Saturday, November 30, 2013

Blueberry crumble tray bake

Last Sunday's Bake Club theme was tray bakes so my contribution was a blueberry crumble tray bake.

There were a few decisions about where the berries should go while testing but in the end I opted for a layer between the sponge and the crumble.

Given the current conversations around the health benefits of whole foods I also went with a wholemeal flour.

I have since learnt that the whole foods philosophy does not extend to whole cakes, whole pizzas, or whole buffets which is a shame as I thought they may have been onto something there........

Blueberry Crumble Tray Bake
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 430g wholemeal self raising flour
  • 250ml cream
  • 200g frozen blueberries
For crumble
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 40g treacle
  • 80g slivered almonds
  • 100g rolled oats
  • 30g wholemeal self raising flour

Pre heat oven to 180ºC and line a 27.9cm x 17.8cm x 3.81cm tray (or there abouts) with baking paper

Make crumble:
  • Melt butter with treacle in a microwave for 30 seconds (or on stove top)
  • Add almonds, oats and flour to a bowl
  • Mix butter and treacle through the dry ingredients
Make batter:
  • Cream butter and sugar till pale and fluffy
  • Add vanilla
  • Beat through eggs a little at a time
  • Mix in flour and cream
  • Spread batter into lined tray
  • Evenly sprinkle blueberries onto batter
  • Top with crumble
  • Press down to even the top
  • Bake at 180ºC for 40-45 mins
  • Let cool in tin before serving

I over line the tray so the corners can be tucked over to protect the crumble sides from burning.

 The cream is just thickened cream with some caster sugar & about 10 blueberries whipped using a hand blender.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Haul out the holly with the smell of Christmas spice...

It is amazing the things you find stored on your computer that had been forgotten, I'd once made a fact sheet for a crafty group exercise I had to present.

I'd first made these spice bags during the life's a banquet art show I mentioned in October's In My Kitchen.

The aroma of the spice bags smells just like Christmas cake, mince pies, and pudding, oh my!

On the dinning table used as a place setting they fill the air with the promise of what is to come, plus the guests get to take home a memento of the event.

Spice bags can be used as car air fresheners or in wardrobes to keep clothes fresh and moth free. (I think moths hate cloves)

  • Organza bags (my are 7cm x 10cm, but size is up to you)
  • Whole spices: cinnamon, cardamom pods, cloves, star anise, nutmeg, all spice
  • There is no specific quantity of each spice it is determined by personal preference

  • Put spices in bag (I really can't make it any simpler)
  • Tie off the organza bag. If the finished product will be around small children you may wish to sew up the bag to avoid a choking hazard.

  • Organza bags are available from “$2 type” shops or eBay if you want to do large quantities.
  • Spices must be whole and not ground; they are most affordable from Asian grocers or Indian spice stores.
  • Some people with Asthma may be affected by strong aromas, always check for allergies.
  • Be aware star anise may have sharp points if working with children.
  • You can tell the fact sheet was full of OHS warnings!!

The concept has expanded this year with Emergency Christmas in a jar. Instead of breaking glass in an emergency, a quick off with the lid and the perfume of Christmas can relieve any stressful moment. Unless it is Christmas that is your stress and well in that case I have nothing except this 3 point plan:

  • It's December 25 every year, the date doesn't change so don't wait to shop on Christmas eve
  • Make the day just about what is special to you and yours
  •'s just a baked dinner, chillax

If you are handy you could drill holes in the lid of the jar to allow the aroma to escape (I'm not)

Cos we all need a little Christmas.......

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The ending is bitter sweet...

No one was harmed in the development of this dessert but I won't lie a bloody lot of parfait was consumed!
That is one of the fun parts of the testing phase, all the different variations and possibilities.
AB and I worked our way through many versions, slightly reduced juice vs. heavily reduced juice, with white chocolate vs. more white chocolate vs. no white chocolate.
In the end the blood orange should be the star so why not chuck the whole thing in??
Eureka! By George I think I'd got it!
This is my favourite of all the versions as it has that bitter sweet orange flavour than reminds me of Campari.
The parfait adventure is no where near over yet as I'm now thinking about a milk chocolate version where the cream is infused with the blood orange zest.
Bitter Blood Orange Parfait
  • 3 blood oranges*
  • 600ml thickened cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g caster sugar 
  • 2 blood oranges*
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup water

  • Gently boil the oranges in a saucepan of water for about 1 hour till tender
  • Puree the oranges and pass through a fine sieve
  • Allow to cool
  • In a mixing bowl beat eggs and sugar with electric beaters till thick and fluffy
  • Heat 250ml of the cream in a saucepan to just below boiling
  • Slowly add the heated cream to the mix while beating
  • Add the remaining cream and beat through 
  • Add the orange puree and stir through
  • Pour into a thin loaf tin (23cmx8cm) lined with cling wrap
  • Freeze over night or at least 6-7 hours

  • Make the garnish
  • Zest 1 orange in long strips
  • Segment both oranges
  • Add sugar and water to a saucepan and bring to the boil so the sugar dissolves
  • Reduce the heat and simmer for about 3 minutes so the syrup thickens slightly
  • Take off the heat
  • Add the zest and orange segments, taking care not to break them up
  • Allow to chill in the fridge
  • Remove parfait from freezer for about 10-15 mins prior to serving to help get out of the tin
  • Place on a serving plate and top with the blood orange segments, zest and as much syrup as you like. Any left over can be served in a jug.

Perfect zester to get long thin strips, best $2 ever!
*Redbelly Citrus supplied the blood oranges for this recipe.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

No more drips.....

The one thing you really don't want to end up wearing at a cocktail party is part of the menu.

So while I love a good chicken Kiev there is no way anything with an oozing pocket of garlic butter is coming near me or my suit.  I'm guaranteed to spill it down my front, I can even manage that with a bottle of water...and that takes skill.

Problem solved I have removed the ooze but kept all the flavour, although I'm not sure ooze is the best culinary descriptor.

It should be compulsory for anyone planning a cocktail party to test every dish while holding a wine glass, the marketing material from the event and engaging in a 3 way conversation. I'm sure if this level of testing was carried out we would never see a menu item that required a fork again!

No Drip Kiev Balls
Ingredients: makes about 25 balls
  • 1 chicken breast fillet
  • 3 chicken thigh fillets
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 60g butter
  • 1/2 bunch parsley chopped
  • Salt really, really good pinch
  • Pepper 
  • Flour
  • 1 egg
  • Breadcrumbs (panko)
  • Spray or olive oil

  • Cover garlic with a splash of oil and wrap tin foil
  • Roast at 180ºC for about 45 mins till tender
  • Let garlic cool
  • Mince the chicken with peeled garlic, butter and chopped parsley in a meat mincer
  • Pass it through twice
  • Season with salt/pepper and slap the mixture against the side of the bowl a couple of times, a bit like kneading
  • Leave covered overnight in the fridge
  • Set up 3 separate bowls for the flour, egg, breadcrumbs
  • Roll tablespoon sized balls and coat in flour, egg and breadcrumbs
  • Place on a greased lined oven tray
  • Give a quick spray or drizzle with oil
  • Bake at 180ºC for 25-30 minutes
  • I don't serve with a sauce.....I'd only spill it on myself
  • For a juicier balls use all thigh (still non drip)
  • You can test the seasoning by frying off  a bit of the mixture, don't try the raw chicken.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Three Bs.......

The three B's beetroot, broad bean, and blood orange are an absolute triumph in my latest tiffin lunch box collection. Actually there should be a fourth B, Bliss......

The colours just scream spring, summer good times and hurry up stop typing and just eat me!
This recipe is for 2-3 (or 1 it's that yum)
Three B's Salad
  • 4 spring onions
  • Juice of 1 blood orange*
  • 1.5 cups broad beans
  • 50ml olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 small roasted beetroot quartered
  • 4 radishes quartered
  • 2 blood oranges* segmented
  • 50 g soft goats cheese

  • Slice the spring onions (not too fine) and add to a mixing bowl with the blood orange juice
  • Leave to marinate about 15 minutes
  • Blanch the broad beans for 30-40 seconds in lightly salted boiling water, then plunge into icy water.
  • Peal the outer shell of the broad bean
  • Mix olive oil through spring onions and juice, season to taste
  • Gently coat the beetroot, broad beans and radishes through the dressing so that they still hold their shape
  • Gently add the blood orange segments
  • Serve doted with soft goats cheese
  • If there are any left overs the colour is great the next day as the blood orange and beetroot blend with the radishes and goats cheese
  • You can use tinned beetroot but for this I found it too soft. To roast place beetroot in a baking tray with a splash of olive oil and salt and bake cover in tin foil at 160ºC for about 1 hour till tender.
  • Pealing the broad beans is to remove the bitterness of the outer shell but I don't mind the flavour so I leave some unpeeled for contrast in flavour and colour. 

 Really who wouldn't want to have that in their lunch box??

 You can go all fancy and try plating it master chef style and serve with lamb steaks. To be honest I prefer the look of it all together in the tin, I'm a simple kinda chap.
A tuna steak variation with boiled egg for a hint of the nicoise
*Redbelly Citrus supplied the blood oranges for this recipe. 

In My Kitchen - November

Here I was thinking I was so organised having November's In My Kitchen ready to go by the 2nd and I see there is already a whole Contiki world tour of kitchens to explore! (I'm probably still the only boy)

In my kitchen...... a set of adjustable baking frames that retail for $130 but for me $14 yay Ebay!!
 In my kitchen..... a 1000* year old woman's weekly recipe card *(possible exaggeration). It is not from the original set from my childhood, but I can't remember if it was from an op shop or a set I saw at a garbage recycle shop. It is the only one I have kept, a Christmas staple but now days I'm off pudding duty as AB's mum makes their grandmothers recipe. I still make it for Christmas in July which often happens around August.
In my kitchen..... the left overs of AB's birthday cake! Hip! Hip!
AB adores Chico's (I can't stand them) so they feature heavily around the birthday celebrations. This is Chico ice cream I made for him. This year I messed about with the Fraisier cake but replaced the strawberries with Chicos and added choc chips to the crème patissiere. I happy with it as a first draft but will tweak a few elements before the next birthday rolls along.  


In my kitchen..... a whole lotta spices. I have bought a couple of bulk bags for some upcoming crafty gifts. I'm not sure there will be enough sesame seeds as I'm using truck loads for my fig and pistachio loaf and the chickens go wild for them! I guess birds and seeds it makes sense.
I'm my kitchen..... an invitation
In the style of In My Kitchen, in December I invite everyone to join "At My Tradition..."
This is an opportunity for everyone to share their end of year traditions, Christmas, Chanukah, other religious and non religious celebrations or non celebrations. What do you do? What to you eat? What you wear? (too personal??) 
I would rather know about and acknowledge everyone's various beliefs and traditions than adopt the "offending no one" beige approach.  
Write a post in December and send me a link so I can share it with everyone. It is open to everyone it doesn't have to be food related.
I don't want to give anything away but I may have first hand knowledge of helping out the jolly man in the red suit........
Thanks to Joanne who planted a seed with one of her comments and also Celia whose concept I'm borrowing.
In my kitchen....
....will be 2 beautiful purple cauliflowers. They were a complete surprise in the garden as I had forgotten I planted them and saw them as under performing broccoli till I noticed their gorgeous purple glow. I might pick them and freeze them for the Christmas table.
Thanks to Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hosting the monthly In My Kitchen, check out the other kitchens.