Thursday, April 29, 2010

April Daring Bakers Challenge

The challenge for this month was to make a traditional english steamed pudding, using suet. I chose a sticky date pudding, and I chose to steam them in ramekins rather than as a single big pudding, in an attempt to reduce the steaming time to something manageable. It worked, these took about an hour and a half, steamed in the oven in baking trays half submerged in water, and with a foil seal. When it came time to turn the puddings out, I discovered that my greasing efforts had been insufficient, and as you can see, the results were less than pretty. On the plus side, with the addition of some pouring cream, they tasted incredible.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A pumpkin and chicken pastry

Leftover from the desserts of the previous post, I had a couple of sheets of puff pastry, and we had some pumpkin kicking around. I decided to make pumpkin and chicken pastries.

I cut up the half a pumpkin and cooked it until it was soft. Cut a couple chicken breasts into small dice, and fried them up with a finely sliced onion and about half a head of garlic. Added smoky paprika, salt and pepper, a bit of chilli. Cooked some more, and added the pumpkin, cooking until the pumpkin melted into a kind of thick sauce around the chicken. The mixture at this stage was thick enough to hold its shape when spooned onto a flat surface.

Let it cool for a while while the pastry sheets defrosted. Piled it on, folded them up (I spread the mixture along the diagonal, leaving room to fold both sides over and both ends in). Cooked in a 180 oven (centigrade) until the pastry was golden and puffed. (Hint, brush with a beaten egg for extra golden looks). Served on rocket and Kumatos.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Daring Cooks Challenge

So I joined a blog community called the Daring Kitchen ( It is comprised of two components, the Daring Cooks and the Daring Bakers. Each month, each component has a challenge, to make a particular dish. One happens mid month, the other at the beginning of the month. This one is a Daring Cooks Challenge, Brunswick Stew.

I also made some cornbread muffins to have on the side, and we finished the meal with vanilla bean icecream and peach tartlets.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Wanted something delicious for lunch, and Shannon Bennett had a nice complicated recipe for Welsh Rarebit, which I largely ignored in order to make a simpler version. (Out of impatience with the 3 hours suggested refrigeration time, mainly). A simple roux of butter and flour, to which I added 125mL or so of a light beef stock, with a splash of vinegar. It turns into a veloute, to which I then add mustard (seed and hot english) and a good amount of cheese (18month aged Mainland vintage cheddar). Cook and stir until it is liquid and silken, then pour/spread over toasts. Could have grilled it, didn't. It would have looked better if I had, but it tasted good anyway.

A vegetarian mexican feast

I know too many vegetarians. But I like them despite their beliefs, and so on occasion I make them food. This time, I made a largely mexican themed dinner, the first couple of courses of which I promptly forgot to take photographs of. You will just have to take my word for it that the haloumi and jalapeno stir fry with a finger lime garnish (just popped from the pod and sprinkled over the H&J), and the corn and kumato salsa, were both excellent.

As for the remainder, I had also made homemade baked beans:
They were pretty tasty. You start with a couple onions and most of a bulb of garlic, fry them off in a pan until they are browning. Add a dash of wine vinegar and a tin of chopped tomatoes, then some chilli, smoky paprika, jalapenos, more chilli, and whatever else you want to flavour your beans with, and reduce a little. Stir through a couple tins of kidney beans )I wanted to do this with black beans, but couldn't find any), mix, and bake for 30 mins or so. Served with lime and coriander.

Next up was polenta and roast vegetables. Par boiled onions, cut in half and baked for an hour or so, with whole boiled then baked baby beetroot, and with a slice of a flat mushroom on the side. I use a vegetarian beef stock (Massel brand) in making the polenta, to give it a good depth of flavour, and by all accounts, it works.

Finally, I broke with the mexican theme to do gooey chocolate puddings with raspberries. These puddings are a recipe from Nigel Slater in the Kitchen diaries, Featuring high quality dark chocolate, sugar butter and eggs, no flour or anything, despite which they turn out seeming like they should have had some somewhere. They really are very good.

Chocolate, Cranberry and Almond Pudding.

Started with a standard cake base, sweetened and a little milked to make it more puddingish, then added cocoa, craisins and almonds. Served with yoghurt.