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Peach Margarita

IMG_0740What says summer like a beautiful cocktail, enjoyed with friends or family, kicking back, relaxing, and forgetting all about the calories you’ve consumed in the last month?  That’s right, not only is the Thermomix your best friend in the kitchen, it’s also a pretty good companion in the bar.

I’d actually made the base for this beautiful cocktail in preparation for our Christmas night celebration, but we’d all started off on champagne and we thought it might be a recipe for disaster if we went to spirits from there.  The good thing was as the mix was in the freezer, I just left it there, and when the mood hit me, I just had to get out the tequila and the triple sec, salt the glasses, and dig out 500 grams of ice from the freezer – easier said than done – we had relocated to the beach for the summer and didn’t have the freezer with the inbuilt ice maker.  Still, I battled on valiantly and scraped up the requisite 500 grams of ice.

The Peach Margarita consists of three parts – the peachy rose mix, the sweet and sour syrup and finally the alcohol and ice which you add at the end at blitz up at the very end, just as you are about to serve it.  Both the peachy rose syrup and the sweet and sour syrup is frozen for several hours before you use them to make sure it’s really cold.  While both the mixes don’t freeze completely, they go cold and become quite pliable.  Dani recommended putting the mix in ice cube trays, but they are in fairly short supply in our house because I’ve sent them down to the beach where we need all the ice cube trays we can get – and in their absence, I just poured each of the mixes into a zip lock bag, labelled it, and froze it.  It sat in the freezer quite happily for a month, so I would imagine it would keep for several months if you want to make the peachy rose mix while peaches are in season, and keep them on ice till you need a summer hit!

I used the Jose Cuervo Especial tequila, and the Bardinet Triple Sec.  I’m not a spirit aficionado, but they seemed to do the trick.

Sadly, as we were at the beach, I didn’t have fabulous margarita glasses to make these even more special-looking.  But I can assure you that it tasted incredibly summery and fabulous… and we may have downed the lot between two of us, in one night 😉  In between drinks, I stored the whole TM bowl in the fridge, and it kept the mix pretty icy cold and delicious for quite some time.

I’m not sure if it was luck, the glass of water in-betweeners, the food we ate, or the magic of spirulina capsules (which one of my girlfriends swears by) that there was not a headache to be had the next morning.

Want the recipe?  Check the recipe tab!!

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

 

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Pastilla

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Once I do the list for Master 3’s birthday festivities, I know we are on the home straight to Christmas.  And so the hostess gifts are needed, the little things for kinder teachers, playgroup helpers and that kind of thing.  Since I’ve had my thermomix I have been turning into a regular Martha Stewart and making a lot of food gifts myself.  So this year I’ve made some Pastilla.

To be honest, I’d never heard of Pastilla until I saw it in “In The Mix”.  It looked pretty easy and not too time consuming, and you can make it early and it just stores in the fridge. The ingredients aren’t all that expensive, but once you wrap it up ready to give, it looks quite impressive. What’s not to love about that??

I googled traditional pastilla recipes and frankly I feel like a bit of a cheat.  There’s hardly any mess involved with the thermomix version – they way I’ve done it you barely get your hands dirty, but your thermobaby will need a jolly good clean after you’ve finished it.  It is amazingly sticky – really, really, really sticky.  So do watch out.  And you’ll definitely need a silicon mat or lots of baking paper, and if you do what I did, lots of glad wrap. (or spend ages cleaning your bench tops…)

So – it’s easy.  Grab your prunes, whiz them down for 25 seconds and then add the sugar.  I used plain raw sugar as I usually do.  A little bit of water, and then cook.  After the allocated time, you add some lemon juice and honey, and cook again.  Then, add the walnuts and cook again.  And then you’re done.

The messy part is once you’ve turned out the hot sticky stuff onto the mat.  You’ll need to scrape to get what you can out of the thermomix bowl, but even then there will be some left.  Make sure you get some water onto it quick smart and get out what you can using the water and turbo trick.  For the more stubborn stuff, I half filled the bowl with water and set it to 90 for about 10 minutes, and was able to pour out most of the stuff that was stuck.  Just make sure you do it quickly!!

Once it’s cooled a little on the thermomat, use the spatula to break it into quarters, and then each quarter into half.  Just rough is fine – I only did it this way as the recipe said you’d get about 8 logs from it.

Have on your bench a large-ish piece of glad wrap – about 30cm long.  Put the blob of mixture close to the edge of the glad wrap, and try and get it into a longish log if you can.  Now fold over the glad wrap and roll it into a cylinder, twirling or tying the ends of the glad wrap to make sure it keeps the shape.  No sticky stuff on your hands and a perfect cylinder!  Once you’ve made all your bits, and wrapped them – put them in the fridge. The batch I made yesterday are perfect.

I’m going to unwrap mine and rewrap them in some fresh glad wrap, and then wrap them in cellophane to pretty them up for gifts – as well as a batch for the Christmas Fete at kinder.

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2012 in Recipes, Sweet Things

 

Olive Bread

I am so glad I tried this – it’s the loveliest bread I’ve had in ages.  It is so soft, yet the outside is firm, and the olives in it are really good – not too olivey, but enough to make it different.  It is so quick to make, hardly makes a mess thanks to the thermomat, and looks really impressive.  It would be great to pull out of the oven when friends come over for a barbecue, but don’t prepare too much other stuff, as everyone will eat themselves stupid with this bread – it really is that good!

Want the recipe?  Check the recipe tab!

This recipe comes from Nicolas Poelaert who is the chef at Embrasse in Melbourne. I’ve never been, but now I’ve tasted this – I want to!!

The best thing about this recipe is that you would certainly have all the ingredients in your cupboard. I always have a jar or two of olives in the fridge, and I used kalamata olives for this recipe.  They worked well, but the resulting bread was just a little too salty for mine – so I might drop back slightly the 20 grams of salt next time. Maybe try 15 grams or so.  I would much prefer salty bread to unsalted bread though.

I did find the dough quite sticky, and I think it might be the wetness of the olives.  So next time, I’ll add maybe 520 grams of flour, plus have some more on hand to dust. It’s the first time I’ve ever had really sticky dough from the thermomix, so don’t be too worried if yours is the same.  Just throw some more flour into the dough when you tip it out of the bowl.  You don’t have to cut the olives, just make sure they are pitted and then kneading action of the thermomix will cut the olives down into nice little bits without you having to do anything. I used the baker’s flour, as specified in the recipe, so make sure you use the right flour – it does make a huge difference to the outcome.

Which reminds me – everyone knows the trick to getting dough out of the thermomix, don’t they?  Invert the TM bowl, and twist the cog in the middle to rotate the blades – and most of your dough will come out in one fell swoop.  Any stubborn little bits can be ‘turbo-d’ off the side, and use another piece of dough to pick up the little bits.  When you’re washing the TM bowl, use the brush and only use cold water to wash until all the dough is out – it makes it so much easier.

If you don’t have a  thermometer something similar, this is why you need one!!  Not only is my thermomat my saviour at play dough time (and the Thermomix makes fantastic play dough), it’s perfect to use when proving dough, and to cook the dough.  With this recipe, you shape the bread, let it prove in a very very very low oven for`45 minutes and then cook it – see the recipe for details, all on the thermomat.  Nothing could be easier, and less messy.

I dud more than the seven balls of dough, and did one large one in the middle, and put several around the outside, just like a flower and petals.  You could do rolls all the same size, or vary them, like I did.  I guess you’re only limited by your imagination as to what designs you can come up with.  Before you put it in the oven to prove, sprinkle it with a little flour.  Mine took just on 15 minutes to cook, but keep an eye on it, depending on your oven.

I have made bread before in the thermomix, but as we don’t go through a lot of it at our house, it has never been at the top of my list for things to make.  I can see myself making this bread lots – Master Three has just downed two of the little rolls (and that after his lunch!!) and I’ve had one or two myself.

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2012 in Bakes, Recipes

 

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Recipe – Olive Bread

Time: 1 hour 20 minutes (includes proving).  Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

300 grams of lukewarm water

25 grams of fresh yeast, or 1 sachet of dried yeast

500 grams of baker’s flour, plus extra for dusting

20 grams of olive oil

80 grams of black olives, pitted

20 grams salt

Preheat the oven to 35 degrees/Gas Mark pilot light and place a cup of water on the bottom of the oven to keep the air moist.

Put the lukewarm water in the TM bowl, along with the yeast.  Mix it for 1 minute/speed 2

Add the flour, oil, olives, and salt.  Knead for 2 minutes/Interval speed

Turn the dough out onto a silicon mat or floured bench.  Divide it into 7 balls.  Place one ball in the centre of the silicon mat or floured baking tray and arrange the other six balls around it, like petals on a flower.  Dust with flour.

Put the dough in the warm oven for 45 minutes, during which time it will rise.  After 45 minutes turn the temperature up to 240 degrees/Gas Mark 9.  The bread will be ready after 15-20 minutes.  Check that it is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.
Variation

Leave out the olives to make perfect burger buns.

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2012 in Bakes, Recipes

 

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Recipe – Spelt Pizza

Recipe by Jo Whitton

Time:  1 hour, plus at least 2 hours dough rising

Makes 4 large (and very satisfying) pizzas

Dough

250 grams spelt grain

750 grams plain unbleached spelt flour, plus extra for dusting

20 grams fresh yeast, or 2 sachets of dried yeast

20 grams salt

750 grams lukewarm water

Olive oil, to brush bases

Place the spelt grain into the TM Bowl and mill for 1 minute/speed 9.  Add the flour, yeast, salt and water.  Mix on speed 4 and a half until it is all mixed in, using the spatula to help it along if necessary.  Scrape the wet, sticky dough into a large plastic container and cover.

Allow the mixture to use for at least 2 hours or up to 5.  The dough will rise quite high, then flop down – don’t worry.  (I sometimes leave mint to rise overnight then place it in the fridge in the morning ready for the evening’s pizza)

When ready to cook, sprinkle the dough with a little flour and gran grapefruit sized chunks to form into balls.  Cover the balls with flour and gently stretch the surface of each one, pulling it to the base to gradually form smooth balls.  Place each ball of dough on a floured bench or baking paper.

If the dough has come straight from the fridge, rest it uncovered for about 20 minutes or until the balls reach room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees/Gas Mark 9

Place each dough ball on a greased tray, sheet of baking paper or dusted pizza stone and press the dough into circles about 5mm thick.  Brush the pizza bases with olive oil and place in the oven for 5 minutes to pre-bake.

Topping

500 grams lamb, cubed

Handful parsley

2 cloves of garlic, peeled

1/2 an onion

chilli, to taste (optional)

A handful of rocket

125ml Greek Yoghurt

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Place the cubed lamb into the freezer for about 20 minutes.

Place the parsley, garlic, onion and chilli (if using) in the TM bowl.  Chop for 2 seconds/speed 6.  Add the cubed and slightly frozen lamb.  Mince for 10 seconds/Reverse/speed 6

Remove the pizza base from the oven and spread with the topping.

Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through and nicely browned.  Remove from oven and slice.  Add the rocket and yoghurt, then drizzle with lemon juice to serve.

Variation

For a dairy free version, Jo suggests leaving out the yoghurt and adding semi dried tomatoes, sliced olives and “Poor Man’s Parmesan”.  To make Poor Man’s Parmesan, tear up a few slices of stale sourdough bread, and place in the TM bowl with 60 grams of olive oil, 4 anchovy fillets and a handful of parsley.  Mix for 10 seconds/speed 7, or until crumbs have formed.  Sprinkle over pizza.  (Poor Man’s Parmesan can also be browned and crisped in the TM by cooking for 5 minutes/100 degrees/speed 1 then sprinkled over salads or grilled meats)

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2012 in Bakes, Recipes

 

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Spelt Pizza

We have a family tradition of going to our local pizza place every Friday night.  Master Three has a huge crush on one of the waitresses, and has made friends with one of the Pizza Makers, so it’s a ritual I think we’ll have to keep to for a while.  He just has to go and see the “Little Princess” every week – he runs up to her and gives her a huge hug and a kiss – he clearly has a thing for older women!  Master Three usually has the smoked salmon pizza, so I figure there’s not too much wrong with that once a week.  This week, we had the neighbours in for drinks and I decided I wanted to give the Spelt Pizza a go – the kids could eat it, the adults could eat it – and it’s easy – super easy to make.

This is one of Jo Whitton’s recipes from her allergy-friendly food blog at quirkycooking.blogspot.com  Jo’s blog focuses on tweaking everyday recipes and making them healthier and more interesting.

I’d never cooked with spelt before, but I was at the Health Food Shop a few days before and saw the grain and the flour available, so I bought what I needed and took it home.  The spelt dough needs at least 2 hours (and up to 6 if you want) to prove, so it’s a good recipe to make if you have an afternoon at home, and the heater is on – especially with this cold, cold winter we are having.  I made the entire recipe as suggested in the book, but there would be absolutely nothing stopping you putting on any topping of your choice, so long as you adjusted the pre-cooking time, and cooking time to suit your toppings.

The spelt dough is quite sticky, but don’t be put off.  As I mentioned earlier, it does take a long time to prove, so make sure you have the time.  I made the dough straight after lunch, let it rise for a few hours, then rolled it out into 4 good sized pizzas – I did a couple of big circles, and a couple of oblongs for good measure. The recipe did say to prove it in a plastic bowl, but I must have skipped over that bit – and I used a ceramic bowl – but there were no ill effects. When I initially took the tea towel off the top, my heart sunk as I thought it was going to be a nightmare to get out of the bowl, and thought I should have oiled the bowl first – but it was fine. Just make sure you put it in a BIG bowl, as it rises quite a bit, and makes a lot of dough.

You will need a bit of extra flour to make the dough a little less sticky when you roll it out – so make sure you have some on hand.  Master 3 had the time of his life helping me roll the dough out – I’m so glad I bought him an apron recently…he really got into it!!

I made the lamb mix for the topping, which is also very quick and easy to make.  I used a home grown chilli, which made a huge improvement to the overall flavour, and next time I think I’ll go down a more middle eastern path and use some more spices, sumac, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and maybe even add in some pine nuts or use a chilli pesto to spread as a base for the lamb mixture.

I brushed the bases before I pre-cooked them with left over curry oil from the Cauliflower Sausages, and it was terrific.  It was mellow curry flavour and I’m sure it contributed to the overall success of the dish.   I think I overcooked the bases and lamb a little, so do watch it when it’s in the oven.

One thing I didn’t expect – this pizza is really, really satisfying.  A few small pieces and you feel quite full.  It must be the spelt grain – no wonder it’s so acclaimed.

I’m a bit torn about this dish – the pizza base was great.  I loved the taste of the lamb, but I did think there needed to be more of it, and that it would have been greater still with some flavours other than the lamb, yoghurt, rocket and lemon juice.

I’ll definitely do the bases again and play around with the flavourings to see what I come up with.

Want the recipe I used?  Check the recipe tab!!

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2012 in Bakes, Recipes

 

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Breakfast Baskets

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Yum, yum, yum – what a great, neat and tidy breakfast.  No bacon fat to clear up, no greasy frying pan to wash, and they are delicious to boot.  I wish I had thought of this recipe!

I had some prosciutto in the fridge that was begging to be used, so I decided to make these yesterday morning.  They are soooo simple to make and look quite impressive, I’d recommend serving them in their ramekins and people can tip them out if they want to – I ate mine from the ramekin and it was fine. The one I tipped out looked quite messy. I served them with toast, but next time I do them I’ll slow roast some roma tomatoes and sprinkle them with oregano and basil.  I think they’d go together beautifully. I thought about making Hollandaise Sauce as well, but my jeans are already getting tight!

I sent a certain someone down to the supermarket last night to get the pure cream, and they returned empty handed…well, not quite as they picked up creme fraiche and the Philadelphia cooking cream as apparently pure cream was nowhere to be seen. Funnily enough, there it was this morning in the supermarket…lots of it!! Anyway, I used the Philadephia cooking cream as it had less fat. It was ok and certainly tasted good, but there was a bit of water in the bottom of the ramekins and this might have been caused by the cooking cream.  I’d squeezed out the spinach pretty well, so I don’t think that was the culprit.

Dani has done the recipe for 10 breakfast baskets at once, but I just did the three, and scaled down the quantities.  I put them on the bottom tray of the varoma and propped them up with egg rings again.  Dani didn’t mention propping them up in her recipe, so I’m not sure if I did the right thing… I cooked them for the length of time for soft and they were definitely on the hard side.  So if you’re doing them, keep an eye on them if you want them to be soft and runny in the middle.

You might also want to not be so generous with the salt when you add it, as the prosciutto makes this a pretty salty dish without adding any extra.  I’m a salt fiend and it was fine for me, but other people might find it a little overpowering.

These would be great to cook if you were expecting large numbers of people for a breakfast or a brunch.  They could be prepared earlier and then stuck in the varoma for cooking just before serving.  Just make sure all your ramekins will fit in the varoma at once, and make sure the steam can get through.

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2012 in Recipes

 

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