Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Everybody Needs Cake - Eggless Chocolate Cake.

As No 2 son has moved back in and has a myriad of allergies my cooking style has undergone a forceful change. We decided yesterday that what we really need is cake. Everybody needs Cake.
One of my favorite blogs is Art of Dessert.
Rianne shares lots of delicious recipes and great photos for those with allergies.
One of her recent posts was Chocolate Wasted Cupcakes
I had grand plans of making the cupcakes but laziness set in and I just threw the whole lot into a pan and baked it whole. It is delicious. I did have to substitute some stuff so I have given my recipe below. The original is on Riannes site.

Egg Less Chocolate Cake

2 cups gluten free flour
1 cup coconut flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 cups milk
1 cup butter, melted
4 teaspoons maple syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup Beach Organics cacao nibs
I bought these at the Good Food And Wine show and they were delicious.
1 teaspoon mixed spice

Mix wet ingredients well.
Sift the flours and cocoa together and add other dry ingredients. Mix well.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix well.
Place into lined baking tin and bake in 180 degrees Celsius oven for 40 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.
I had my piece with coffee icecream and mango.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wasabi Leaves Salad


We ate the rest of the wasabi leaves tonight. The flavour of the raw leaves is very different to wasabi paste. The closest comparable flavour is rocket. I made a fridge salad. That's a salad made with whatever was in the fridge.
In this case toasted almonds, chinese cabbage, wasabi leaves, boiled potato, carrot, celery and cucumber. I also pan fired some chicken for No 2 son and I. The dressing is lemon infused olive oil, lemon juice and seeded mustard.
It was fresh, light and delicious. Just the thing for our first hot day. It got to 28 degrees celsius here today. Summer is coming. I prefer Winter.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Wasabi Leaves


No 1 Son, Favorite Daughter In Law and No 1 Grandson dropped in for lunch today. We'd been with Favorite Daughter to look at a Church for her wedding next year. No 1 Son is an Uniting Church miniister and will be performing the ceremony.
No 1 son and family live at the beautiful Victor Harbour and there is an excellent Farmers Market there on Saturday mornings. Last Saturday No 1 Son bought some wasabi leaves so he brought a few up to me to try.I was a bit hesitant however they don't have that blow off the top of your head and clear your sinuses while you scream for mercy taste either.
A local farmer at Victor Harbour has started to grow the wasabi. The largest and possibly only commercial grower of Wasabi in Australia is in Tasmania, Shima Wasabi so there is still room in the market for some more growers.
Shima Wasabi do a pack for home shoppers it contains 2 fresh wasabi stems (minimum weight 150g, enough for 12-15 servings, 12 fresh wasabi leaves, 12 wasabi leaf stalks and postage for $42. Understandable why there are others looking at getting into the market.
to correctly make your own paste you really need either a sharkshin wasabi grater or a creamic one. Shima Wasabi have those too.

The ones I got were crisp and green. They have a similar apperance to coltsfoot and these were begging for a bit of experimentation so I whipped up a tempura batter and threw them in.
They didn't like being tempura'd. The batter was crunchy and just as it should have been but the leaves were tasteless after cooking.

I can see why people would pay 50 cents a leaf for them but next time I'll try something else. They were great raw and I think they will be excellent in a salad. If they last till Sunday and are not eaten before I might try them in some sushi. Sushi is the plan for Sunday. I'll show you what I do then.

Tempura Batter
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 1/2 cups of ice water

Mix together until smooth and refrigerate until you are going to use it. If the batter gets hot it will not be crunchy.
The batter should have the consistency of cream. This amount is enough for tempura for 6 people.

Toss whatever vegetables, fish or meat you like in a little bit of flour and drop in the batter.
Heat your rice bran oil to 180 degrees Celsius and drop the battered whatever into the hot oil. Don't overcrowd your pan or your batter might not get really crisp. It is the extremely cold batter hitting the hot oil that gives you your crisp delicate coating.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Adelaide Good Food and Wine Show

Today off I went to the Adelaide Good Food and Wine Show. The Husband sort of grunted and frowned everytime I mentioned it. "V8's....Bathurst....Mumble, mumble don't want to go.... mumble, mumble..."
Now I too am a fan of V8's and spending a day in front of the telly to catch any really good car crashes is a day well spent. It certainly is how I spent the weekend last year.
This year I decided that V8's couldn't compete with the allure of a show dedicated to Good Food and Wine. I certainly was not disappointed. Well, a little disappointed. In a whole huge pavilion dedicated to wine and food there were certainly those. There were nibbles, crackers and a happy abundance of liquers and spirits. I happily sipped on lots of really excellent wines. There were little pots of pastas one enterprising company had bought along one of their pasta machines. That was really interesting and the pasta was delicous. I had lots of breads, dukkahs galore and some really excellent wines. I sipped a lot and was praying I wouldn't run afoul of a booze bus (breathalyser) on my way home. I was pretty sure I hadn't over indulged to the point of being over the limit but who wants to chance that.
I bought a bottle of St Germains elderflower liquer, the bottle is a work of art and the liquer isn't bad either. Some really excellent Pama pomegranate liquer, a bottle of the lovely Glayva whiskey and a bottle of Hpnotiq - a blend of exotic juices, vodka and cognac found their way into my shopping bag. I succumbed to neccessity and bought myself a granny shopping trolley. apparently everyone in Europe regardless of age has one...so I am actually being Continental. Chocolate abounded.

What was lacking from the Good Food and Wine show....Cheese, not a skerrick, there are so many fantastic cheese makers in South Australia.
Cake....really lacking as well, surely someone like St George Cakes or those of that ilk could have been there.
On the whole though a great day out with my friend from work. We saw Manu and Ainsley so Yay for us.
Oh and the new upgraded Goyder Pavilion is great - these kids had so much fun in the fountain in the beer garden I wanted to splash in the water too...But people frown on that.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse

Is there a 12 step program for compulsive shoppers – You know the kind where you stand up and say I am a kitchen stuff junkie. If there is I bet they are all really well fed. I love all sorts of stuff, books, cooking paraphenalia, anything that is food related has a place in my house.
I know my husband shakes his head and wonders if it will ever stop. He used to ask when I would stop buying books, gadgets, stuff my answer the last time was “When I have them all”.
He’s stopped asking me now. There are reasons why I shop.
I have always been a stress shopper. I am also a stress eater.
Yes, I am potentially a fat person with a house full of stuff. I can control my eating enough to stay at the top of my ideal weight range (I believe those weight ranges are done by anorexics with low self-esteem who want everybody to be hungry and miserable).
I am also a compulsive shopper. I am not as bad as I used to be, I do have some self control. Always remembering that I might never see that thing again…. I have a million reasons I can give you for shopping and eating. I know it and I don't care.
If I am asked for a reason I now say “Because I want too”.
Yes that’s right I buy because I can, there are a lot of shop-keepers who see me coming and their heart and wallet sings a happy “Ka-Ching”.
I am supporting the economy. I am stocking up for the zombie apocalypse. The economy might crash and there I would be without a dozen rolling pins. How embarrassing would that be.
Today I went shopping with my favorite daughter, we were looking for inspiration and a plate cake to sit her wedding cake on. Off we went with the granddaughters who started saying how bored they were before we got out of the drive way. First stop was Creative Cooks - A great kitchen stuff shop at Melrose Park. There are millions of us cooks searching for that perfect rolling pin, I wanted one that I could put rolling pin rings on. They make it easier to get perfect evenly rolled icing, pastry, whatever you are rolling.
That’s what I bought today, a lovely 70 cm long Italian beech rolling pin. It is the perfect size for the Wilton rolling pin rings I also bought. The Wilton Rolling pin I didn't buy was over $65. I ended up spending less than that on everything I bought. So I actually saved heaps of money…. Yes really… I did.
I also bought some new kitchen scissors – the pink breast cancer ones, that’s a donation to charity.
Some cupcake shaped cookie cutters because they were really cute.
A new bottle sealer cause mine is old, ugly and the sealing rings are sort of sticky.
A new small whisk because I don’t know where my other one is.
An agnolotti cutter and shaper because I don’t have one.
We also went to a cake decorating shop, I was very controlled there. I only stocked up on essentials there.
Potato flour because I ran out of that and it is really handy to have some potato flour on hand.
Star icing cutters for Christmas cookies I might will make.
Stamens for fake flowers they were 5 for $4 and they are usually $4 each. So another $16 saved. Wow my husband should be thanking me for saving me so much money.
I didn’t spend thousands of dollars, that thermomixer is still in the shop that is another thing that will have to wait for the big Lotto win.
My compulsive shoppers heart is happy. I am going to the Food and Wine Show tomorrow. Can you hear my wallet groaning. I will only buy essentials there... I promise... Really I will.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I Really Need A New Oven

I really want and sort of need a new stove. I have had my current one for 11 years and it was second hand when we got it.
I deserve a new one. I'd really like one of these


But lets be practical and sensible, until I win Lotto, which could will happen anyday, my Kitchen just isn't big enough. But one day I'm going to have one of those.

At the moment I would like to have this

which is the modern version of the one I currently have.

We used to have one of these (below) wood burning stoves and it cooked like a dream, cutting the wood, cleaning the stove and being cooked yourself in the Summer was a bit of a pain. But a dream in the winter. I'd have one again. Perhaps when I win the Lotto.


So the search continues for the new stove. I'll let you know what happens.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Eggless Almond Tarts - Baklava Inspired Or I need a new oven


I have been yearning for a new stove for quite some time. My oven is being uncooperative. It has been a loyal kitchen appliance since I bought it second hand back in 2000. But lately it has started to play up. It did this some years ago and I got a man in to look at it who did his best and said don't bother calling us again buy a new stove. Greg fiddled with it too and I don't think that helped a bit.
So I did a bit of window shopping for a new stove. WOW they are expensive. Of course the one I fell in love with wouldn't fit in my kitchen and cost over $7000 so I am lowering my goals.

What do I want in an stove.

1. Gas hotplates but not necessarily a gas oven.
2. It has to fit in a 60 x 60 cm hole and be at least 83 cm's high so it clears the bench tops.
Other than that the sky is the limit.

I would love a combitherm steam/heat combined oven but that is out of the question I am afraid. Oh well perhaps one day.

Tonight I cooked this quick dessert. No 2 son is allergic to eggs so I am inventing some desserts that are eggless.

Eggless Baklava Inspired Almond Tarts

Makes 4 tarts

Requirements

4 x 8 cm tartlet pans
Bake paper
Bowl
Spoon
Pot
Scales
Measuring jug
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons

Ingredients

2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons self-raising flour
1 teaspoon lemon rind grated
¾ - 1 cup Ground almonds
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 sheet puff pastry

Method

Preheat oven to 200° C
Thaw pastry and cut the edges off.
Cut the pastry into 4 squares lay on a piece of bake paper that is slightly larger than the pastry.
Line each tartlet dish with the pastry on bakepaper.


Combine honey, lemon juice and rind, water and butter in a small pot and bring to the boil.
Mix cinnamon, ground almonds and flour together.
Add hot mixture. mix well. The mixture should be thick enough to hold on the spoon for 1 or 2 seconds and then fall off.


Divide equally between the dishes and fold the edges back over the top.


Bake for 15 minutes at 200° C then lower the heat to 180° C and cook until firm and the pastry is browned underneath. About 30 minutes. My oven is dying so I took them out of the tins after 40 minutes and turned them upside down and browned the bases.
Cover with foil if they are going too dark (like this) they should be golden brown without the dark bits mine have.



Serve with cream or ice cream – warm or cold.