Saturday, September 28, 2013

Blood Orange, Tarragon and Almond Chicken

As I mentioned in the In My Kitchen post blood oranges are my best friend this time of year.
From the sweet syrup cakes to moist roast chicken I am detecting a strong bond between the blood orange and the almond.
My day tomorrow is all mapped out after I get my hands on some more of these babies, making more cordial, a curd and fine tuning the sauce pictured below.
I may head into some experimental ground by trying to preserve them or making a salt.
Oh and an ice cream how could I forget ice cream............
Clearly this is becoming an obsession, so if ever you can't find me start looking at any fruit shop.
Blood Orange, Tarragon and Almond Roast Chicken
  • 100g soft butter
  • 50g blanched almonds
  • Zest and juice of 2 blood oranges
  • 2-3 sprigs of tarragon
  • 2 chicken maryland
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Put almonds into a plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin to roughly crush
  • Add butter to mixing bowl
  • Add almonds, zest and juice of blood oranges and roughly torn tarragon
  • Mix with a fork to combine
  • Put mixture on plastic wrap and roll into a log
  • Refrigerate for about 20 minutes (could be made ahead)
  • Slip a finger under the skin of the chicken and fill each piece with half of the butter
  • Massage it evenly over the thigh and into the leg
  • Place on a lightly oiled baking tray and season with salt and pepper
  • Bake at 180°C/160°C fan for 30 mins
  • Let rest for 10 minutes
  • I served with blanched broccoli and kale sautéed in butter and more almonds

It's a ready!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday Blood Orange Sunday

I can't believe how quickly this week has flown by it's already Sunday Baking Club time again.

And in very exciting news last week's Caveman's Quiche, Man! was voted the winner of the Golden Spoon, yay!!
It was a lovely surprise to wake up to find I'd won with all the lovely comments that followed. I'm sure that bakers are the nicest people in the world...might have something to do with the amount of sugar in the air.
This week the theme is Dinky (tiny) and my offering is mini blood orange and almond syrup cakes.
If blood oranges are out of season you could use any orange.

Mini Blood Orange and Almond Syrup Cakes
For dried orange wedges
  • 2 blood oranges - thinner skinned oranges are better
For cake
  • 100g soft unsalted butter
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp. orange blossom water
  • 2 eggs
  • 60g almond meal
  • 60g self raising flour
  • zest and juice of 1 blood orange
For syrup
  • Juice of 2 blood oranges
  • 2 tbsp. of caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp. water
For ganache
  • 80ml cream
  • 250g white chocolate
  • 1 tsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp. Campari
To make the dried orange wedges
  • Slice the oranges to about 4mm thick (luckily I have a meat slicer to assist)
  • lay on baking paper on a wire rack over a baking dish
  • Bake for 2 hours at 100°C
  • Let cool and then cut out small wedges
  • There will be more oranges than you need but this means you can pick the best coloured pieces, left overs can be added to muesli or dipped in chocolate


To make the cake
  • Preheat oven to 160°C/140°C fan forced
  • Grease and flour 2 x 12 hole mini muffin time and put in the freezer to help with not sticking
  • Cream butter and sugar, adding sugar in stages rather than all at once
  • Beat in orange blossom water
  • Beat in eggs 1 at a time
  • Sift almond meal and flour into the mix
  • Add zest and juice of blood orange and gently fold through
  • Take the muffin tins from the freezer
  • Fill each hole 3/4 full and tap to remove any air pockets
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes
  • Let cool for 5 minutes and remove from the tin
  • While warm baste with the blood orange syrup

To make the syrup
  • In a small saucepan add the blood orange juice, sugar and water
  • Stir and heat on medium heat for about 8 minutes till it slightly thickens
  • Take care that the sugars don't catch and burn on the sides of the pan
  • Baste the cakes with the syrup while they are still warm

To make the ganache
  • In a microwave bowl add the cream and chocolate and heat on high for 1 minute
  • Add the butter and stir to make sure all the chocolate has melted
  • Add the Campari and stir through
  • Chill for about 30 minutes till it holds it's shape
  • Pipe onto the cakes
  • Top with dried orange wedge
 This mix should make about 24 mini cakes or 1 large 19cm round cake tin. For less of a sweet hit substitute 85% dark chocolate for the white chocolate, yum bitter.......

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Meat Loving Quiche Man

I stumble across many wonderful (some weird) things on Twitter, the latest being the Sunday Bake Club.
While they began in January this year, I've only been following for about the last month.

The concept is fantastic -- on Sunday bake something to team with the week's theme. How simple could it get?
Each Sunday evening, my Twitter feed is filled with amazing looking baked goods and great conversation with some friendly mostly United Kingdom based bakers.
Check out their blog to see some of the past themes. We may need to ask if we can have a sister city program for Australia.
This week's theme is Bakes for the Boys, so being a boy I thought I was at least halfway there.

Thinking about this theme amongst debating the gender politics of a sausage roll I kept getting a repeated phrase in my head "feed the man meat".
I tried avoiding going down the stereotypical cave man road which ignores the metrosexual quiche men amongst us, but by combining the best of both worlds I created the Caveman's Quiche, Man! 

I couldn't resist prettying it up with a pancetta flower
Caveman's Quiche, Man!
  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 50ml water
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Finely cube the butter
  • Add butter, flour, salt to the bowl of a food processor
  • Process on high for about 20 seconds till it looks like breadcrumbs
  • Add water and process for about 1 minute till it comes away from the sides and forms a ball
  • Wrap in cling wrap and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes
  • Grease 25.5cm x 6cm deep quiche/pie tin with removable base
  • Flour work surface and roll pastry out to about 1/2cm thick
  • Line the tin a bit higher than the sides to allow for shrinkage
  • Blind bake for 10 at 180º C 
  • Remove the beads/beans and bake a further 10 minutes
  • Now it's ready for the filling
  • Make the pancetta flowers while pastry is baking

Pancetta flower
6 slices of round hot pancetta
  • Place 4 slices pancetta flat on a greased tray
  • With remaining 2 slices curl each tail around to look like a flower and place on top of the round end as per picture below
  • Bake for 10 minutes at 180º C
  • 1 flower is only there as a back up and can be a cook's treat

  • 6 pork sausage
  • 6 short cut rasher free range bacon
  • 160g hot Calabrese salami
  • 150g ham cubed
  • 12 eggs
  • 200ml sour cream
  • 100g parmesan shredded plus 25g extra for topping
  • 4 spring onions chopped
  • 25g grated cheese

  • Pinch and twist the sausage in the skins then slide out to make little balls of sausage
  • Roughly slice the bacon
  • Roughly chop the salami into 1cm pieces
  • Fry sausage balls on a medium heat for about 10 minutes
  • Repeat with bacon and salami
  • Cut the ham into 1 cm cubes (I asked for a 1cm thick slice at the deli)
  • In a mixing bowl add the eggs, sour cream, parmesan and spring onions and combine
  • I didn't add any salt as I thought there was already enough in the meat and cheese
  • Fill the pastry case with the meats
  • Fill with egg mixture
  • Sprinkle with extra parmesan
  • Bake at 160º C for about 1 hour (I checked every 20 minutes)
  • Sprinkle on additional cheese and bake for an extra 5 minutes (I was thinking about a meat lovers pizza when I did this)
  • Serve topped with pancetta flowers
  • Note I treated today a bit like a Bake Off technical challenge where all the recipe was missing because I was making it up. Next time I would add about 2-3 tbsp. of flour to the meats so that it can soak up some of the juices without having to over bake the quiche  

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Beer battered SOS

As I was checking Facebook I saw a cry for help after an incident with a pre mixed packet batter "EPIC FAIL"

With a quick adjustment from inside to outside undies it was Super Kitchen Boy to the rescue, fighting evil dodgy packet mixes where ever they may be!

You're still back at the underpants on the outside visual, aren't you? So I'll leave you with it and just head to the recipes.

Beer Batter
  • 1 1/4 cup self raising flour
  • 330ml of icy cold beer (I used Peroni* but any light flavoured beer would work)
  • Add flour to a mixing bowl
  • Whisk in the beer to combine
  • Don't stress about lumps!
  • It shouldn't be too thick as the batter will take over rather than being the coating for the dish
  • Let rest covered in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes prior to use
  • If it gets too thick add a little more beer

I did thin the batter after this picture with about 30ml more beer

This was my mixed fried seafood but use any boneless fish, calamari, soft shell crab etc. that you can get your hands on.

Quasi Fritto Misto
Ingredients for about 4 peeps
  • 400g rockling fillet
  • 400g blue grenadier fillet
  • 8 green prawns, deveined with tails on
  • 8 scallops roe on or off depending on your preference
  • 11/2 cups seasoned flour (salt and pepper)
  • 1 quantity of beer batter
  • sunflower or canola oil for frying
  • Cut the fish into portions just bigger than bite size (depending on your mouth)
  • Lightly coat the fish, prawns and scallops in the seasoned flour
  • Heat the oil in a deep pan or wok over high heat
  • Dip fish portions into batter and then let the excess drip off
  • Gently plunge the fish into the hot oil and cook for about 1 minute on each side depending the size of your fish
  • As soon as the batter has browned remove from the oil and drain
  • If you don't have a draining attachment a metal colander over a bowl keeps the batter crispy rather than draining on paper towel
  • Repeat with the remaining seafood, taking care not to over cook it.
  • The scallops take about 30secs depending on their size and the prawns just over 1 minute
  • Sprinkle with a little sea salt and serve with rocket, lemon wedges, ciabatta and capsicum mayo

Weird lighting but I'm inspired to do a saffron batter now....

This was inspired by a rouille that would normally accompany a bouillabaisse

Capsicum mayo
  • 2  red capsicums
  • 2  cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise (I didn't make it...oops)
  • About 50-60g of ciabatta or stale bread
  • Salt and pepper
  • Put the whole capsicums and garlic cloves in a small baking dish with a splash of olive oil
  • Cover with foil and bake in a 150°C oven for about 1 hour.
  • Turn the oven off and either take them out or leave till you are ready to use them
  • Peel the skin from the capsicum, de-stork and remove any seeds
  • Peel the garlic
  • Blend all ingredients together and season to taste
  • Serve chilled
*not a paid endorsement of Peroni but happy to receive a case anytime!!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Backyard Chicken

Don't panic I haven't dispatched any of the girls, tempting as that may be when they "play" with the new seedlings.

The thing I love about this dish is the potential if things are growing well that most of the ingredients can come from my backyard.

The herbs, the lemon if the tree would do it's thing, the chicken if they ever stop doing their thing, the potatoes and capsicum. (just need to plant an olive tree for the oil)

Using the homemade sourdough as the breadcrumbs adds a richer flavour but as AB reminds flour only comes from a shop thus putting a halt to any plans of a mill or crop of wheat in the backyard.

This is a quick 10 minutes of effort then let the oven do the work dinner, lunch, or potential leftovers sandwich.

Fresh, zesty, herby, crunchy easier just to sum it all up with YUMMY!

Zesty Herbed Chicken AKA Backyard Chicken
Ingredients for 4-5 thighs
  • 3 cups of fresh breadcrumbs (or use panko)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Large handful of herbs, mine included thyme, parsley, coriander, mint, rosemary, oregano. If it's green it's in, basil when it's warmer or some chilli would also work nicely!
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1-2 eggs for egg wash
  • Flour to coat
  • Olive oil or spray oil
  • 4-5 chicken thigh fillets
  • Preheat oven to 180°C (now I'm not using a gas oven I know the importance of the preheat)
  • Blitz up about as much as a ciabatta roll of sourdough in a food processer, some chunky bits are ok.
  • Finely grate the lemon zest and the clove of garlic
  • Roughly chop the herbs, some smaller stalks are fine to include
  • Add herbs, zest, and garlic to the breadcrumbs
  • Season to taste
  • Flour, egg, and breadcrumb the chicken thigh fillets
  • Place on an oiled foil lined baking tray
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes until chicken is crispy and cooked through
  • Let rest for at least 10 minutes
  • Perfect to serve with sautéed potatoes and roasted capsicum and a rocket salad

Friday, September 6, 2013

Ryelene Lives!

The continuing story of Dwhite and Ryelene.......

Like all good 80's soap operas Ryelene who was dead and buried has now made a return.

The harrowing back story involves Dwhite selflessly offering part of himself as a host to the gorging rye flour to emerge as Ryelene thus bringing the siblings even closer together and making them one entity.

The other option is that with the transformation from Dwhite to Ryelene this will feature as my first transfloured starter.

Either way the new Ryelene looks like she is back stronger than ever. The picture gives a hint of an 80's power shoulder pad promising she will now be a force to be reckoned with.

Stay tuned to see what happens in the next gripping episode of Days of our Ryes.
Cue music....

Thursday, September 5, 2013

In my Kitchen - September

I've been inspired by Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial to do a post about some of the things in my kitchen this month. It is great to go through and have a sticky beak at what other people are doing in these most sacred places of a home.

In my kitchen.... a burst of orange, maybe a sign that spring has sprung.

Nasturtiums have been growing wild since planting near the chicken coop because chickens absolutely love them, well every chicken but mine it appears. The flowers add great colour to salads and the greens were delicious in a tart with goat cheese. 

Blood Oranges have featured in a lot of my cooking lately but making cordial is my favourite use. Apart from the colour the main reason I love blood oranges is their name in Italiano, aranciata rossa. It just rolls off the tongue, once I learnt how to roll my RRRRRRRRR's that is.

In my kitchen... finally after 5 months an oven! The installation was an adventure but I am truly in love with Cara (yes she has a name) and has even been receiving mail.

 Some lovely new accessories for Cara.
In my kitchen...
...are/were 2 two little baby sourdough starters. I have written about Ryelene and Dwhite here. They are so adorable but how quickly joy can turn to heartbreak. 
In my kitchen... the result of watching all those dessert layers in the Masterchef finals. It is hard just to sit back and watch the cooking shows without thinking "I can do that" before heading to the kitchen to create something.

With some left over puff (since Cara's arrival folding and turning pastry has taken a lot of my time) a chocolate and strawberry mille feuille scored me a 10/10 from AB.  

In my kitchen... a tiffin which contains healthy salads to take to work so that I don't have to pay good money for poor quality food court or café food. Viva la War on terrible food.
So cute!
In my kitchen...
...are always some Eurovision tunes playing while I cook. With the announcement of Copenhagen as the host city for next year's Eurovision, planning has already started for Chow Down to Eurovision 2014. I'm hoping next year will be promise to be even more interactive!

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen I hope to see you again, next time I'll even pop the kettle on......

It was the best of times, it was the yeast of times......

The idea of sourdough is something that really appeals to me, starting from basically nothing and then with the proper care going on to live a lifetime.
I do have a confessional though I am a serial starter killer.
Given that the new oven and eventual wood fired oven would need to earn their keep in fresh loaves I thought I would try starter parenthood again.
After much reading and the procurement of 100% (purchased from a hippie) organic flours it was time to create life.
Two little bundles of joy were fashioned and on the internet's (which never lies) advice were given names to help in the nurturing process.
A boy Dwhite from unbleached organic plain flour and girl Ryelene from biodynamic organic rye flour.
I shouldn't have favourites but Ryelene was mine and even had her own theme music. Ryelene, Ryelene, Ryelene, Rye-le-he-he-ne, I'm begging darling please don't take my bran. (thanks Dolly)
Dwhite sadly had no theme music.

 Ryelene and Dwhite
Day 3 Ryelene has a growth spurt

Day 4 Ryelene is busting out and Dwhite is just kicking back

At day 7 there is so much flour/water added your need to reduce the starter. I felt sad throwing out part of Ryelene so as not to be more wasteful Dwhite whipped up some quick (overnight) loaves.

Such a smooth and beautiful feeling dough. 
You rest now little darlings
The light in the new oven is great, it might become the new photo studio

So delicious, I'm very proud of you Dwhite
On day 10 the unthinkable happened Ryelene and Dwhite developed a white mold overnight and passed over. I am blaming the start of spring and 2 unexpected warm days.

With all the love and attention they had been shown in their brief lives I hold in my heart the thought that they have just slipped into the next room where they are bread.

If there can be a silver lining to such a sad event it is that Dwhite lives on!!!
After making the trial loaves I had some extra Dwhite in the fridge leftover from the intensive feeds prior to making the bread.

I think for Dwhite the true bonus is now he has his own theme song with a little help from East 17 It's really all Dwhite....All Dwhite, all Dwhite, every bread's gonna be all Dwhite!