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Cooking

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Sunday baking: savoury muffins

I often make these muffins when we have guests and / or there’s nothing in the house for lunch on a weekend. One of the best things about this recipe is that you can add just about anything you can find in the cupboard to the basic mix. base ingredients (makes 12 standard size muffins) 2 cups self-raising flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 2 tablespoons caster sugar 3/4 cup milk 1/2 cup extra light olive oil 2 eggs Simply sift the dry ingredients into a bowl, add your fillings (today I added 2 cups grated cheese, 100g pancetta, chives, finely diced red capsicum, black pepper and a dollop of hot english mustard), whisk the wet ingredients together and mix it all with a metal spoon until just combined. Spoon the mixture evenly into a muffin tin and cook in a 200C (390F) oven for 12-15 minutes (or if you have…

Let’s make cheese! Part 1.

I love cheese in most forms, although I’m not very adventurous when it comes to “blue” varieties. I also don’t fancy the maggot cheese that Andrew Zimmern ate in Sardinia. And then there’s cottage cheese, but I don’t believe anyone actually eats that – surely it exists purely to torture fat people…? Anyway, I’m in need of a career change so I’ve decided to follow in the footsteps of Alex James from Blur by leaving my old life behind to make cheese. I’ve seen a few cheese making kits around recently, and Harvey Norman Big Buys caught me in a moment of weakness with a “Mad Millie” kit on special from $140 to $78 including shipping. I ordered it on a Thursday and received it by courier the following Monday which was quite impressive. Checking out Mad Millie’s website reveals that I didn’t get such a bargain after all, as this kit…

Baking disaster class: Chocolate chip cookie dough brownies

I first encountered this rather disturbing image during one of my regular trawls to This Is Why You’re Huge, a site that I don’t visit looking for the answer to life’s problems but rather for blog inspiration or a photo of something horrific that I can send to my work colleagues just before lunch. For once, this actually looked rather tasty and I followed the links to find this recipe for chocolate chip cookie dough brownies by Recipe Girl. Having finally put the horrors of those Oreo things behind me, this seemed like a simple recipe that neatly solved the problem that a large amount of cookie dough never actually makes it to the oven in my house, and when it does the temperature-lottery burns half of them. You can get the full recipe from here, so I won’t repeat it. I used Australian cup measures, and for once I was glad…

Foundation Day lunch spectacular! (kind of)

Today was the Foundation Day public holiday in Western Australia, so I took the opportunity to invite a few family over for lunch – any excuse for some crazy cooking madness. So what’s on the menu? First up is leek, bacon & vintage cheddar quiche. I discovered this simple recipe a while ago in Good Taste magazine, and it’s become my standard thing to make if I have guests – if I’m taking one to a family function I always make two otherwise the first one doesn’t always make it there intact! You can see the full recipe here, although I tend to use frozen shortcrust pastry more for the sake of speed than anything. It might also be because I’m hopeless at pastry. ingredients Short crust pastry 1 large leek – trimmed and thinly sliced 175g rindless short crust bacon, chopped 1/2 cup grated vintage cheddar 4 eggs 1/2…

Baking Mad: Genoise sponge cake

I recently discovered a great new show from the UK’s Channel 4, Baking Mad with Eric Lanlard. Eric is a Master Pâtissier and twice winner of the prestigious Continental Pâtissier of the Year at the British Baking Awards – you can read his full bio here. In each episode of Baking Mad, Eric shows how to make several relatively simple but sensational looking desserts, and the show is presented in a light and non-patronising manner – unlike his previous 10-part series Glamour Puds which I gave up on after episode 2. In episode 1 Eric showed how to make a selection of rather delicious looking cupcakes (Tiramisu, Lemon Meringue and Amaretto Pineapple – get the recipes here), but the recipe that really caught my eye in episode 2 was the Genoise sponge cake, which Eric claimed to be lighter than a Victoria sponge and easy to make. This was totally unlike any…

Disaster Class: Chocolate Eclairs

I was feeling strangely in the mood for a challenge this afternoon, and decided to attempt a recipe with three components that I was capable of  screwing up: chocolate eclairs. I was tempted to make these after reading Gary Mehigan’s excellent book “Comfort Food” that I picked up for under $25 at Target. Regular readers of this blog will know that I had great success with Gary’s triple chocolate brownies – he’s also the reason I’m considering watching Australian MasterChef this year. First I made the choux pastry, using the recipe from Gary’s book: ingredients 125ml milk 125ml water pinch of table salt 100g unsalted butter, chopped; plus 30g softened 150g plain flour, sifted 1 teaspoon caster sugar 4 free range eggs method preheat fan-forced oven to 180C (355F). Bring the milk, water, salt and the 100g butter to the boil in a heavy based saucepan over high heat. Add the flour…

Recipe Test: Caramel Mud Cake

I’ve had one of those weeks – the kind where you wonder if attempting to cook is a good idea, as it’s likely to end in a fire and/or trip to the hospital – I actually managed to set fire to a packet of butter while cooking a steak the other day. After flicking through a few cookbooks, I decided to try and make the caramel mudcake from the Australian Women’s Weekly mini cookbook “baking favourites” – a surprisingly easy recipe that doesn’t need a mixer. Ingredients 180g white eating chocolate, chopped 185g unsalted butter, chopped 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar 1/2 cup golden syrup 1 cup milk 1 1/2 cups plain flour 1/2 cup self raising flour 2 eggs White chocolate ganache 1/2 cup cream 360g white eating chocolate, chopped Method preheat oven to 160C (320F) / 140C (285F) fan forced. Grease a 22cm round cake pan and…