them with a tablespoon of tapioca flour and a tablespoon of sugar

The Rustico is just a big circle of the dough rolled out with the fruit tossed in cornflour and sugar piled in the middle and the pastry turned back over and then cooked.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Family favorite - Cat Biscuits

My husband and kids have a favorite biscuit, Cookies for my American friends. It is a recipe I got from my Mother-in-law a lot of years ago. Greg's family always called them Cat biscuits I am not really sure why and neither are they. In Greg's Mothers cook book they were called Foaming Biscuits.
It is a great recipe, easy to make and keeps really well in an airtight container. It doesn't have any eggs and can be made with any type of flour including almond or coconut. It can be made with margarine or butter (not oil) and changed really easily by adding chocolate chips, chopped nuts or dried fruit or flavorings such as spices or lemon or orange peel. Anything that takes your fancy.
This is the basic recipe it makes a lot. They are nice with some icing drizzled over.

Foaming Biscuits or Cat Biscuits.

4 cups plain flour
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup milk or water
1 teaspoon bi-carb soda (In USA it is called baking soda not baking powder)
1 tablespoon hot water.

Method
1. Put the butter and flour into the food processor or rub the butter into the flour if you don't have a food processor.
2. Put the flour and butter mixture into a bowl. You can't leave it in the food processor trust me.
3. Place the milk and sugar into a pot and heat over a low heat until the sugar melts.
4. Dissolve the bi-carb soda in the hot water and add to the pot of sugar and milk.
5. Quickly pour it into the dry ingredients and mix it until it is smooth. It will look runny but will thicken up and it cools.
6. Either put it into the fridge in the bowl or once it has cooled roll it into logs wrapped in gladwrap. Chill in fridge or freezer until firm. It can be left in the freezer and used over the next month but this is not really required as they keep really well cooked and in an airtight container.
7. Once chilled and firm either roll 1 teaspoon size balls and squash with a fork or roll out and cut into shapes. Or cut the chilled logs into slices.
8. Place on trays that have been greased and floured or on trays lined with baking paper. Bake at 180 degrees C until golden. about 10 - 15 minutes.

For flavoured biscuits
- For chocolate add 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 tablespoons cocoa at step 2 and top with a chocolate button just before cooking. If you want to add chocolate chips do it after the mixture has cooled or the chocolate melts and the biscuit are chewy

- Lemon and Currants - Use lemon juice instead of milk or water in step 3 and add grated lemon rind and 1 cup of currants at step 2. After cooked and cooled ice with lemon icing.

- Orange and almond - Use orange juice instead of water or milk in step 3 and add grated orange rind and 1 cup of chopped almonds at step 2.

- Coconut and Jam - At step 1 use only 3 and 1/2 cups of flour and add 1 cup dessicated coconut. At step 7 roll the chilled mixture into golf ball size balls and squash down a bit. Make a hole with the handle of a wooden spoon and put 1/2 teapsoon of your favorite jam or nutella in the hole and cook.

These are only a few of my favorite flavour combinations the sky is the limit.

Cheap Food

I love to take advantage of bargains. I was in Woolworths yesterday and the fruit and veg department had a big trolley of produce for $2.00 a bag.

I bought 4 bags of mainly limes, mangoes, bananas, peaches and nectarines.
From those I made 10 jars of mango chutney, 6 jars of peach, nectarine and orange jam., a banana cake, 2 litres of mango and lime sorbet and I am going to freeze the rest of the mango flesh for later. I also gave my daughter some of the fruit.
I love bargains.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Blue Cheese and Mustard Souffle


Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose Soufflés as our November 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge! Dave and Linda provided many of their own delicious recipes plus a sinfully decadent chocolate soufflé recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe found at the BBC Good Food website.
I am late with the challenge as always. My excuse this time is we were on holidays.
Audax Artifex had heaps of advice too and I read it with great interest after I read Dave and Lindas advice. Of course I ignored most of it and well the result while not the prettiest however it rose like magic and tasted great.
My recipe is a bit of a mixup of both.

Blue Cheese and Seeded Mustard.

3 oz / 90 g blue cheese
3 tablespoons Milk
2 Tspns seeded Mustard
1 1/2 tsp corn or tapioca flour
Salt and pepper to taste
2 egg yolks
2 Egg whites
pinch cream of tartar
1 oz Butter

Prepare 2 1-cup soufflé dishes by buttering them, put them in the refrigerator while you do the rest.

Chop up or grate the cheese.

Heat the milk gently in a medium saucepan. Stir in the starch and stir to dissolve thoroughly. Add the cheese and mustard and stir until the cheese melts. Remove from heat. Keep beating with a spoon until it cools a bit then add the egg yolks,mix thoroughly and salt and pepper to taste.

Beat the egg whites and a pinch of cream of tartar until they are stiff peaks.
Scoop up a small amount of the egg whites with the beaters and mix it into the cheese mix with the beaters. With a metal spoon, fold the remaining egg whites through the cheese mix.

Remove your prepared soufflé cups from the refrigerator and gently spoon the soufflé mix into them. smooth the tops with a spatula and clean thoroughly around the rim – if you don’t do this last step the soufflés will rise at a rakish angle.

Bake 20 - 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

So what did I do that would cause one to be a little volcano? I thought the mixture was too thick and added a bit more water. It would have been perfect without this. Also as I hadn't spilt any of the mixture on the edge of the pot I didn't worry about wiping them. Another mistake. Oh well I'll know better next time. Infact I knew better this time but didn't worry about it. Still they were really good with ratatouille and a big glass of red wine. Yum.

Peta Eats

I have decided to have two blogs. You might be thinking what is she thinking. Well I am thinking that I have two obsessions - Textiles and Food and my textiles blog is getting so overloaded with food and it is time to seperate them. So I hope you will join me here if you like my food stuff and I will be putting more textile stuff on my textile one.