Friday, 25 May 2018

Puff Pastry Vanilla Slices & Passionfruit Icing

Wow I am 54 years old and have never made Vanilla Slices, well I guess that is because I was never a big cake eater or sweets person except for chocolate and cheesecake so today I thought I would have a crack at it..Now all would of probably gone a little more smoothly if I had a proper oven but I only have a round benchtop oven. First problem!..Trying to put a square peg in a round hole so to speak. Cooking the puff pastry sheets the recipe called for 2 sheets and I ended up having to use 4 and wasting almost half of that trying to cut a nice fit for my tray..Finally I managed it.. Problem number 2 !.. I just wasn't sure if the custard would set, it looked good in the saucepan. anyway just to be on the safe side I added a tiny bit of cornflour to be sure, sweet. Problem number 3 ! and I wasn't thinking I was just following the recipe I had found online but didn't read it all and I stuffed the icing I mean come on now how can you stuff up icing haha. but I did not able to just chuck it because I had no more passionfruit pulp I went into salvage mode and  manage to salvage it. If I had to make this again I wouldn't do it with puff pastry it just isn't firm enough Lattice biscuits are the go I think  and it would be easier to slice as well. Other than my disaster little session they didn't turn out half bad. they don't look great. but edible for sure. So here is the recipe.

What you need:

2 sheets puff pastry, ( or Lattice biscuits)
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup custard powder
1 1/2 cups cream
2 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 tablesppon of butter ( not margarine)
1 teaspoon of cornflour mixed with a little of the milk


2 cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
Pulp of 2 passiofruits
A little hot water hot water

 What to Do:

1. Line tray ( 22 cm square tin) with baking  paper and make sure it overhangs on the side, this just makes it easier to lift  it out to slice... (or place a row of lattice biscuits if you prefer)
2.. Place puff pastry on lined oven tray. Prick with a fork and bake for 10-15 minutes at 220C.
3. Put sugar, custard powder and cream into a saucepan and stir over a medium heat until it starts to thicken.
4. Add milk ½ a cup at a time and whisk continuously until the custard is thick.
5. Add cornflour
6. Remove from heat and add the butter, this also gives the custard a nice gloss.
7. Let everything cool slightly.  Then layer pastry, custard, pastry then icing.
8. Icing: Place icing sugar, butter and vanilla in a bowl and add enough hot water to make a medium textured icing  and spread over the top.
9.Place in the fridge and let it set overnight for best result. enjoy!
Puff Pastry Vanilla Slices & Passionfruit Icing

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Mushroom & Spinach Pie

What You Need:

Olive oil
4 sheets of filo pastry
1 large onion chopped
700g of button mushrooms
Bunch of Silverbeet washed and chopped, (or you can use baby spinach)
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground allspice
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
Pinch of salt and pepper
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 tablespoon of chutney
1/2 can of coconut milk
1 tablespoon of cornflour mixed with a little coconut milk ( to thicken the sauce)

What to Do:

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F (180˚C).
2. In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons (30 mL) oil. Brown mushrooms and onions for 5 to 10 minutes.
3. Add garlic, allspice, soy sauce, chutney, sugar, and tomato paste. Season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking for 2 minutes.
4. Stir in coconut milk, mix well, cook for about 10 minutes. 
5. Add chopped silverbeet and cook until it has wilted mixing well. If you need to thicken the sauce use the cornflour mixture a bit at a time.
6. On a lightly floured surface, using 3 tablespoons (45 mL) oil, lightly brush one sheet of filo with oil. Cover with a second sheet and brush lightly with oil again. Repeat for all 4 layers of filo.
7. Place prepared filo sheets in 9X5 in. a loaf tin, making sure one side overlaps (allowing you to fold it over once mixture has been added).
8. Pour mushroom mixture over filo
9. Fold filo over and lightly brush with oil.
10. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Mushroom & Spinach Pie

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Slow Cooker Easy Satay Chicken

What Yo Need:

2 chicken breast fillets cut into chunks or you can use chicken pieces  
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 small onion roughly diced (optional)
3-4 tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter( I only had smooth on hand so just blitzed some almonds and threw them in for crunch and texture)
2 tbsp of soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon of tomato sauce
1 tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce 
2 med red Chillies chopped (optional)
3/4 tin coconut milk
1 tablespoon lime juice 
1 tablespoons of cornflour ( to be added at end of cooking if needed)

What to Do:

1. Place chicken and onion into slow cooker bowl.
2.Combine all the sauces and coconut milk and peanut butter and add to slow cooker
3. Cover and cook on low for 6hrs or high for 3hrs (cooking time varies between slow cookers)
4. If it looks a little dry add a little more coconut milk or if you need to thicken sauce at end of cooking, mix a spoonful of the sauce with 1 tablespoons of  cornflour and add to dish if needed
6. Serve with rice, vegetable, couscous or whatever you prefer. Garnish with coriander or shallots if you have them.


Vegetables can be added to the sauce instead of meat if you prefer
Fine sliced vegetables such as carrot, celery and onion ,broccoli, beans are great.

My Verdict: 

The kids should love this as long (as they don't have a nut allergy) even with the two mild chillies in it. Personally for me though it wasn't spicy enough. But when I have had the best Thai Satay from my favorite restaurant I guess it is going to be hard to top. And so I  had to chop and fry up another two hot chill's seeds and all then added to the cooked chicken to give it some kick. I also didn't need to thicken the sauce with cornflour either it was pretty thick and personally I like lots of sauce,
Slow Cooker Easy Satay Chicken with Couscous and Broccoli

Friday, 27 April 2018

Easy Spinach & Ricotta Pie

What you need:

1x 375g tub of Ricotta Cheese
2x packets frozen  Spinach thawed
2x Eggs plus 1 extra for the wash
2 sheets of Puff Pastry
1x teaspoon of Nutmeg
Good pinch of Salt and Pepper
1-2 teaspoons crushed garlic
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of tarragon ( optional)
Non stick Pie Dish sprayed with oil

What to Do:

1. In a large bowl whisk the 2 eggs. Add Ricotta, Salt, pepper and  Garlic, whisk until smooth. Set aside.
2. Squeeze out as much water as you can out of the spinach. (I do it a handful at a time). Then add it to the Ricotta mixture and whisk or stir until well combined.
3. Place one sheet of the pastry in the pan for the bottom making sure to over lap the edges of the dish
4. Pour the Ricotta and spinach mixture in.
5. Put the top sheet of pastry on and fold over any over lapping bits making sure it is completely sealed. Put a couple slits in the top to let the heat escape.
6.Whisk the remaining egg with a little water and using a pastry brush give the pastry top a good baste 
7. Bake on 185 fan forced for oh maybe 45 minutes or until the top is nice and golden brown.
8. I do this extra step to ensure a good sealed pie and puffy crunchy bottom as well it makes all the difference. When it is cooked remove from oven, put an oven proof plate on top of it and gently flip it out of the pan. Give the bottom a good brush the the remaining egg wash and pop it back into the oven. Turn the temperature up to 230-250 and cook until the bottom is puffy and golden brown.
9. Remove from oven Gently flip it onto a rack to cool slightly, before serving hot or cold .
Freezes well.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Spicy Borlotti Bean & Sundried Tomato Dip

 I really felt like some dip today when I went shopping the store brought ones looked so unappealing and expensive for the tiny amount you get. Oh I have had them before they are convenient and a lot say there is no preservatives but I swear I can taste them. My mouth always breaks out in mouth ulcers too as soon as I eat preservatives or anything artificial and so that puts me off buying them.
 I have heaps of dried beans in the cupboard though and summer is here so I thought I would whip myself up some homemade bean dip. By the time I had soaked and prepared the beans though my craving for dip was gone. 
There is enough dip here to keep the party going so prepare this a day ahead.   
What you need:
1/2 pkt of dried Borlotti beans
1/2 a small jar of Marinated Sundried or semi-dried tomatoes (keep the oil)
5 sprigs of basil or  a good handful of parsley ( I had neither when I made this today though)
1/3 cup of extra virgin  olive oil
Teaspoon of fresh minced chilli (optional)
3 cloves of fresh garlic
Juice of 2 lemons 
1 teaspoon of Bicarb soda
What to do:
1. Prepare the beans. Soak in a bowl of water for 6-8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse well. In a pot of boiling water with one teaspoon of bicarb soda simmer the beans until tender. Drain and rinse with cold water. 
2. Leaving the olive oil and lemon juice until last.
 Place all the other ingredients including the kept marinated oil into a processor and blitz until smooth and creamy.
 NOTE: I add the olive oil and lemon juice in small batches to make sure I don't put to much in  doing a little taste test as I go
3 Bingo your done, place in a bowl decorate with a little basil or parsley and a little drizzle of olive oil and your good to go enjoy.
Spicy Borlotti Bean & Sundried Tomato Dip


Thursday, 23 November 2017

Roast Sweet Potato, Spinach & Feta Pie

The top and bottom of the pie are both puff pasty, I like to cook the pie then flip it onto a plate and slide it back in the pan upside down and cook the bottom until it too is crispy, then flip it back onto a plate right side up, the result was perfection. Oh but I forgot one thing ...onion, having said that I think it would of overpowered the lovely dill flavour, maybe a few shallots would of been good though. so add them if you wish. I served it with a simple salad and a warm sweet balsamic sauce by simply mixing balsamic vinegar and a bit of brown sugar to a pan until lightly caramelized. This is a great pie for any meal hot or cold. It is super easy to do as well  hope you enjoy it,

What you need:

1x non stick deep pie dish
2x sheets of Puff Pastry
3x 60g eggs ( one for the wash)
200gm pkt of Feta Cheese
1x pkt of frozen Chopped Spinach ( thawed and all the water squashed out)
1x medium sweet potato
2 teaspoons dried Dill Leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon of crushed garlic
diced Shallots (optional)

What to do:

1. Roast the sweet potato in a little olive oil with dried dill leaves and garlic until just cooked, roughly mash with a fork, you want it chunky not mashed.
2. Place into a large bowl the sweet potato, spinach, crumble in the feta cheese , add 2 eggs, salt pepper and add some more dried dill and the shallots if you have them. Mix until well combined.
3. Line the pie tin with one sheet of the puff pastry. No need to cut the edges off. Fill with the pie mixture and cover with the other sheet of pastry. Now tuck in all the edges of the pastry so it is completely enclosed.
4. Whisk the remaining egg and brush the top of the pie. Bake in a fan forced over and 185 medium fan for about 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Remove from oven.
5.Place a plate on top of the pie and flip it out, then slide it back into the pie dish, brush with egg wash and pop it back in the oven until the bottom is golden brown. Remove from oven and flip the pie back out onto a plate or wire rack.
6. serve hot or cold with a leafy green salad 
Roast Sweet Potato, Spinach & Feta Pie

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Little Drunk Rum Balls

When a guest left a half bottle of rum after a visit it sat in the cupboard as I don't drink it. But hell I eat these babies so today I made rum balls, yummy mouthfuls of stress relief, just keep these away from the kiddies. I can't remember the last time I had one of these probably 30 years ago at least. and Oh my gosh theses are lush..!

What you need:

350 g chocolate cake mix (any cheap basic mix will do )
1/2 cup Bundaberg Rum
200 g sweetened condensed milk (give or take)
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
1 tablespoon  cocoa powder
1/4 cup hot water
2 x 375 blocks dark cooking chocolate
4 x 150 g chocolate sprinkles

What to Do: 

 1. Bake cake as per the packet instructions and allow to cool.
 2. Crumb the chocolate cake into fine crumbs.
 3. Dissolve the cocoa and instant coffee in hot water and then toss evenly through crumbs.
 4. Pour the rum over crumbs and toss through evenly.
 5. Slowly knead in sweetened condensed milk, a little at a time until mixture is firm but moist.
 6. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
 7. Roll mixture into teaspoon sized balls approximately 2-3 cm in diameter.
 8. Melt chocolate in bowl over saucepan on low heat.
 9. Dip rum balls in chocolate, shake off excess then roll in sprinkles and place in small paper patty cups.


You can roll alternate batches in coconut as well to mix it up a bit.
little Drunk Rum Balls