Bill Granger’s Mandarin and Almond cake (using oranges)

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Mum made the Bill Granger’s Mandarin and Almond cake with oranges instead of mandarins. Instead of three mandarins, she used two oranges in the below recipe. Served with whipped cream it was delicious!

Serves 10-12

INGREDIENTS

3 mandarins
250g (1 cup) caster sugar
6 eggs
230g (2 cups) ground almonds
60g (1/4 cup) caster sugar, extra
zest of 2 oranges

METHOD

Put the mandarins in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 hours, adding water when necessary to keep the mandarins covered at all times.
Preheat the oven to 160C.

Drain the mandarins and cool to room temperature. Once cooled, split them open with your hands and remove any seeds. Puree the mandarins, including the skins, in a food processor. Add the sugar and eggs  and mix together until combined. Add the ground almonds to the mandarin purée and stir thoroughly.
Pour the mixture into a well-greased 24cm (9 inch) springform cake tin and bake for 1 hour 10 minutes, or until the cake looks set in the middle, springs back when touched and comes away from the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin.

While the cake is cooling, put the extra sugar in a saucepan with 60 ml (1/4 cup) of water over a low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the orange zest and boil the mixture until it just starts to caramelise. Lift the zest out with a fork and cool it on a plate.

Serve the cake with caramelised citrus zest and a sprinkling of icing sugar.

Recipe re-posted from essential kids.

crispy potatoes

Crispy potatoes

Ingredients

  1. 1kg potatoes, peeled, cut into 4cm pieces
  2. 2 tbs vegetable oil
  3. 1-2 tsp hot English mustard

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200C.
  2. par-boil potatoes until just going soft
  3. Whisk oil and mustard 
  4. Toss potatoes with oil and mustard mix. roughen up the sides of the potatoes with a fork if they havent already (adds more crispy bits!)
  5. spread evenly on a tray
  6. Roast for 20-30 minutes until light golden and crisp.

ANZAC Biscuits

Its ANZAC day here in OZ so I tried this:

Merle Parrish’s Anzac biscuit recipe

Prep time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 6-7 mins per batch
Makes: 45

1 cup plain flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup white sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
2 tbsp boiling water
1 tsp bicarb soda
160g butter, melted

1 Preheat oven to moderate (170C) and grease two large baking trays.

2 Sift the flour and ground ginger into a mixing bowl, and add the oats, coconut and sugar. Make a well in the centre.

3 Stir the golden syrup, boiling water and bicarb in a small bowl until combined. Add to the dry ingredients, along with the melted butter. Mix well.

4 Take heaped teaspoons of mixture and roll into balls. Place onto trays, and flatten gently. Bake for 6–7 minutes, until lightly golden.

5 Cool on the trays for 10 minutes, until they firm up slightly, then lift onto wire racks to cool completely.

From here.

Carly’s variation:

My oven runs too hot (something I found out from my second gingerbread test which turned out 100% better than the last one) so I dropped it back to 160C. Also, as they were thick, it too longer to cook. I went with the ‘wait till they are lightly golden’ theory mentioned above and they turned out perfectly (added around 10 mins to the cooking time).
I also used fresh ginger, adding it in with the wet ingredients, and caster sugar because I ran out of brown. The oats I used were left over packets of quick oats and the coconut was shredded not dessicated. I think its best to use what you have in the cupboard, as improvisation can often yield a better result. I think I get bored with recipes if I do them the same every time. Much more fun to experiment! 🙂

and this is what they looked like:

Yum!

mmm… Gingerbread!

I have spent the better half of the last two months eating more than my share of hot cross buns and gingerbread biscuits. Cinnamon and spice is the new chocolate! (for now :-)). Through some SMH food blog trawling I came across The Other Crumb and a nice little gingerbread recipe. Sweet, looks easy enough, lots of butter, sugar… what can go wrong?

1. Really, molasses? Don’t they feed that stuff to cows or something? Apparently its not all that bad, an extract from sugar cane. Mostly sugar, it also has a high iron and calcium content. Now that I was partially sold on the idea, I couldn’t find molasses at the supermarket. An if you want that rich gingerbread taste, you cannot really substitute it. I thought about golden syrup & brown sugar alternatives, and it took me a while but I found a little ‘organic blackstrap molasses’ jar in Thomas Dux. Smelt like vegemite, but surprisingly works out to some nice G-bread!

2. Apparently you cannot substitute baking powder for baking soda but you can do it the other way around. I didn’t have baking powder. If a recipe calls for baking powder then you need to use baking powder. It contains baking soda but also an acidic agent that acts as a rising agent – as baking soda wont do it on its own and can change the taste of the cake. However, if you only have baking powder but need baking soda, you can use the baking powder, you just might need a little more. Learn something new every day!

3. Fresh ginger. The recipe said ground, and I bought fresh (not reading the recipe properly, as you do!). I read that ground ginger is usually stronger than fresh so you should add a little more fresh than the recipe requires. I added three heaped teaspoons and it came out great with a nice subtle ginger flavor. I don’t like my ginger too strong.

4. Why do my breads always come out dry? According to the Sydney Easter Show cake judges – maybe my oven is too hot or my eggs are too small? This time I set it to 170 deg as required, and it comes out ok, just when it cools, the cake turns dry and crumbly. According to this article, perhaps I should turn the oven down by 10 deg or add another egg? A thought for next round…

And enough said, here is the recipe:

Ingredients

125 g butter
115 g (1/2 cup) sugar
90 g (1/4 cup) molasses
1 egg
175 g (1 1/4 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Method
Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line a 13 x 23 cm loaf tin with baking paper. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in the molasses and the egg.
In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Sift the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture, mix to combine and pour into the prepared tin. Bake for 90 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the gingerbread comes out clean. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool and slice thickly.

Mushroom Wellington – Just awesome!

Maybe its my obsession with mushrooms or the crispy puff pastry but I absolutely fell head over heels in love with this recipe when I experimented with it last night. The buttery mushroom flavor dominates the dish, which is perfect for someone like me that loves that flavor. You get hints of spinach, mushroom and tomato throughout.

It does take about an hour to prepare, purely the cooking time for the onions takes a while, but it requires no effort, you cook the ingredients alternating in a single pan, leave it be on a low heat, once done, layer them in pastry, freeze for a bit then chuck in the oven. Done! All the while you can catch up on episodes of your favorite TV series. The recipe below is an alternative to the original, I changed up a few ingredients because that’s what I had available at the time, and I love shopping Coles for the specials, so getting a medley of 3 varieties of mushrooms reduced to clear had to be done!

Mushroom Wellington

(From Le Delicieux)

Preparation Time

60 minutes

Cooking Time

35 minutes

Serves

2-4

Ingredients

  • 300g mushrooms, stalks trimmed, cleaned and sliced (I used a handful of Enoki, 1 king brown, 3 swiss brown, 4 cups)
  • 2 onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 100g of frozen spinach
  • 4 or 5 little leaves off a Rosemary bush
  • 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, partially thawed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons napolitana sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (390 Fahrenheit) and place a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil.  When the pan has come up to heat add the onion and reduce heat to low.  Season with salt and pepper and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  When caramelised, remove the onions from the pan and set aside.
  2.  Return the pan to the heat and add the spinach and cook till thawed.  Remove the spinach from the pan and set aside.
  3. Return the pan to the heat again and increase heat to medium.  Add the butter and when the butter has melted and started to froth add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 5-10 minutes or until golden, keep lid off so the liquid reduces.
  4. Place a sheet of baking paper on the baking tray and then place the puff pastry sheet on top.  Spread the caramelised onions over the middle third of the pastry, making sure to leave 1 to 2cm at the edges.  Top with half the baby spinach and then the mushrooms.  Top the mushrooms with the remaining baby spinach.
  5. Very carefully roll the pastry over the top of the mushroom mixture until you have a log.  Tuck the edges under the pastry, ensuring the seam is facing the bottom.
  6. Cut 2 holes in the middle of the pastry to allow steam to escape and very lightly coat with the egg wash.  Then place the pastry in the freezer for 10 minutes before repeating with another layer of egg wash and freezing the pastry for 10 minutes.
  7. Place the pastry back on the baking sheet and tray and place in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden.

Notes

  • Serves 2 people on its own, or 4 with steamed veges on the side.
  • I used a mushroom medley, the original calls for 6 nice big portabella mushrooms which would be great also.
  • I have substituted Dijon mustard for some napolitana sauce.
  • If you don’t have Rosemary handy, use a few sprigs of Thyme.
  • Once filled, if the pastry is too soft and is stretching, put in freezer for 10 minutes before turning it over, then carefully turn it over and continue with the egg brushing. Also, the pastry can look clear and thin while cooking in the oven, so make sure you leave it till it goes golden brown.
  • I am tempted to experiment with spinach and ricotta, minced beef pie or roasted pumpkin fillings.

A Fresh Look at Porridge

My weekday morning ritual consists of black coffee with a little honey, and porridge made with some oats, water, lsa mix, dried fruits and honey. It gets me started every day. I have been consistently eating the same thing every morning since late last year (with exception to weekends).

Today I decided to go a bit outrageous and try a porridge without oats. WTF a porridge without oats? This was my first reaction when I came across this recipe. My second reaction was that it looks a bit hippy (aka too healthy maybe?), third, I wouldn’t mind giving it a try.

After a granny smith apple and some chia seeds from the health food isle in coles I was grating away in the work kitchen feeling really silly. I mean, who grates apples? Anyway I persisted, even after the weird looks, combined the ingredients, heated, mixed and WOW. It went from being some mushy apple to a mix that has the consistency and look of a nice porridge! Below is an image I took of it. I mixed in some Jalna natural yogurt and it became this creamy vanilla tasty goodness! Requires more elbow grease (grating an apple) than normal porridge but it is worth it. I don’t eat apples at all so this is a good way to fit in that ‘apple a day’ :-). Also it is just as filling as using my normal 34g packets of oats. Enough said, here is the recipe!

Power Porridge

(From Teresa Cutter The Healthy Chef)

Preparation Time

10 minutes

Cooking Time

2 minutes

Serves

1

Ingredients

  • 1 apple, grated
  • 2 tablespoons LSA
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • natural yogurt & honey to serve
  • fresh fruits if desired

Method

  1. Combine apple and cinnamon in a microwavable bowl with the LSA, chia seed and vanilla.
  2. Heat in microwave for 1 minute
  3. Serve with a dollop of natural yogurt, a little honey and fresh fruits if desired.

Notes

  • My version is the ‘quick and easy make it at work’ version that requires little effort. If you want a better consistency it could be good to try Teresa’s method of cooking over a stove.
  • Use a grater that is attached to a container or grate into a bowl to keep the liquid with the apple pieces. Also, grate the skin and everything right down to the core.
  • I’m a granny smith fan but you can use any type of apple, others would make it a bit sweeter so you may need to taste the porridge before adding any honey.