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Chilli Cherry Ripe

Chilli Cherry Ripe

It’s coming to the time of year where I always like to have a few little things around the house that can make nice little gifts for people…dropping into neighbours houses, drinks parties and the like. It’s probably not the best idea for my waistline, but most of the time I like giving edible gifts – that way, if you don’t use them, you get to eat the spoils!  Or, in this case, I got to taste the odd shaped ones that didn’t look so good in their bags…

Master just turned 6 is just about to finish kinder and become a big Prep boy next year.  We held him back last year for a variety of reasons – best thing we ever did.  His teachers have been truly phenomenal so to express our thanks I always like to create a little something for them at the end of the year.  Last year I did a hamper with body products – salt scrubs, bath salts, sugar scrubs, and a few food items – some vanilla sugar and a fabulous All Purpose Spice Rub, along with a bottle of bubbles for good measure.  This year I’ve gone all food – pastilla, dukkah, vanilla extract, some home grown bay leaves and kaffir lime leaves, nougat and the delicious Chilli Cherry Ripe. Oh, and a bottle of bubbles as well.

For my overseas followers, a Cherry Ripe is an Australian confectionery item. In fact, one I owe the grand sum of $58,000 to.  You see, last year I was on “Million Dollar Minute”, and one of the final questions for me to win was “What is the colour of the writing on a Cherry Ripe pack?”.  Luckily I have downed enough of these bad boys in my life time to be able to tell you what it is…  I had to choose from either Red, Yelllow or Green.  Do you know what it is? So, naturally, the Cherry Ripe now holds a very special place in my heart.  And when I saw the recipe for Chilli Cherry Ripe in In The Mix 2, I had to try it.

This is the easiest recipe ever!  Some dark chocolate, some desiccated coconut, some dried cherries and a small amount of chilli flakes.  That’s your ingredients right there. My only hiccough was finding the dried cherries – which I eventually ended up getting at a Health Food store.  I bought the tart ones as I like the way the sourness cuts through the dark chocolate.

Anyway, you blitz your chocolate buds.  I used the Yarra Valley Chocolate Company chocolate this time, which comes in little nibs.  You blitz them for a while and then heat at 50 degrees until all the chocolate is melted, then whiz it around with no heat until the temperature drops to 37 degrees, throw in your dried cherries, coconut (I used shredded rather than desiccated) and chilli flakes.  Whizz it around a bit more, and pour into a lined tin to cool. Bam!  That’s it.  Takes 10 minutes tops and then a couple of hours to harden and set enough for you to break or cut into pieces… taking all the ones you couldn’t possibly put in a nice cellophane bag for your neighbours and eating them yourself!

I used the full two teaspoons of chilli flakes.  It definitely has a warm aftertaste but not too much. I made two batches, which was enough for 8 small bags with a few sneaky pieces for the cook!

Chilli Cherry Ripe makes a great little gift!!

Chilli Cherry Ripe makes a great little gift!!

And.. if you want to know – the answer is yellow!

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2014 in Recipes

 

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Recipe – Herb Scroll

Blogger and restaurateur Madalene Bonvini-Hamel (britishlarder.co.uk) came up with this tasty, filling and attractive bread rolled with a zucchini and herb pesto.  Put the scroll in the middle of a buffet table or picnic spread and watch it disappear, or let the kids rip it apart for their lunchboxes.  The pesto also makes a fresh, light dip, pasta sauce and pizza topping.

Time:  2.5 hours

Serves – 6

Bread Dough

400 grams Baker’s Flour

1 teaspoon chopped rosemary

20 grams fresh yeast, or 1 sachet dried yeast

40 grams olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

200 grams lukewarm water

Weigh the flour, rosemary and yeast in the TM bowl.  Blend for 10 seconds/speed 8.  

Add the oil, salt and water.  Blend for 30 seconds/speed 8, then knead for 1 and a half minutes/interval speed.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured bench or silicon mat.  Neatly and gently fold the dough into a ball to create a smooth top and wrap it in the silicon mat, or place it in a lightly greased bowl and cover.  Let the dough prove for 40 minutes to 1 hour, or until doubled in size.  Make the pesto while it is rising.

Zucchini and Herb Pesto

30 grams parmesan

30 grams pine nuts

20 grams linseeds

1 clove garlic, peeled

1 small onion, peeled and halved

30 grams baby spinach

40 grams mixed herbs, such as mint, lemon thyme, parsley, basil or oregano

30 grams olive oil

200 grams zucchini, cut into large pieces

juice of 1 lemon

salt and pepper, to taste

100 grams soft goat’s cheese

Place the parmesan in the TM bowl and grate it for 8 seconds/speed 10.  Set aside and wipe the bowl out with kitchen paper.

Place the pine nuts and linseeds in the TM bowl and toast for 4 minutes/100 degrees/Reverse/Speed Soft.  Set aside with the parmesan.

Place the garlic, onion, spinach and herbs in the TM bowl.  Chop for 3 seconds/speed 6.  Add the oil and sauté for 2 minutes/100 degrees/Reverse/Speed 2.  Add the zucchini and chop for 5 seconds/speed 5.

Add the parmesan, toasted pine nuts and linseed, the lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.  The mixture must not be too oily or it will make the bread claggy.

Assembly and baking

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees/gas mark 4.  Grease and dust a springform tin about 18-20cm diameter with flour.  Turn the dough onto a lightly floured bench or mat and press or lightly roll it onto a rectangle about 1.5cm thick.

Spread the pesto in a thin layer over the surface. (You’ll use about 2/3 of the pesto, but the remainder will keep for a week in the fridge).  Sprinkle the goat’s cheese over the pesto and roll the dough into a spiral.  Cit it into 6.  Arrange the spirals in the prepared tin.

Bake in the oven for 55 minutes (cover the top with foil if the exposed pesto threatens to burn).  Let the bread cool for 10 minutes before removing it from the tin.

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2013 in Recipes

 

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Herb Scroll

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Someone’s little hands couldn’t keep away..until he discovered the green factor!!

Why didn’t I make these sooner?  I love these!  The pesto is to die for, and I’ll definitely make it by itself.  Someone ate all the leftover stuff that didn’t go into the scroll within about 15 minutes – it went beautifully with the Woolworths Select Rosemary Crackers.  I wonder who that was?

The recipe for these scrolls comes from Madalene Bonvini-Hamel from the British Larder in Suffolk – coincidentally, not too far from where I used to live.  Luckily she wasn’t in operation then or I would have come back from my England experience even heftier than I did!!!  She’s also responsible for the moorish Risotto Balls I made about this time last year.

There are two components to the recipe – the dough and the pesto.  The dough is the work of a few minutes – the lengthy part of this recipe – if you could even call it lengthy – is waiting for the dough to prove. The rosemary makes a lovely addition to the dough. If you’re stuck for a nice warm spot for your dough to rise, try rinsing our your thermoserver with very hot water.  Dry it well, and then put your dough in there, with the lid on – it creates a lovely warm spot for your dough to rise.  The pesto – as i mentioned before – is great by itself.  It’s also one of those things you could add extra bits and pieces too – a variety of herbs, some different nuts or seeds, maybe a different cheese.

I used to hate zucchini.  As a child it was served up with regular occurrence and it was so overcooked.  Mind you, I recently found the Presbyterian Women’s Missionary Union Cookbook that had been my grandmothers, and when I looked at the cooking time and suggestions for vegetables – I was horrified!  Check these out!!

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Aside from anything, these scrolls are the easiest thing in the world to make.  We all know how easy the dough making is, and the pesto is literally over in seconds.  Make sure you use the baking flour, as I have found that the bread lasts a bit better when you use it.

Master 4 – even though his favourite colour is green – doesn’t like green vegetables.  I thought this might fool him, but he’s too smart for that. Still, the rest of us were very happy with the result!

These would be great for lunch boxes or for a picnic.  I’ll definitely be making these again!

Want the recipe?  Check the recipe tab!

Rolled up and ready to be baked

It looks a little skew-wif but it tasted delicious!

It looks a little skew-wif but it tasted delicious!

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2013 in Bakes, Recipes

 

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Earl Grey Truffles

Earl Grey Truffles
So rich and delicious

So rich and delicious

Oh my, I can’t believe it’s been twelve months since I last made these beautiful truffles. Last year I made the classic Honey Truffles instead of giving traditional Easter Eggs, and they were a huge hit.

Inspired by last year’s success, I decided to make the Earl Grey Truffles AND the Honey Truffles this year. I’ll use them for gifts for neighbours, family, kinder teachers and various other people. I’ve also change the presentation slightly, and although I wish the bags I bought were just a smidgeon larger, I’ve still managed to fit 6 truffles into each bag, and I’ve put a bag of each variety in the gorgeous little Easter Bags I found at the local bargain shop. I also managed to find some lovely little patty pans with an Easter theme, so I have put each individual truffle in one of them. I think I’d be happy receiving something like this!

This recipe is from Kirsten Tibballs – who you might have seen on Australian Masterchef.  She runs Savour Chocolate and Patisserie School right here in Melbourne.  I might have to see if there are any classes for home cooks like me that I wouldn’t feel hopelessly inadequate in!

Logic would tell you that I had re-read my original blog on the Honey Truffles before I embarked upon the Earl Grey Truffles, but in typical fashion I did not. I did use the same chocolate, the Yarra Valley one, but I have got to say I wasn’t as impressed with it as I was last time. It did look a little cloudy in the box, and had a bit of a white bloom on it, but I thought it was just a bit battle scarred. I think somehow that it had been heated up a little and cooled down, resulting in the tell-tale white bits – perfectly possible in this recent weather here in Melbourne – or maybe there was something wrong with the sugar balance – I’m not sure. Regardless, they still taste absolutely divine, although I’m a little disappointed in the whitey bloom on some of them.

For my second lot of the standard Honey Truffles, I decided not to risk it and bought the Lindt Callebaut Couverture Milk Callettes for both the ganache and the coating, and I am pleased to say they look and taste beautiful, with no bloom in sight. They come in plastic jars of 500 grams at my local supermarket, and although they are a little pricey ($18 I think) you do value for money in terms of the number of truffles you can coat with one quantity of the melted chocolate. When you think about how much individual chocolates are at the high end chocolatiers, these actually work out quite reasonably.

The Earl Grey infusion works just beautifully and you get a really distinctive Earl Grey flavour with these truffles. Use good quality tea – I did toy with the idea of breaking open a couple of old Earl Grey tea bags but decided against it. I’m a self-confessed tea snob so it’s very rare that a tea bag even makes it past the threshold at my house, so I couldn’t even guesstimate how old those tea bags were, plus I think that generally tea bags use a lesser quality of tea. I was actually quite surprised as to how much 15 grams of Earl Grey was – and the amount of cream it managed to suck up during the infusing process. I was left with exactly the required 120 grams of cream, which I took to be serendipity and a sign from the Gods that I was on the right track!

I refrigerated the ganache this time as it has been unseasonably warm here in Melbourne, and I didn’t think to take it out of the fridge for a while before I put the chocolate on to melt, which was a mistake. Although the ganache was really firm, it was almost a little too firm to get into nice regular shaped balls, so my Earl Grey truffles are ugly little things 😦 If I were to do it again, I’d give the ganache half an hour or so to warm up a bit, and I’m sure the resulting truffles would be much nicer to look at.

With my second batch, I erred on the side of caution and didn’t refrigerate the ganache, but let it set overnight. It was a bit gooey to work with, but made for easier moulding. I put the prepared balls on some baking paper and put them in the fridge for fifteen minutes before I dipped them in chocolate. It makes life just a little easier as they are less inclined to stick to the fork that your dipping them in the chocolate with.

Dani recommends that if the dipping chocolate starts setting while you’re still dipping to warm it up with a hair dryer… and guess what – it works a treat!!  I must admit our cleaner looked at me like I’d completely lost it when she saw me plug the hair dryer in while I was standing at the kitchen bench though!!

Happy Easter!

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2013 in Recipes, Sweet Things

 

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Recipe – Yoghurt Balls

Time:

Yoghurt – 1 hour plus 5 hours setting

Balls – 20 minutes, plus 10 hours draining and 1 hour marinating.

Makes – about 40 balls

Yoghurt

2 litres milk

80 grams yoghurt starter *(see note below)

Pour the milk into the TM bowl and warm for 20 minutes/80 degrees/speed 2-3.  Remove the lid and let the milk cool to 37 degrees, as indicated by the temperature lights.  This will take around one hour. The TM bowl will turn itself off in the meantime, but it will read the temperature of the milk when switched back on.  Don’t be tempted to start making the yoghurt before it’s cool enough or the yoghurt won’t set.

When the milk is 37 degrees, add the yoghurt starter and mix for 10 seconds/speed 4 then heat for 20 minutes/37 degrees/speed 2 – 3.

Tip the yoghurt into the Thermoserver and put on the lid.  Leave the lid on for at least 5 hours, or overnight, trying not to move or agitate the container at all.  Refreigerate yoghurt once it has set.  Save 80 grams of yoghurt to use as a starter next time, it will last a couple of weeks in the fridge.

Yoghurt Balls

1 quantity yoghurt (above)

1 tablespoon dried sumac, or other spices such as cumin, fennel and caraway seeds, or dried herbs such as oregano)

1 tablespoon salt flakes

1 tablespoon chilli flakes (optional)

100ml olive oil

Place a clean kitchen cloth or muslin cloth over the varoma tray and pour the yoghurt on top, leting it drain over the sink or a bowl. If you let it drain for about 5 hours, you’ll end up with thick Greek-style yoghurt.  But if you let it drain for 10 hours or more, you’ll be on your way to creamy white cheese, that’s spreadable but will hold its shape.  If, after 10 hours, the cheese is still too wet to hold its shape, turn it upside down and continue to drain it on a clean, dry cloth for a few more hours.

Make small balls from your yoghurt.  I use wet hands; Valerie uses a small melon-baller.

To marinate the balls, take two bowls, both of which need to be big enough to hold all balls comfortably. Valerie adores a mixture of garlic, dried oregano and basil, fennel, caraway and dried chilli flakes; I love sumac, salt and chilli. Mix your choice of flavourings and oil in one bowl.  Add balls.  Tip balls gently from one bowl to another until they are well coated.  Leave in the fridge to marinate for an hour or more.  Drain oil before serving.

Variation:

Place a marinated ball on hot green beans, asparagus, a jacket potato or in a bowl of soup. Create a sweet version by marinating the balls in honey, or fruit compote and crushed nuts.  Use goat’s milk to create a homemade version of chèvre.

*Yoghurt starter is a bought yoghurt that contains nothing but milk and live bacteria; organic yoghurts from small producers are a good choice.

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2013 in Bites and snacks, Recipes

 

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Yoghurt Balls

Yoghurt Balls

We are celebrating my Dad’s 82nd birthday this week, and of course I’m providing some of the food for the family gathering we are having for him.  Naturally I had a look through “In The Mix” before any other recipe book to see what I could make that hasn’t been attempted before 😉

So, I settled on Yoghurt Balls.  Of course, we are having Peach Margaritas as well, but you’ve already seen that post – and I think I’m going to have to go into rehab if I become any more fond of them…they really are quite addictive.

This recipe comes from Valerie Lugonja, who is a Canadian blogger.  You can find her blog at acanadianfoodie.com

I am pleased to finally report that after 3 years of Thermomixing the man of the house has finally stepped up and actually did something involving the thermomix – other than clean it!  He was responsible for adding the yoghurt to the warm milk once it got to 37 degrees while I was heading out with Master 4 for a train trip.  That was an experience in itself, but as I sit here typing away looking at my yoghurt setting in the thermoserver, I actually think he might have proved me wrong and not only read the directions in the recipe properly, but also mastered the scales function and how to operate the other buttons.  Mind you, I did leave the lid on for him and provided explicit instructions to add the yoghurt through the MC hole.

I made the yoghurt mixture in the morning, let it set during the day in the thermoserver, and set it to drain as I went to bed that night. It was the best way to do it I think – most of it’s draining time completed while I was asleep, and I created the balls the following morning and let them marinate for a few hours before we headed out.  Who knew that my beautiful Nigella Lawson mixing bowls would hold the varoma tray so perfectly?  I didn’t have a muslin cloth, so I used two layers of clean chux wipe, which worked really well.  The tray works really well as it allows you to smooth the yoghurt out and have a bigger surface area for it to drain from.  Be careful when you drain it and maybe put the whole thing in the sink as I think the chux acts like a wick and I ended up with a rather large pool of yoghurty smelling water around the bowl – as well as loads of water in the bowl.  So make sure you use a large bowl. You could possibly even leave the draining yoghurt in the sink, so if it does happen, the water will go straight down the sink, and not sneak in behind your coffee maker.

I had never attempted (or even been tempted) to make yoghurt in the Thermomix before.  The man of the house is a yoghurt fiend, and we would easily go though 6 litres of plain yoghurt in a week – he adds berries, fruit, and all manner of things to it.  I’d never really thought how expensive it was until I realised how cheap it was to make.  Yoghurt will be a regular on my thermomix list from this time forward.

For your starter yoghurt, Dani recommends buying a yoghurt that contains nothing more than milk and bacteria, and suggests that organic yoghurts from small producers are the best.  I bought the Barambah Organic Yoghurt from my local greengrocer, and it was perfect.  For the milk, well, I was a cheapskate and against my better judgement I used the $2 for 2 litre low fat milk from the supermarket.  And guess what?  It was fine.

My yoghurt was definitely able to hold its shape the next morning, so I rolled it into balls with the aid of a melon scooper.  I had loads of beautiful little spheres, so I doused them with Maldon Sea Salt and sumac, with an MC full of good olive oil.  Dani recommends putting the balls in one bowl and gently tipping the balls into another bowl to make sure they all get covered with the oil, sumac and salt.  I tipped from one bowl to the other, but clearly I am ham fisted and ended up with a large blob of yoghurt that didn’t look very nice at all.  Undeterred, I remade the balls and this time put them on a flat dish (I used two dinner plates for the quantity I made, but next time I’d use the platter I plan on serving them on, if it’s fridge-friendly), added a little more salt and sumac, drizzled a little more olive oil over them top and hoped for the best.

My only tip would be that once you’ve heated the milk and cooled it down, you pull any skin that may have formed off.  The Man Of The House didn’t think of doing that, and if I had have been around, I certainly would have.  I also used the varoma lid to cover the draining yoghurt.

I let them marinate for a couple of hours, and before we were due to leave I packed them into a flat tupperware container.  Of course, I had to have a taste test while I did that, and I decided to add some lemon zest as well, which really made a huge difference to the flavour.

Yes, they could have been served on a beautiful dish but aside from nearly leaving the whole lot at home and having to turn back a few hundred metres down the road from our house, I forgot to bring a platter that would do them justice, so I had to serve them in the tupperware container 😮

They were a huge hit and I’ll definitely make them again.  I’ll try experimenting with different flavours as well, maybe Mexican flavours, Italian with oregano, garlic, maybe some more with lemon and salt.  I’m not a huge sweet tooth, but you could also do these with honey, cinnamon, sesame seeds, or chopped nuts.

Want the recipe?  Check the recipe tab!

Create away!!

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2013 in Bites and snacks, Recipes

 

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Recipe – Peach Margarita

IMG_0740With liquor in the cupboard and a Thermomix on the kitchen bench, it’s easy to get a party started.  This blended cocktail has the consistency of a granita, and the punch of a prizefighter (tone it down with extra ice, if desired).  Prepare the icy base the day before or the morning of your soiree.

Peachy Rose Mix

100 grams peach flesh

1 teaspoon rosewater

100 grams sugar

Place the peach, rosewater and sugar in the TM bowl and reduce for 10 minutes/100 degrees/speed 2/MC Off. Blend for 30 seconds/speed 10.  Pour into ice cube trays and set in the freezer.

Sweet and Sour Mix

120 grams sugar

80 grams of lemon or lime juice

120 grams hot water

Mix the sugar, juice and water in a bowl, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Pour into ice cube trays and set in the freezer.

Assembly

pre-prepared peachy rose mix

pre-prepared sweet and sour mix

270 grams tequila

90 grams triple sec

500 grams ice

lemon or lime wedge

salt, to coat the rim of the martini glass

Remove the peachy rose and sweet and sour mixes from the freezer and place the cubes in the TM Bowl.  Because of the sugar content, the mixtures will be slightly soft, even when frozen, and you might need to scoop them out of the ice cube moulds.

Add the tequila, triple sec and ice.  Blend for 30 seconds/speed 9.

Run a lemon or lime wedge around the rim of each martini glass.  Tip the salt onto a plate and invert each glass, dipping the rims in the salt.  Pour the margarita into the glasses and serve immediately.

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2013 in Bites and snacks, Recipes

 

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