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    Tuesday, July 31, 2007

    A New Baby and Continuing on the Theme of Cheese and Olives.

    Great News the long awaited event has happened.
    Cleo Harriet Noble was born at 1.50pm 29th July 2007
    8lb 8ozs - 49 cms long
    Of course what does a good Mother do when her daughter is in labour?
    October 16th is World Bread Day such fun breads to make and absolutely delicious

    So continuing on the Cheese and Olive Theme
    I baked Cheese and Olive bread.

    I have been very impressed with James Martin. He showed me how to make good pizza and foccacio in fact I have used his recipe frequently, which as it turns out I have never posted…must do that.
    So I have been making bread on and off for a couple of years now.
    Not bad…usually have a good crumb, tastes really good but usually best eaten on the day. Mind you I think the old adage “practice makes perfect” is very true here.
    The more you make the better the feel you have for it.
    First the smell as the yeast works in the dough...then as it cooks…divine.
    I have also used 00 Italian flour which may also have helped.
    He also suggested using packaged yeast. Elfin has 8 gms packets…perfect.
    I was always throwing out my bottle of yeast as it had gone past it’s use by dated but the little foil packets are wonderful.
    There are a couple of hints don’t put the salt near the yeast till it is mixed with the liquids.
    Salt will kill yeast.

    Anyway I watched an old episode of James Martin “Sweet” he had a guest Paul Hollywood, (a baker of some note) and this is I think the best bread I’ve made so far.
    His recipe was for Mandarin and Chocolate.
    I then adapted it on Cleo’s birthday to Cheese and Olives.

    First the recipe for Mandarin and Chocolate.

    500 gms bread flour
    15 gms yeast 2 packets Elfin Yeast
    15 gms sugar
    15 gms table salt
    Splash olive oil
    260 mls warm water

    1 tin mandarins drained and squeezed
    1 cup chocolate chips
    Little extra flour to soak up the juice from the mandarins

    In a large bowl place flour yeast, sugar and salt
    Add olive oil
    Add water (hand hot)

    Mix well with a spatula till all the dry ingredients are mixed and the bowl is pretty clean.
    You may need to add a little more water it all depends on the day
    The dough should be moist. Dry dough makes tough bread.

    Turn out onto flour covered bench and start to knead.

    Start off folding from all sides in adding more flour as needed.

    Keep this folding motion up till the dough starts to get smoother
    Then start kneading with the old push away and bring back method.

    Now Paul Hollywood said hold to the dough up and pull in into a circle shape

    If it holds and doesn’t break the gluten should have stretched enough.

    Roll in into a ball

    And place back into your mixing bowl, which you have greased
    And cover with a tea-towel until doubled in size .
    Should take about an hour depending on the temperature of the room.
    Meanwhile drain the mandarins and in a sieve and squeeze as much juice out as possible.

    When the dough has risen pull it away from the sides
    and push down into a rectangular shape onto a floured bench.

    Put the squeezed mandarins and chocolate chips on the dough and
    start folding in again Till all amalgamated.

    You will need more flour.
    Just keep kneading around till smooth
    Word of advice, if you intend making lots of bread
    Invest in one of these scrapers
    Particularly good when working  with wet dough
    Pick up and dump
     Then shape as below and lay on a floured baking sheet
    Dust well with flour and make some slashes along the top with a sharp knife
    Leave to rise again covered with the tea towel (about 1/2 hour)
    Bake in 220C oven for 30 minutes
    So to make the Cheese and Olive bread substitute
    Replaced the mandarins and chocolate chips with
    ½ cup chopped olives and 1 cup of your choice of cheese cubed.
    Proceed as above

    So the fruits of my labour while Katie was producing
    this gorgeous little baby

    Welcome to our world Little Cleo

    Friday, July 27, 2007

    Cheese, Onion and Olive Pie

    It seems that the last couple of blogs were a bit of “All about me” sorry about that but back to cooking.
    “Huey’s Cooking Adventures” is back on Food TV again. I really like his food I have made many of his dishes. It’s down to earth food...anyone can make it. I thought this Cheese Olive and Onion Pie looked sensational. And yes it is.
    I doubled this recipe and cooked it in a 30cm loose bottom tin (greased and floured).
    He didn’t say what size he used but it looked like a 20cm tin.
    This is so easy. You just need to take a bit of time cooking the onions and have time to let them cool that’s fairly important.
    Apparently he saw this in a magazine and thinks it came from NZ Chef Julie Le Clerc.

    So for 4 people (20 cm tin)
    Heat oven 180C

    ¼ cup olive oil
    3 large onions sliced

    1 cup SR flour
    2 tablespoons finely chopped dill
    1 cup Greek yoghurt…the thick one
    3 large eggs lightly beaten
    300 gms feta cheese
    1 cup grated gruyere
    Freshly ground black pepper
    Black olives

    Add onions to oil and cook gently about 10 minutes until soft

    Sift flour into bowl
    Add dill
    Make a well
    Add eggs and yoghurt
    Mix gently with a wooden spoon…don’t beat
    Crumble in feta cheese
    Add gruyere

    Add onions complete with the oil
    Season with freshly ground black pepper, don’t add salt the cheeses have enough

    Mix again and pour into greased and floured tin
    Arrange olives on the top press them down a little
    Cook about 45 minutes
    Check after 30 and keep looking at it every 5 minutes until golden
    I just poked a little knife in to check that it was cooked all through
    It is a moist pie
    A red cabbage, celery, spring onion and sugar snap pea salad
    (tossed in mayo flavoured with horse radish, garlic, Dijon mustard, lemon juice and dill)
    was a perfect accompaniment.
    Hint for sugar snap peas. Blanch them in boiling water about 30 seconds the colour is amazing.
    They are still crunchy but look fabulous
    Pretty too.

    This was Saturday’s Meal’s on Wheels for the workers (son-in-law and family) building our daughter's house. And we are still feeding a pregnant daughter now overdue looking about to burst.

    By the way I cut a hunk for Dale and myself for our dinner. didn't want to miss out.

    Lovely Blogs

    Charlotte of Lovely Blogs NZ has set a directory of interesting NZ blogs and has invited me to join. It's full of great sites...this blogging world is huge. Arts and Crafts, general commentary, and of course Food and Wine. When I started this hobby I had no idea what I would be getting myself into and it is all great fun. Certainly a way to while away the hours...always wondered what I would do when I stopped work. Problem solved.
    Thank you Charlotte

    Wednesday, July 25, 2007

    Confit of Salmon

    My friend Barbara Winos and Foodies tagged me for this meme. I am new to this and it was fun to think about the following…I’m sorry but I have had to cheat on the favourite foods and slip in a couple of extras

    Fragrant white ripe peaches and nectarines
    Roast Pork especially the Crackling
    Ripe Tomatoes with avocado
    Roast Chicken and foie gras

    Can’t drink Milk
    Sheep’s eyes
    Chicken feet

    Lab Technician
    Plan printing


    Bolero The Song of Life
    There’s Something About Mary
    Jean de Florette


    Picnicking at the Zoo with my grandchildren
    On our boat in the Hauraki Gulf in the heat of Summer
    On a Gourmet Tour of France
    On a Gourmet Tour of Italy

    Here's one of the trips to the Zoo...Don't you love the Zoo? such a happy place to visit.

    I’ll also keep this meme in New Zealand and pass it on to Arfi of Homemades who is always thinking of wonderful new ways to cook healthily. She has some great gluten free food… click on here to read her blog
    She has been nominated for "Bloggers for Positive Global Change"

    Talking about grandchildren we are all anxiously awaiting the birth of the newest grandchild due today.
    Yesterday we took a little lunch over to the pregnant Mum a lovely little pasta from the leftover of the last nights Dinner with Friends.
    The extension to the house is coming along splendidly.
    It has been a bit of a race which will come first new room or new baby. I think the baby will win.
    Hopefully it will

    The Dinner for Friends
    Beautiful Confit of Salmon with Creme Fraiche Potatoes

    This method of cooking salmon is delightful I saw it on "Saturday Cooks."
    Demonstrated by Chef Jun Tanaka
    I have poached potatoes in oil before and loved it and this fish is great.
    So you just lightly poach the fish in oil that is fragrantly spiced.

    Serve it on a bed of potatoes dressed in a horseradish and dill dressing
    A little braised fennel or leeks as an accompaniment.

    If you buy the salmon already skinned and all little pin bones removed.
    it is much easier.

    You need
    1 tablespoon each of
    Coriander seeds
    Cardamom pods
    Black peppercorns
    1 star anise

    1 litre olive oil (not extra virgin olive oil)
    200 gms salmon per person

    3-4 small potatoes each– peeled

    The Potato Dressing
    1 pottle Crème fraiche
    Grated horseradish
    2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
    2 tablespoons chopped dill
    Juice of 1 Lemon
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Fennel or leeks

    Remove hard outer bits,keep the end on so that the vegetable stays intact
    cut in half vertically.

    Get a sheet of foil
    Place the vege on top
    Splash of white wine
    Drizzle olive oil
    Clove of garlic
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Wrap and cook 200C for 20 minutes

    To cook the Salmon
    First toast the spices in a dry pan

    Add olive oil and gently heat. Do not overheat definitely not smoking
    It is a gentle poaching method.
    Add the salmon the oil should just cover it.

    Poach for about 6-8 minutes

    Meanwhile boil your potatoes drain and mix with ½ of the dressing while warm

    Plate potatoes first
    Salmon on top
    And finish off with fennel
    Drizzle over the vege juices and a little spoonful of the dressing on the side

    How delicious is that?

    Now the Leftover Pasta

    Just make a white sauce
    2 tablespoons butter
    2 tablespoons flour
    ½ cup white wine
    1 cup chicken stock
    Freshly ground black pepper
    1 bay leaf
    2 tablespoons chopped spring onion

    1 egg

    Melt butter
    Add flour stir and cook about 4 minutes to cook out the flour taste
    Add wine and hot chicken stock and bay leaf
    Stir till thickened
    Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary
    Remove from heat
    Add spring onion
    Beat in egg

    Toss cooked on Pasta a little olive oil to stop sticking then add flaked leftover salmon and chop the potatoes.

    Mix with half of the sauce

    Place in oven proof dish
    Cover with remainder of sauce and cook in 180C till bubbly and golden.
    So so simple.

    Monday, July 23, 2007

    Fab Cheesecake, Fab Tart, Fab Family Lunch

    Once a month we have family dinner. Everyone takes a turn and it was mine this week. Our granddaughter Sophia came over early to help. She set the table. We brought the outdoor table inside so we could seat everyone in comfort.
    She cut the skin off the oranges for the lovely Toffee Orange Dessert Click here
    They are the dessert of the month for me at the moment.
    Everyone loved them, the toffee splendidly hardened on immediate contact with the cold oranges. Excellent.
    This time I remembered to sprinkle the candied peel over the completed dish
    I also stirred in a tablespoon of peel into the accompanying crème fraiche.
    Just a few Honey Roasted Almond Accents gave an extra crunch

    Sophia's mother Helen made a divine BLACK AND WHITE CHEESECAKE

    She found the recipe in Delicious magazine submitted by Australian Chef Jill Dupleix
    Helen used orange zest in the cream cheese layer to complement the Toffee oranges
    100g dark chocolate, chopped
    200g sour cream or crème fraiche
    600g cream cheese, softened
    ½ tsp vanilla extract
    200g castor sugar
    2 tbsp plain flour
    1 tbs grated orange or lemon zest
    3 large eggs

    Biscuit Base
    200g digestive biscuits, finely crushed
    125g unsalted butter, melted
    1 tbs cocoa powder, plus extra to dust

    Grease a 23cm springform pan.

    For the base, process biscuit, butter, cocoa powder and a pinch of salt in a food processor until you have moist crumbs.
    Tip into the cake pan and press firmly over the base and 5cm up the sides.
    Refrigerate while making the filling.

    Preheat oven to 180C.

    Heat chocolate and half the sour cream in a bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth.

    Using an electric mixer,
    Beat the softened cream cheese, vanilla extract, caster sugar and
    remaining sour cream until smooth.
    Beat in the plain flour and orange or lemon zest, then
    beat in the eggs one at a time.

    Pour two-thirds of the cream cheese mixture into the crust.
    Whisk the melted chocolate cream into the remaining cream cheese mixture until smooth.
    Using a soup ladle, pour the chocolate filling over
    the vanilla filling until you reach the top of the crust.
    Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes,
    until the centre is just firm and the top is slightly golden –
    it will split slightly.
    Cool, then refrigerate overnight before serving.
    Dust with cocoa powder,
    Use a hot knife to slice the cheesecake and serve.

    To start the meal Lana made her
    Goats Cheese and Caramelised Onion Tart.
    The flavours were divine.

    So To make Lana's scrumptious tart

    50 ml olive oil
    8 red onions sliced
    2 pinches of white sugar
    2 pinches of thyme leaves
    200g shortcrust pastry
    350 g goat’s cheese
    75 ml milk
    75 ml cream
    3 eggs
    Salt &
    A pinch of paprika
    Ground nutmeg to taste

    Pre heat oven to 190 deg C.
    In medium pan, heat the olive oil
    add onions and sugar and continually stir until brown and very sweet to taste.
    Add thyme leaves stir and remove from heat and leave to cool.

    Line a 26cm tart shell with pastry rolled out 2mm thick.
    Half fill pastry shell with caramelised onions and
    Top with slices of fresh goat cheese.
    I used marinated feta and then another layer of onion
    and then fresh feta on top.

    Combine milk, cream, eggs, salt and pepper, paprika and nutmeg and mix well.
    Pour over the top of the tart.

    Bake in oven until the base of the tart is golden brown and mixture set.
    Cool on a metal rack.
    Slice tart with serrated knife.
    Serve with a Fresh Tomato and Basil Salad.
    Use several types of tomatoes.
    Drizzle a little olive oil around the plate and
    Serve with cracked pepper and a little sea salt

    Of course I am still on the Mumsie Food and cooked the Corned Beef Dinner again.
    It was very good but there is a lot of prep for 15 people I am glad I got up early

    This time I accompanied it with:
    Mashed Potato
    Caraway Cabbage and Bean Sprouts
    Remove the outer leaves and core of the cabbage
    Slice it thinly
    Blanch in boiling salted water about 1 minute
    Drain and out aside you can do this earlier.
    When ready to serve
    Place a big knob of butter in a hot wok
    Add cabbage
    Season with pepper
    Toss around till coated with butter
    Add bean sprouts and 1 tbs toasted caraway seeds.
    Of course carrots and small onions cooked in the stock were a must.
    All topped off with mustard sauce.

    Someone mentioned that caraway relieved the normal flatulence associated with cabbage.
    I think they were right. All very comfortable in our house

    Of course I had leftovers
    And what did I make but Corned Beef Hash
    Take a pan that will go in the oven
    Heat oven 180C
    Place pan on stove add big knob of butter
    Squash mashed potatoes on bottom
    Throw in sliced up corned beef
    Then the carrots and onions chopped
    Then the cabbage and peas
    Top with shavings of Gruyere cheese
    Continue to cook over med heat till a crust is formed
    Place in oven and cook about 10 minutes until cheese has melted.

    Just serve and eat.

    All in all Sunday was a lovely day.
    We have decided our next family we are going to be at
    Lana’s for a “High Society” Singalong Brunch

    After the success a couple of years ago of our Sing Along with “The Sound of Music
    held at our studio.

    I want to be Grace Kelly but I guess I’ll get to be the Mrs Seth Lord (matronly)
    Dale I think will be have to be Uncle Willie he was the one always looking for the next drink..
    Dale made a fairly dodgy nun He was the flying Nun

    Here we have some delightful shots of the Sound of Music
    Here's Lana as a Favourite Thing with Sister Neil

    Dale the Flying Nun with the Wine for Mass Dan made a fetching Uncle Max
    Lisa and Ian were fabulous as the Nazis
    Here's the Flying Nun again

    Sister Neil and Mother Superior (me) Climb every mountain

    Helen made a great Maria

    Singalong with the Flying Nun
    Then we had the follow up raging Success “Grease”

    Old and Young Sandys...looks like breast envy

    Helen as Rizzo

    Sandy and Danny

    "aka Bridgie and Steve"

    There they are in latter years. Cry your eyes out Olivia Newton John and John Travolta

    Sandys in all shapes and ages So if High Society is anywhere as good as the other two. We should be having a ball.
    I'll keep you posted.

    Wednesday, July 18, 2007

    Rich Chocolate Cake and Orange and Radish Salad-From Health to Decadence

    Yes I made the Super Tuna Pasta for Lunch previous post today also for the vegetarians I made a Butternut Lasagne click here which was just creamy and beautiful.

    But we had to have something really healthy then something really decadent

    Health First

    Moroccan Styled Salad.

    So pretty and crisp and crunchy…a delicious perfect accompaniment for a baked pasta dish when you want a real fresh taste.
    Since I took this shot a few months ago...I have made some adjustments and added the celery, cucumber and spring onions.

    For 4 people
    3 carrots peeled sliced very thinly
    8 radishes sliced very thinly
    1 orange peeled and chopped
    Big bunch of coriander coarsely chopped
    8-10 mint leaves sliced
    2-3 spring onions finely chopped
    1 med size chili deseeded and finely sliced
    1 stalk celery finely sliced
    5 cm piece of cucumber halved deseeded and sliced

    1 clove garlic crushed with sea salt
    freshly ground black pepper
    4 tbs Olive oil
    Juice of lemon

    Blend all these ingredients together and let sit for about 30 mins to let the flavour mingle.

    Then naughty...
    Ina Garten yet again has come up tops with this rich rich rich cake
    I used Lindts Intense Orange chocolate. I love it.
    Of course it means you can’t get a smooth Ganache as it has little chips of an intense orange sort of nougat…I think it is.

    She made this in individual molds. I used a 23 cm cake tin. It was just fine

    115 gms unsalted butter at room temperature
    1 cup sugar
    2 extra-large eggs at room temperature
    1/8 cup grated orange zest (2 large oranges)
    1 ½ cups all-purpose flour plus 1 tablespoon
    ¼ teaspoon baking powder
    ¼ teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
    ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
    85 gms buttermilk at room temperature
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1 cup good semisweet chocolate chunks

    For the syrup:
    ¼ cup sugar
    ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

    For the Ganache:
    115 gms good semisweet chocolate chips
    ¼ cup heavy cream
    ½ teaspoon instant coffee granules

    Preheat the oven to 170C.
    Grease and flour 23cm cake tin

    Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
    Add the eggs, 1 at a time, then the orange zest.
    Sift together 1 ½ cups flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
    In another bowl, combine the orange juice, buttermilk, and vanilla.
    Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately in thirds to the creamed butter, beginning and ending with the flour.

    Toss the chocolate chunks with 1 tablespoon flour and add to the batter.

    Pour into the tin, smooth the top, and
    bake for 40-50 minutes,(depending on your oven) until a cake tester comes out clean.

    Let the cakes cool in the molds on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

    Meanwhile, make the syrup.

    In a small saucepan over medium-low heat,
    Cook the sugar with the orange juice until the sugar dissolves.

    Remove the cake from the pans, put them on a rack over a tray,
    and spoon the orange syrup over the cakes.
    Allow the cakes to cool completely.

    For the ganache,

    Melt the chocolate, heavy cream, and coffee
    in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm,
    stirring occasionally.

    Drizzle over the top of the cake.

    Just a little orange zest garnish for a little panache.