Friday Food: Bacon and Pea Slice

Bacon and pea sliceI really have no recollection why I put most books I request from The Library on Hold.  I can't remember where I saw, or heard about, them. They just appear, as if by magic, on my shelf in The Library. The Mama Bake Book is one such Hold, and it makes me wish I had a passel of children to feed, because it is an excellent meal planner. It is an Australian book, so it uses familiar measurements, ingredients and terms. It is organised into weekly menus to feed a family of four and has step by step preparation charts too. There are Slow Cooker, Vegan, Meat Free, Oven Bakes, I Don't Have Time To Cook , Budget, Pies, Toddlers, High Protein/Low Carb, Homemade Takeaway, Sickness Recovery and even Big Batch meals and sweets: Too many to mention.

MamaBake is "a baking community where mothers get together in their local neighbourhood to cook one big batch meal each and then share the dish with the others, resulting in everyone going home with a week's worth of freshly cooked homemade dinners." (MamaBake page 10) Since this is an ABC book, I think I probably heard about it on the radio.

I have already made a full batch of the Bacon and Zucchini Pea Slice for MrsDrWho to take for her school lunch, and today I made half a batch for me. I replaced the zucchini with peas, but I would also use broccolini, or carrot and celery too. I think it is a good vehicle for whatever vegetable you like, and tomato and pumpkin too, which are fruits. I bought some local bacon and I put it in the oven to crisp while the oven was preheating, so I saved a pan. I used Parmesan cheese and added some finely diced red onion, because I like onion. You can replace the plain flour and baking powder with 1 cup of self-raising flour too.

This slice is just so easy to make, and it keeps for a week in the fridge or a month in the freezer.

 

Bacon and Zucchini Pea Slice      makes 8 large or 16 small pieces

  • 6 rashers of bacon, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups of peas OR 4 zucchini, grated
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 100g tasty cheese, grated
  • 20ml olive oil and a little extra to fry the bacon
  • 150g plain flour
  • 2 tspn baking powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 180*C and if you want to save a pan, place the rashers of bacon on some baking paper on a tray while the oven heats up. In about 15 minutes it will be relatively crisp and ready to slice up. Grease and line a 20 x 30cm slice tin ready for baking.

Bacon bakin'

Otherwise, slice the bacon and fry in a little extra olive oil for five minutes until it is crispy and then drain on some paper towel.

Eggvengers assemble

Put the peas (zucchini), grated cheese and olive oil into a medium size bowl. I added the red onion here too. Mix together then add the eggs and finally the bacon, salt and pepper.

Come together, right now

When it is combined, add the flour and baking powder and mix well until the flour disappears.

And bake

Spoon the batter into the lined slice tin and press gently so it is level. Bake for 30-40 minutes. It is ready when the top is golden and mine came away from the sides of the pan.

Slice

Allow to cool completely and then cut into 8 or 16 pieces, or any combination you like. Refrigerate for a week or freeze for a month in airtight containers or freezer bags.

Lunchbox substitute

I don't have a lunch box, but if I did it would be green and contain a Granny Smith apple. This is my Twinings Earl Grey Tea tin!!!


Friday Food: Salted Caramel Ice-Cream Bombes

Bombe caramelThere is no baking at all in this recipe from Woolworths' Fresh Magazine 9/2016. And as a bonus for me, I can eat this dessert because I can have all the caramel I like. The ice-cream bombes can be prepared earlier and kept frozen before being whisked out at the last moment and served with a salted caramel sauce: a smear of sauce. I was able to buy the Woolworths' premium Gold brand salted caramel sauce, otherwise I would have made a salted caramel sauce: Nigella has an easy one here that doesn't require a thermometer.

I couldn't buy any toasted coconut flakes, I went to four supermarkets, so I used desiccated coconut. It didn't give the same effect visually, Caramel saucebut it tasted fine. I used Crunchie bars and chopped off the chocolate as there was no plain honeycomb. Of course you can leave the chocolate on if you prefer. I find it increasingly difficult to buy what I consider to be normal supermarket products. They are stocking fewer items and replacing them, sometimes, with their own range, if at all. I also couldn't buy the Salted Caramel Haagen-Dazs ice-cream in the recipe. It is apparently not stocked here, so I settled for their own brand. 

These were so easy to make, and easy to customise: maybe some raspberry ice-cream rolled in crushed Chocolate Ripple biscuits and a raspberry sauce, or Mint Cookies and Cream rolled in chopped up Mints Slice biscuits and a chocolate sauce. I think I could just be inspired by looking in the freezer at the shop!!

The recipe calls for a litre of ice-cream and makes 4 bombes. That's a cup of ice-cream each. I think I could stretch this easily to make 6 serves.

 

 

Salted Caramel Ice-cream Bombes      serves 4-6

  • 1 litre of salted caramel ice-cream
  • 1 cup crushed honeycomb - maybe 4 to 5 Crunchie bars (50g)
  • 1 cup toasted coconut flakes
  • 300g of salted caramel sauce
  • extra salt flakes for serving if you like

 

Icecream and tray

Prepare a metal tray, lined with baking paper and put it in the freezer. It will be nice and cold when you need it and help the ice-cream bombes to set more quickly. At the same time take the salted caramel ice-cream out of the freezer and allow it to soften a little. 

Prepare the honeycomb

Prepare the honeycomb if you don't need, or want, the chocolate.

Honeycomb the bombes

Mix the honeycomb with the toasted coconut flakes, if you have them. I chose to coat with the honeycomb first and then let the coconut fill any gaps. I used an ice-cream scoop to make my bombe shape. I dipped it into hot water and then wiped it clean each time before I scooped.

Bombes ready to freeze

Freeze for an hour. I found the bombes needed at least 2 hours to be properly set again. Smear some salted caramel sauce on each serving plate, heat it slightly if it is not runny enough, top with an ice-cream bombe and sprinkle on a little extra salt. I didn't really need the extra salt, but it looked nice!!!

Salted caramel bombe


Friday Food: Asparagus Cannelloni With Easy Cheesy Sauce

Asparagus cannelloniAnd we're back with Friday Food. This week I baked something savoury for a change. It is indeed easy and looks as if you have spent quite a lot of time preparing. This would make a fancy entrée or, could be served with some pan fried salmon with a lemony butter sauce. I did toy with using some broccolini, and I think it would be an excellent substitute, though I would lightly steam or microwave it. If I made this again I would do the same to the asparagus, or I would trim it much shorter. I always feel there is more than a little waste with the trimming of the asparagus spears. The edges of the fresh lasagne sheets were less than soft, but not terribly much. I think I should have covered more of the pasta with the sauce, though in the picture from Taste magazine's September issue, they didn't.

I bought fresh ricotta at the supermarket deli and my cottage cheese had spring onion and chives mixed through. I may have added a little extra Parmesan cheese, because I do love cheese. Cheese is my downfall.

It took me less than five minutes to prepare the easy cheesy sauce and wrap the asparagus and then just half an hour in the oven and it was ready to eat. I didn't have any capers, so I just left them out. This was very yummy and I ate mine topped with some chopped spring onions and a big squeeze of lemon juice. I made half the recipe and made 5 rolls.

 

Asparagus Cannelloni with Easy Cheesy Sauce     serves 4

 

  • 350g fresh ricotta cheese
  • 200g cottage cheese
  • 160ml milk
  • 2 tspn Dijon mustard
  • zest of a lemon
  • 40g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1/4 cup fresh chives/spring onion, finely chopped
  • 4 bunches of asparagus, trimmed
  • 40ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 small fresh lasagne sheets ( approx 12 x 15cm)
  • 1 tbsp baby capers
  • chopped chives/spring onions for serving
  • salt and pepper

NB an Australian tablespoon is, sensibly, 20ml or 4 teaspoons.

 

Preheat the oven to 200*c/180*C fan-forced and grease a 20 x 30cm baking dish with half the olive oil.

Easy cheesy sauce

Put the ricotta and cottage cheese, milk, Dijon mustard, lemon zest half the Parmesan in a blender. Blend till smooth and season to taste. Spoon half the easy cheesy sauce over the base of the baking dish.

Asparagus and roll

Toss the trimmed asparagus in the rest of the olive oil and season to taste. Roll three spears of asparagus in each sheet of lasagne. Carefully place in the baking dish, seam side down, and gently press into the sauce. It seems to help the rolls stay rolled. Continue, placing the rolls side by side.

Sauce and bake

When all the pasta and asparagus is exhausted, top the rolls with the rest of the easy cheesy sauce ( and in my mind I say this every time with gusto and amusement) and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese and the capers. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the cheesy topping is golden. Sprinkle with extra chives/spring onions and you are done.

Asparagus cannelloni with easy cheesy sauce


Friday Food: Cherry Ripe Cupcakes

A ganache cherry ripe cupcakeAs I mentioned over a week ago, I was intending to bake the Cherry Ripe Cupcakes, from the August Taste magazine, for Sewing supper. I was struck down by a bug and so we all went to bed for three days and I ended up baking on Sunday. Although you can tizzy these up to the nth degree, the basic recipe is quick and easy, and they look nice with some, a bit, or all the extra embellishments. I found some fresh cherries at the supermarket, so I added those to lighten the richness. If you can find the Mini Oreos and freeze dried strawberries, that's great. I managed the Mini Oreos, but popped a fresh cherry on top as a replacement for the strawberries.

MrsDrWho, a seasoned cake aficionado, says that these are Very Rich and you may only be able to eat one fully embellished cake!!

I didn't take pictures of making the buttercream, I slightly lost the will to keep standing up, but there are lots of buttercream tutorials on The Internet. My ganache for drizzling was a tad too thick, but I just went ahead and drizzled thickly. I made half the recipe and, using my ice-cream scoop to fill the cupcake papers, it yielded 8 cakes.

I shall make these again, and decorate them simply, because they were so easy to make: melt and mix, and even just with a little ganache and a Cherry Ripe wedge, they look rather special.

Plainer cherry ripe cupcake

NB Sensibly, an Australian tablespoon is 20ml, or 4 x 5ml teaspoons.

 

 

 

 

Cherry Ripe Cupcakes      makes 12-16

  • 150g (1 cup) self-raising flour
  • 110g (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 45g (1/2 cup) desiccated coconut
  • 30g (1/4 cup) cocoa, I used Dutch processed
  • 150g (about 2/3 cup) butter, melted
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) coconut cream/milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 x 52g bars of Cherry Ripe, cut into 1cm pieces
  • optional, some fresh cherries, chopped

For the ganache:

  • 300g dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) thickened cream
  • 2 tbspn thickened cream extra

For the buttercream:

  • 375g butter, softened
  • 450g (3 cups) icing sugar mixture
  • 1 tbspn milk
  • 100g dark chocolate, melted and cooled
  • red food colouring

And extra decorations:

  • 1 packet of Mini Oreos
  • 3 x 52g Cherry Ripe bars cut into long triangular shapes
  • fresh cherries to pop on top

 

 

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/160*C fan-forced and line a muffin tin with paper cases.

Dry ingredients

Place the flour, coconut, sugar and cocoa in a large bowl and whisk together.

Combine wet and dry

Combine the melted butter, eggs and coconut cream. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in.

Mix, add extra yummy things

Add the Cherry Ripe pieces and fresh cherries, if you are using them, and then gently mix together until everything is well combined.

Bake

Scoop into the cupcake papers, I used an ice-cream scoop, and then bake for about 25 minutes, or until a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then move to a rack to cool completely.

I usually make my buttercream while the cakes are baking. Please use the clicky links at the top of the post for the method. I made the batch of buttercream and divided it in two, and then added melted chocolate to one half and red food colouring to the other. I then whisked each furiously to combine. Fill some piping bags with tips, or not, and set aside.

Ganache the top

Meanwhile make the chocolate ganache. Melt the chocolate and cream in the microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring well, until the chocolate is almost melted. Then stir till smooth. Allow to cool for 20 minutes until it thickens a little. Reserve 1/2 a cup and add to it the extra thickened cream. This will be for drizzling.

Spread the remaining ganache over the top of the cooled cupcakes.

Add buttercream

Pipe the chocolate buttercream onto each cupcake and then top with a pink buttercream swirl. Cut each Cherry Ripe bar into 4 wedges, 12 in all but be more judicious if you have 16 cupcakes, and poke one piece into each cake, artistically. Add a Mini Oreo on the other side to balance and then pop a cherry, or whatever you choose, on top. Finally, warm the remaining thinned ganache and drizzle over the cupcake.

Cherry ripe cupcakes

Un-iced/decorated these cupcakes can be stored in the fridge for 4-5 days or in the freezer in an airtight container. Once they are fully decorated they really should be eaten sooner, rather than later.

Ganache cherry ripe cupcakes


Friday Food: Salted Caramel Brownie

Slice of brownieThis brownie does not follow the recipe as written on the BBC GoodFood website, because I wasn't completely paying attention as I baked. Regardless, it worked out very well, all things considered.  Not only did I confuse the method, I also baked it in the wrong tin. It was not my best baking hour, but MrsDrWho and her mum pronounced it delicious. The recipe uses ingredients that are usually in my pantry and I just needed to buy some caramel in a tin, or Top'n'Fill as it is called here. The recipe calls for two different kinds of dark chocolate, I compromised with 100g of the 70% cocoa and then just some ordinary dark chocolate of unknown percentage. We can't buy golden caster sugar, so I substituted roughly 2/3 caster sugar and 1/3 light brown sugar.

I made a quick chocolate sauce from a runny ganache at the last moment, because my friends are like the Masterchef judges and love a dessert with a saucy addition!!!

There isn't much to add, I used a hand whisk and other than that there is just some melting and combining before you bake. In a warm climate I would store this in the fridge, but here in Winter it will keep for a week in an airtight container in the cupboard.

 

Salted Caramel Brownies     makes 16 pieces

  • 200g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 100g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids
  • 100g dark chocolate, 50% cocoa solids
  • 1 395g can of Top'n'Fill or other caramel
  • 1 tspn salt flakes, and a little extra for sprinkling
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 60g light brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 130g plain flour
  • 50g cocoa, I used Dutch processed

 

Preheat the oven to 180*C/160*C fan-forced and grease and line a 20cm square cake tin, sides and base.

Melting chocolate and butter

Break the chocolate into pieces and melt with the butter in the microwave in 30 second bursts. Stop melting just before all the chocolate is melted and then stir until smooth.

Caramel eggs sugar

Put half of the caramel, the salt, sugar and eggs into a large bowl and with a mixer, or hand whisk, beat until well combined. Whisk in the chocolate and butter mixture.

Add choc butter flour cocoa

Finally sift in the cocoa and plain flour and fold in until the batter is smooth and even.

Brownie base and caramel

Spread half the brownie batter into the base of the tin, then spread over an even layer of the remaining caramel in the tin. Dollop the rest of the brownie mixture over the top of the caramel and swirl through with a spoon or knife.

Top and bake

Sprinkle a little of the extra salt over the top and then bake for 25-30 minutes. There should be a firm crust on top, but the centre will still jiggle when you wriggle the tin. Let the brownie cool completely in the tin and then cut into 16 even pieces. Serve with a chocolate ganache sauce for an extra indulgence.

Salted caramel brownie


Friday Food: Tray Bake Kits

Vanilla cakeReading a cooking magazine I spotted new Woolworths Tray Bake Kits. Of course I had to have them all. Not that I am affected by advertising but really: tray bake kits with a tray and all the bits and bobs. What's not to want???

I really wanted them and so, in the end, I went to three supermarkets before I finally had all the kits in my hot little hand.

There are three types: vanilla cake, chocolate cake and brownies and they cost $4 each. You add a little butter, two eggs and milk to the cakes and one egg, oil and water to the brownies. They come with a folded tray that opens and slots together and icing and sprinkles for the cakes. The whole thing is as cute as a button. Some Woolworths had all three kits, some two and some none at all.

New traybake kits

So dear Reader, I have taken it upon myself to test the kits and taste the vanilla cake at least.

 

Tray Bake Kits    makes 18 pieces

The cakes require additional ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 60g butter, softened
  • 190ml (3/4 cup) milk

The icing also needs:

  • 60g butter, softened
  • 20ml milk

Contents

Vanilla cake kit contents. The chocolate cake kit has a chocolate cake mix and 100s and 1000s.

 

The brownies require additional ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 100ml vegetable oil
  • 100ml water

There is no icing or frosting for the brownies.

 

 

Preheat the oven to 180*C or 160*C fan-forced for all the kits. Unfold and assemble the tray and grease it. I tried both butter and oil, and the butter seemed to work best of all. I folded the creases of all the tray edges and made sure the openings were open so the little arrows slid in easily. They are pretty good trays and maintain their shape quite well. I got better by #3!!!

Tray assembled

To make the cakes, put the cake mix, butter, eggs and milk into the mixer bowl and beat slowly to combine. Once everything comes together, beat on Medium speed for 3 minutes. Then just mix with a spoon to make sure everything is properly combined.

Vanilla cake batter combined

Pour into the tray and bake for 30-35 minutes. I baked mine for 30 minutes and turned the tray half way through. It is cooked when the cake is golden, comes away from the side of the tray and a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean.

Vanilla trayed and baked

Set aside to cool completely.

Vanilla icing

While it is cooling make the icing. Put the icing mix, softened butter and milk into a bowl and beat slowly to combine and then on a high speed for 2 minutes. It will be pale and light.

Vanilla cake iced and sprinkled

Spread the icing on the cake and top with the sprinkles. There is just the right amount of icing, a little more than you think you need, but not too much.

De-traying the cake

It came out of the tray quite easily and didn't stick at all when I used butter to grease the tray.

Here's the chocolate cake:

The chocolate cake

And vanilla and chocolate cake pieces.

Vanilla and choc tray bake

I think the vanilla cake is delicious, it is quite vanilla-y and the icing is light and tasty. It till tastes faintly like a packet mix, but not too badly. My next-door neighbour tasted it and thought it was very yummy. She liked the chocolate one a lot and the icing was very fudgy and rich.

 

To make the Brownies, put the cake mix into a bowl with the egg, water and vegetable oil and mix with a spoon until combined.

The brownie

Pour into the tray and bake for 30-35 minutes. I baked this one for the full 35 minutes.

Cool and slice and it is done.

Choc brownie

I did taste the brownie and I think it was the least successful of the three. I thought it was a bit too flat and the edges were crusty while the centre was moist. While I might consider the cake kits, I would not buy the Brownie one again.

In reality, I like the cake kits for their novelty value, but I will always make a cake from scratch. I like knowing the ingredients I am using are as local as possible, or Australian at least. I like the whole baking process and as we don't have a proper life at our house, it fills in the time some days. Baking cheers me up!!!


Friday Food: Coco Pop Choc Mousse Cups

Cocopop cupThe name of the recipe in no way indicates the difficulty involved: basically you make a kind of Mars Bar slice mix and press it into muffin tin holes and then fill with a melted chocolate mix folded into whipped cream. I really enjoyed making these, and the recipe comes from the Woman's Day magazine, where there is also a Froot Loop cake and a Cornflake slice, and whence I sourced the Jelly Cake Doughnuts. If you don't have Coco Pops, you could just use any plain puffed rice cereal. In our house, when I was a little girl, Sundays were the day for Wicked Breakfast Cereals: Coco Pops, Frosty Flakes, Honey Smacks, Froot Loops - they all came out for special occasions only. These mousse cups are a special occasion food as well.

I eschewed the recipe directions and did all my melting, gently, in the microwave with 30 second bursts and lots of stirring. I always err on the side of a little less melting than I think I want and then I stir any lumps into submission. I spooned 2 tablespoons full of the Coco Pop mixture into my muffin tin holes and then pressed them firmly into the base and sides. In the end I had enough left over to cover the base of a loaf tin, and I topped that with the left over mousse: so bonus dessert!!

I greased the muffin tin holes with some butter and then cut strips of baking paper and placed them cross-wise in the tin to make a lining. They popped out perfectly when they were set.

The trick to folding the melted chocolate and condensed milk into the whipped cream is to first add a good dollop of the cream to the melted chocolate/condensed milk and stir that in well to loosen the mixture. Then fold that into the whipped cream very gently. I was very pleased as it was smooth and had a nice texture.

I can only think of one downside, and that is you have to wait 4 hours for the mousse to set before you can eat them!!!!

NB An Australian tablespoon is very sensibly 20ml, or 4x5ml teaspoons.

 

Coco Pop Choc Mousse Cups     makes at least 12

  • 100g milk chocolate, chopped
  • 50g butter, chopped
  • 60ml golden syrup
  • 3 cups Coco Pops
  • 100g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 395g tin of condensed milk
  • 300ml cream
  •  1 tspn vanilla extract

 

Grease and then line the 12 holes of a muffin tin with strips of baking paper and set aside. Melt the milk chocolate, butter and golden syrup in the microwave in 30 second bursts using a Medium heat. As soon as it looks almost melted, stir until it is smooth and combined.

First melt

Put the Coco Pops into a large bowl and then pour in the chocolate mixture and mix thoroughly so that every Pop is coated and shiny. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of mixture into each muffin tin hole and use a smaller spoon to press the Pops firmly into the base and up the sides. Make sure the base is covered, add a few more Pops if you need them. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Pops and cups

Start the mousse by melting together the dark chocolate and 1/2 the tin of condensed milk in the microwave. Once again, stir the under-melted chocolate until it is smooth and combined. Set aside to cool.

Melting again

Whip the cream and vanilla till soft peaks form. Spoon a good dollop of the cream into the cooled chocolate/condensed milk mixture and mix firmly together.

Whip, fold a third

Once it is combined, pour into the whipped cream and gently fold together until there are no pale streaks of cream showing.

And fold and fill

Take the cups from the fridge and spoon the mousse in, filling right to the top.

Cocopop cups

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and then serve as they are or perhaps with some cream and shaved chocolate on top.

Coco pop cups


Friday Food: Sticky Date Scrolls

A date scrollWhat to bake, what to bake?? I have made a luxurious chocolate mousse cake, and some brown sugar and oat muffins too, but MrsDrWho seemed delighted with the pink iced sticky date scrolls. So much so that I made two more batches for Sewing on Wednesday. I found these in the "date" feature in June's Recipes+ magazine. They are just so cute and it does really matter which way the icing stripes run. Believe me, it really does.

 

I just used my own scone recipe, which isn't really a proper recipe at all. Lassie Nan, my dad's mum, taught me: basically use two cups of self-raising flour, rub in a knob of butter and when it resembles breadcrumbs, add enough milk to make a sticky, but not too sticky, dough. I can't ever tell how much milk I will need, I just know when the dough feels right. You may have a good scone recipe you like to use.

I read a clever tip somewhere, can't for the life of me remember where, but rub a little oil on the knife before chopping the dates and it stops them sticking- very helpful. I added a few more dates to the date mixture as I felt it was a little too runny, and that's about it. Being scones, the date scrolls will only keep for two days in an airtight container. MrsReno warmed her sticky date scroll in the microwave and ate it with vanilla ice-cream: they're very versatile!!

NB Rather sensibly, an Australian tablespoon is 20ml, or 4 x 5ml teaspoons.

 

Sticky Date Scrolls    makes 8

  • 125g pitted dates
  • 1/2 tspn bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbspn brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2 1/4 cups self-raising flour
  • 30g butter, chopped
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1-2 tbspn boiling water
  • few drops of pink food colouring, or one drop of red.

Grease and line a loaf tin, mine is about 22 x 11cm.

Chop the dates

Lightly oil your knife and then chop the dates roughly.

Date filling

Put them in a small bowl and stir through the brown sugar and bicarb soda. Then pour in the boiling water and set aside for 20 minutes. The dates should soften, but I mashed them half way through with a fork to speed the process, because I am an impatient cook sometimes.

Rub butter into flour

Preheat the oven to 220*C/200*C fan-forced. Put the flour in a large bowl and rub in the butter. It should be easy and if you give the bowl a little shake, any lumps rise to the surface and can be annihilated. Make a well in the centre.

Add milk, make dough

Pour in almost all of the milk. Leave a little just in case. Gently mix to combine. Don't work the dough too much. I found that there wasn't enough milk and there was dry flour left in the bowl. I added some more milk, a few teaspoons at a time, until the dough was a little sticky, but didn't stick to my hands too much.

Filling, roll out dough

Once the dates are softened, roll out the dough, or just press it out with your fingers, to be about 35 x 20cm.

Add filling, trim

Trim off the raggedy edges and then spread the date mixture over the scone dough, making sure to leave at least a 2cm border all around. Or vice versa. I think it needs a larger border at the joining edge.

They see me rolling

Starting at the long edge nearest you, begin to roll the scroll. The beginning should be quite tight, and then continue rolling firmly until you reach the other long edge.

Eighths

Press the edges together to join and then trim the ends. You don't want to be eating dateless date scrolls. Then cut the roll into 8 equal parts.

And bake

Carefully place them in the loaf tin, with the cute scroll side up. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the scrolls are golden and sound hollow when you tap them. Set aside to cool.

Pink icing

Check the scrolls are cool, if they are too warm, the icing disappears as it melts. Mix the icing sugar, boiling water and food colouring together to form a reasonably runny icing.  It should fall easily from a spoon so that you can swoosh it across the sticky date scrolls.  I think it is Very Important to ice East to West, rather than North to South, as evidenced above. I gritted my teeth and iced the second batch The Wrong Way. I know they will taste the same, but they look wrong.

I loaded up my spoon with icing, and tilted it over the bowl to start it off. Any blobs at the start will fall off into the bowl. Then with lightning speed move the spoon over the scrolls and swoosh from side to side.

Then pull them apart and serve with a nice cup of tea or coffee. Eat them warm or cold, with ice-cream or just as they are. They are deliciously sticky from the icing and the dates!!!

Date scrolls


Friday Food: Blondie

BlondieIt was Nigella Week on Masterchef, but I was a tad under-whelmed by her Masterclass baking. It was a pavlova with lemon curd, cream and toasted almonds. That's pretty much an everyday dessert in Australia: pavlova and cream with some fruit. I make a pretty mean lemon curd, and I can whip up a pavlova in no time at all. I do love making Nigella's Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova, and it is always a hit at dessert time. Instead, I was inspired this week by the Yellow Team's Blondie. It has the bonus attributes of having no dark or milk chocolate, so I can eat it, and it is gluten free as well.

In the Fete episode all the teams had to make a fresh jam, but I just opened a bottle of my mum's jam and used that instead. I don't have any fresh raspberries as they are currently $56 per kilo and I refuse to buy frozen raspberries from overseas. I think it works well without the extra berries.

This is a very easy melt and mix recipe and, though there is a little cooling time, once it is all combined it bakes in 40 minutes. I think it is best served cold, as the white chocolate is a little cloying when it is warm, but each to her own!! The recipe says it serves 12 as a dessert, but I think as a slice it would make 24 pieces.

 

Blondie      serves 12/24

  • 200g white chocolate, chopped. I used buttons.
  • 200g butter, chopped
  • 250g brown sugar
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 200g almond meal, I used cashew meal
  • 50g chopped pecans
  • raspberry jam and cream to serve

 

Grease and line a 20 x 30cm slice tin. Preheat the oven to 160*C.

Melting

Put the chocolate and butter into a saucepan over a low heat and slowly melt together. As usual, I take it off the heat while there is still some melting to go, and then stir till it is smooth.

Add sugar and cool

Mix in the brown sugar and vanilla extract and allow to cool slightly.

Eggs and nuts

Now whisk in the eggs, and fold in the almond meal and pecans until it is all thoroughly combined.

Bake and cool

Spoon into the tray and smooth out evenly. Bake for 35-40 minutes. I turned the tray half way through and it did take the entire 40 minutes. The Blondie will be golden brown and a little darker at the edges, which will have come away from the side of the tin. Cool on a rack until cold.

Blondie jam and cream

Slice and serve with jam and whipped cream as a dessert. I think it would also be nice dusted with a little icing sugar as a treat. The Blondie should keep for about a week in an airtight container.

 


Friday Food: Jelly Cake Doughnuts

A jelly doughnutI saw these doughnuts in a magazine in the supermarket queue. When I came home I downloaded the Woman's Day magazine using the Zinio for Libraries app and voila!! There's also a Wagon Wheel tart and I might make that too. On the whole, four out of five people gave these the thumbs up: I was the dissenter. I like jelly lamingtons because the jelly has soaked into the cake and it is jelly-y and moist. The jelly didn't soak into the doughnuts enough for my liking, it seemed to set in clumps on the outside. The other four people loved them and they do look so pretty.

If I make these again, and I shall, I will poke the doughnuts all over with a skewer, and let them sit in the jelly on the bench, rather than in the fridge. I think I would use two packets of jelly as well, for optimum jellying. I used raspberry jelly, but you can use any flavour you like.

They don't keep very long, and even in an airtight container I think they need to be used the next day. I was able to buy both cinnamon and sugar doughnuts and I liked the sugar ones best. The cinnamon seemed to interfere with the jelly flavour.

NB  Rather sensibly, and Australian tablespoon is 20ml, or 4 teaspoons.

 

Jelly Cake Doughnuts    makes 12

  • 1 packet of jelly crystals  (85g)
  • 12 fresh doughnuts, cinnamon or sugar
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 300ml thickened cream
  • 2 tbspn icing sugar
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract, I used vanilla bean paste

 

Make up the jelly, stirring in the cup of boiling water until the crystals are completely dissolved. Add the cup of cold water, pour into a shallow tray and refrigerate for 2 hours. It will be half set.

Jelly the doughnuts

Place the doughnuts into the jelly, turning them a few times. Place back in the fridge to chill for a further hour, turning two or three times more.

After chilling

Pour the coconut into a tray. Shake any excess jelly from the doughnuts and then roll them gently in the coconut. Don't forget the sides. Refrigerate for 30 minutes so the coconut sticks to the jelly properly.

Lamingtonify

Whip the cream, icing sugar and vanilla to stiff peaks. Spoon the cream into a piping bag with a large star tip, or just a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off.

Whip cream

Use a serrated knife to cut the doughnuts in half and pipe the cream in a swirly pattern.

Piping the cream

Pop the tops back on and they are ready to be eaten. And they look so cute!!

Jelly doughnuts