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Category Archives: Bites and snacks

Blue Cheese Eclairs

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What a weekend for thermomixing – I made three things this weekend for a little gathering we had yesterday afternoon.  I had made the quince paste on Saturday to use in the first recipe I had wanted to make – the Blue Cheese Eclairs. I actually ended up making two batches, as I didn’t like the size of the first lot I made, made a second lot, and then decided that I liked the larger ones I made.

Dani is right – this is a great recipe to improve your piping skills.  I didn’t even use a proper piping bag – I used the cheats way and put the mixture in a zip lock bag and snipped off the corner.  Works every time, and there’s no mess oozing out of the top. My eclairs were on the large side – I got about 15 out of the recipe, so in theory they were twice the size of the ones in the recipe.  I do need some more piping practice though, so I might hunt down some disposable piping bags and see if they make a difference.

I made the first batch on Saturday for a party on Sunday.  I like my eclairs to be a little crunchy, so to make sure they didn’t go soggy, I cut them in half and put them in the oven at about 150 c for about 10 minutes about an hour before I wanted to start constructing them.  I was able to assemble them an hour or so before our guests arrived and they were perfect – and so easy to prepare – some prosciutto, a bit of rocket, and some cubed quince paste.

I have made choux pastry countless times and have always been lucky with making eclairs.  Doing the choux pastry in the thermomix was a first for me – and it worked really well. This was also the first time I have used baking paper to line the tray, and I don’t think the eclairs were as puffy as the ones I have made before – but I always used to grease the tray well, and then put some water on the tray – the theory goes that the steam helps the eclairs rise. They were still pretty good though!

I’m not overly fond of blue cheese, but the flavour isn’t overpowering, and the prosciutto and quince cut through nicely.  In my first batch I used some King Island Roaring 40’s and for my second lot I used a gorgonzola.  For mine, the gorgonzola was a much nicer flavour.

These eclairs would be great for finger food for a party, which is what we used them as yesterday.

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2012 in Bites and snacks

 

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Chia and Quinoa Crisps

The Chia and Quinoa Crisp recipe caught my eye not long after I got my book – probably because the picture features the crisps turned into mini taco shells and recommends serving them with finely diced sashimi tuna, diced avocado, shoyu and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

On the spur of the moment, I invited my sister and her daughter over for dinner on Saturday night.  Believe it or not, I actually made a non-Thermomix meal for us – Chicken Curry – but then I had a thermomix itch to scratch, so I decided to whip these up to go with some beautiful double brie I’d bought that morning – especially as I’d forgotten to buy more water crackers.

I had bought both white and black chia seeds a couple of weeks ago when I first bought the book.  I bought them at the local Woolworths from the Macro section, and from memory they cost about $10 per 250g bag. I would guess you could probably get them cheaper from a health food store if you have one close by.

I also had some quinoa which I had previously bought for the thermomix brown rice salad. I had the white quinoa, and new time I buy quinoa I’ll definitely buy some black and red quinoa as well, as I think it will make the crisps look a little nicer.  I used a mix of the white and black chia seeds for this recipe.

As for the recipe, you can’t get much simpler.  The seeds as mentioned, some sesame seed and a little bit of water.

Now, I’m going to sound gross here.  I’d never cooked with chia before, and only once before with quinoa, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect.  After I’d milled and added the water, I took the lid off.  All I can say is… Ewww.  There was a a hunk of water and chia/quinoa hanging from the lid, which looked suspiciously like something I’ve often wiped from my son’s nose.  Undeterred, I flicked it back into the bowl, gave it another couple of seconds mixing, and tried to banish the unsavoury thoughts from my mind!

The dough, if you can call it that, is pretty dry but sticky at the same time.  Dani recommends making little balls and then flattening them out between non stick paper with a rolling pin.  I had limited success with making the balls into evenly shaped discs, so my fussy side got the better of me and I rolled out quite a bit of the dough and used a cookie cutter to cut even sized circles.  I then rolled out the remnants again, until I used all the dough. The dough dries out very quickly, so you need to work really fast!!

Of course, once I was about three quarters of the way through making the discs, I realised that I hadn’t put the salt in the original mix…nightmare!  I am quite fond of salt, so instead of starting over, I brushed the tops of the discs with a little water and sprinkled some Maldon Sea Salt over them.  Once again, where too much water came off the brush and onto the discs, the result was more icky stuff, but once they were baked it completely disappeared.  Thank God!!

Next time I make them, I’m going to try rolling the dough into a sausage and try and slice them with the mandolin… might need to freeze it a little first, but the thickness of the discs would be beautiful and even – and my lot were a little haphazard.  I’m blaming my rolling pin.

I cooked them for a little longer than the recommended 5 minutes, but I think that might be more of the white quinoa factor than anything. I like crackers to look really toasted, so the browner the better as far as I’m concerned.

Anyway… they tasted lovely – we ate them all in one sitting (and a whole wheel of Double Brie), and someone was seen looking for more in the cupboard last night 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2012 in Bites and snacks

 

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Tomato Shots

Photo is coming – – – – I promise!!

The recipe for Tomato Shots is one of the first that got my attention in the book.

First of all, the photo looks amazing.  They are served in little glass bowls with a little tapenade visible, and a sprinkling of dust. Then you read the details and see that they are served with a brilliant tapenade and prosciutto dust.  Just the words prosciutto dust were enough to get me salivating!  I am a real savoury tooth, and anything in the bacon/speck/prosciutto family gets my vote straight off.

There are 3 main components to this dish:

  • Tomato sorbet
  • Tapenade
  • Prosciutto dust
You need to prepare for this recipe – but I bet there isn’t anything stopping you having a few zip lock bags of diced tomatoes in the freezer, especially if you buy in bulk – or – even better – grow your own.
I made the tomato shots and used them as an entree for dinner on Sunday night with the family, serving them in martini glasses.
They tasted lovely, but I think there was too much of a good thing – and believe it or not, it tasted really rich.  I think the best way to serve would be in small bit sized nibbles – so they’d be perfect for a special hors d’oeuvre or amuse bouche.  I’m going to make them again this week and take some photos this time of the way I plan to serve them up – — but you’ll have to wait and see for the picture!  I’ve just cut up the tomatoes this morning and popped them in the freezer, so that might be a project for tomorrow.
The Tapenade
The tapenade recipe is good. I like my tapenade a little chunky, and the recipe makes a chunky-ish tapenade.  It’s very quick and easy to make.  Next time I think I’ll reduce the amount of parsley a little, but that’s more my personal taste.
The tomatoes 

You need to make sure you have really flavoursome tomatoes for this recipe, as they really are the heart and soul of the dish.  Believe it or not, the tastiest tomatoes that I’ve found recently are from Costco.  They come in 1 kilo boxes and you can get the little grape variety or the cherry truss tomatoes.  I had been to Costco where I bought a box, and then I saw this recipe… kismet!

The recipe doesn’t call for peeling the tomatoes as you blitz them in the the Thermomix anyway, but next time I make these, I think I will peel at least half of them – only reason being is that as I use the smaller tomatoes, there is proportionally more skin.

I used lemon zest in my first attempt, and I think I’ll try the lime zest next time.  I’ll let you know what the outcome is!!

The Prosciutto Dust

Oh, how lovely!  All you need to do is effectively ‘dry’ the prosciutto in the oven and then blitz the hell out of it.  One pack of prosciutto from the deli (100g) made quite a lot when you consider you don’t need much per serve.  It keeps in the fridge in a sealed container quite well.

When I’m baking it next time, rather than rest it on the baking paper, I’m going to try and bake it on a cooling rack on a tray with the baking paper under the cooling rack.  I think it might help get rid of all the dampness a little better than just laying it on the baking paper.  Even so, the suggested method works well…it’s just that I love it even more when it’s really, really, crunchy (and who can resist taking just a little bit to try before you blitz it??)

I’m planning to use the left over dust as a garnish on poached eggs, the bulk standard Thermomix mushroom risotto, and  on toasted cheese and tomato sandwiches.

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2012 in Bites and snacks, Entrees

 

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