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Laws of the Kitchen

Updated: 2018-02-22T22:49:08.320+11:00


TWD - Sebastian's Remarkably Wonderful Brownies


This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe ought to be a hit for chocolate lovers - Sebastian's Remarkably Wonderful Brownies. 

These brownies get their chocolate hit entirely from cocoa.  Dorie described them as creamy, but that is not quite how I'd describe them.  They are crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, but they are not gooey, fudgy style brownies.  

I liked these well enough, but it is not my favourite brownie recipe.  I like mine a little more on the fudgy side and I am partial to walnuts in my brownies. But that's just me - everyone at work, my boyfriend and my Pilates instructor loved them. "Not too sweet" and "I like the crackly top" were just some of the comments.

To see what the other Dorie bakers made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website

Tomato Salad with Basil and Capers - Red Tractor January


I have been a little busy lately, so I haven't been able to visit this blog other than to keep up with Tuesdays with Dorie.  However, I have decided that today I am going to take time out to blog about Red Tractor's January recipe.  Yep, I liked the Red Tractor calendar so much last year that I bought another one this year.The words of wisdom for January were: I am not someone who gets lost in gardening, but I know lots of people who do, so I understand the sentiment.  And who wouldn't love fresh produce that they grew themselves?  My harvest is limited to a few herbs from the balcony, but that is all I need.Now to the recipe.  It is for a tomato salad with basil and capers.  It is simple, but very tasty, and perfect when you have ripe fresh tomatoes around.  It is also bright and colourful, which is always pleasant when you are hungry and need cheering up at the end of a long day.To make the Red Tractor tomato salad, you will need:450g cherry tomatoes 2 tomatoes, thickly sliced1/2 red onion, thinly sliced2 tbs olive oil2 tbs balsamic vinegar1 tsp sugar100g buffalo mozzarella, drained1/2 cup basil leaves2 tsp capers, rinsedHalve the cherry tomatoes and place in a large bowl.  Add the tomato slices, onion, oil, vinegar and sugar.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.Set aside for 10 minutes.Arrange the tomato slices on a serving platter then top with the remaining tomato mixture, reserving the bowl juices.Tear the mozzarella into pieces and arrange on top of the salad.  Drizzle over the reserved juices, and scatter with basil leaves and capers.[...]

TWD - Cheesecake Alsace Style


This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Cheesecake Alsace Style.  The fascinating thing about this cheesecake is that it does not contain any cheese - the filling is made with yoghurt and cream.

This cheesecake is featherlight in both the filling and base.  You could eat a number of slices and not even notice.  And better still, it is delicious.  The dark top is normally something that would turn me off a cheesecake, but it is not a negative here at all. 

There are sultanas soaked in booze in this cheesecake, although you could leave them out if you have an aversion to such things.  I soaked my sultanas in Cointreau, somehow being wilfully blind to the fact that the recipe actually said Cognac or rum.

This cheesecake was absolutely perfect and I would happily make it again.

To see what the other Dorie bakers made this week, visit the LYL section of the TWD website

TWD - Bees Sneeze Nuggets


I have just moved house, so baking for Tuesday with Dorie (and posting this blog post) have posed some serious issues for me this week.  However, where there's a will, there's a way, and I have managed to bake and blog about these Bees Sneeze Nuggets.

Bees Sneeze Nuggets are named after a cocktail that Dorie had in New York, and the flavours of that cocktail (gin, lemon, honey, ginger, pepper) are incorporated into these little savoury cookies.  They look like scones, but they really are biscuits (or cookies, depending on where you come from).  These nuggets have the honour of christening my (new to me) oven.

I was rather sceptical, but these are very tasty.  They are only tiny (an inch wide), but as Dorie says, the flavours pack a punch.  I liked them - they tasted kind of like a throat lozenge in cookie form, which doesn't sound good, but it is.

To see what the other Dorie bakers made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website

TWD Rewind - Chunkers


For the TWD rewind this month, I have made Chunkers.  Both the name and the appearance of these cookies are a little unfortunate, but the taste is not - oh so good.

Chunkers are fat chocolate cookies packed with cashews, chocolate and dried cherries (or in my case, glace cherries).  I only made a half batch and still got 18 cookies. There is 600g of chocolate in a whole batch so you can understand why I only made half.  (Not to mention that cashews are very expensive here - ouch.)

Biting into these cookies was a lovely experience - chewy outside, soft centre with ooey gooey chocolate pieces inside.  Yum!

To see what the others made for the rewind, visit the LYL section of the Tuesdays with Dorie website.

TWD - Crunchy Granola


Today's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Crunchy Granola. I never understood the difference between granola and muesli until now. Granola is a toasted muesli with plenty of sweeteners added, so it's not something to be overindulged in. However, as a now and then brekky, it's fine, and it has lots of good stuff in there.

I substituted sunflower seeds with flax seeds (because that is what I had), and slivered almonds with whole chopped almonds. For the fruit, I used apricots, sultanas and goji berries because that is what I had. I also only made a half batch so I wasn't swimming in granola.

The granola smelled devine as it cooked. It is one of those smells you could gladly sniff all day.

To see what the others made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Mango Ripple and White Chocolate Cheescake


The taste of summer for me is all of the wonderful summer fruit that you can get at this time of year.  King among the summer fruits is the mango.  Its sweet, juicy goodness and endlessly appealing.  As well as eating a mango straight up as God intended, you can use the flesh in both sweet and savoury dishes. The November 2017 edition of Coles magazine had a recipe on p54 for Mango Ripple and White Chocolate Cheesecake.  It looked and sounded amazing, so how could I refuse?I wasn't disappointed by the results.  The cheesecake was a little labour intensive with pureeing and straining of the mango flesh to create the mango ripple, and several stages in a food processor, but I was very happy with the end product.If you like your cheesecake sweet, then this could be for you.  To make it, you will need:300g plain sweet biscuits100g melted butter2 ripe mangoes, peeled and stoned500g softened cream cheese120g sour cream110g sugar2 eggs200g white chocolate, meltedPreheat your oven to 150 degrees Celsius.  Grease and line a 20cm round springform tin.Blitz the biscuits in a food processor into fine crumbs.  Add the melted butter and process until well combined.  Press the crumbs into the base and up the sides of the springform tin.  Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.Put the mango flesh into a food processor and process until smooth then strain the puree through a fine sieve.  Set aside.  Put the cream cheese, sour cream and sugar into a food processor and blitz until smooth.  Add the eggs and blitz until well combined.  Add the chocolate and blitz until smooth.  Add half the mango puree and process until smooth.Pour half f the cream cheese mixture over the chilled biscuit base and smooth the top.  Drizzle half of the remaining mango puree over the top and marble the mixture using a knife blade.  Repeat with the remaining cream cheese and mango puree.  Put the springform pan on an oven tray and bake for an hour or until set.  Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven for an hour with the door ajar.Put the cheesecake in the fridge for three hours to chill.Serve and enjoy!  [...]

TWD - Cabin Fever Caramel Banana Bars


This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Cabin Fever Caramel Banana Bars, so named because Dorie dreamed them up when she was going stir-crazy, shut inside after a second blizzard in Connecticut.  I have never experienced and hope never to experience a blizzard, but I can imagine how awful it would be.  I am glad it inspired creativity in Dorie.

These bars are like a banana cake laced with peanuts and topped with peanuts and more chocolate.  I wouldn't say that there was anything caramel about them other than that they contain brown sugar.

The result is rather delicious - sweet crunchy chocolate and crunchy salted peanuts atop a soft, peanutty banana cake base.  I'd make these again.

To see what the other Dorie bakers made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Banana Apple and Blueberry Loaf


Coming back from Christmas holidays, I wanted to use up some leftover fruit that I had in the house. As part of my magazine cull, I found a recipe for Banana Apple and Blueberry Loaf from p38 of an edition of Delicious magazine (it doesn't have the year, so I can't tell you when it's from).  When I searched for the recipe online, I found that it was by Shannon Bennett of Vue de Monde fame.  That would explain the certain fussiness factor to making this cake.  I was making it at night after work, so I wasn't necessarily excited by all the steps, but it certainly made for a lovely cake which used up 2 frozen bananas, 2 leathery apples and some aging frozen blueberries that were taking up real estate in my house.As you can see, the cake is lovely inside, and so moist.  I liked it a lot.Now comes the confession - I messed around with the recipe a little to suit myself.  My version of the ingredients is as follows:1 teaspoon  vanilla extract225g butter, softened1 cup white sugar2 ripe mashed bananas3 eggs2 apples, 1 grated and 1 thinly sliced125g crushed blueberries½ cup wholemeal flour¾ cup plain flour1¾ cup almond meal1 teaspoon cinnamon½ teaspoon ginger½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda½ teaspoon baking powder¼ cup skim milk¼ cup honeyI also adapted the method a little, as follows:Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease a 24 x 12cm loaf tin.In a stand mixer, beat the vanilla, 200g butter and sugar until creamy and light. Add the banana and eggs, one at a time. On low, add the ginger, cinnamon, grated apple, blueberries, flours, almond meal, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and milk to the mixer bowl. Beat until well combined.Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin. Put the remaining 25g of butter and honey in a frypan over medium heat. Add apple slices. Cook 3-4 minutes, turning, until caramelised. Place on top of the loaf.Bake in the pre-heated oven for 1 hour 15 minutes or until cooked through.Slice and serve![...]

TWD - Real Hot Chocolate


I am scraping in by an hour and half to this week's Tuesday with Dorie to unveil Real Hot Chocolate.

The recipe served two.  I quartered the recipe, as a whole serve contained 50g of melted chocolate - that's a whole chocolate bar's worth!

This is a really simply recipe - melted chocolate, milk, sugar, salt, water, and that's all.  For such a simple recipe, it used an incredible amount of dishes - a saucepan, a bowl to melt the chocolate, a heatproof jug, a serving glass, a whisk, 2 spoons and a stick blender.

This drink was incredibly rich - a little too rich for my taste.  I like to eat my chocolate rather than drink it. However, it was fun to try.

To see what the others made this week, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Ottolenghi's Banana Walnut Cake


Just before Christmas, I baked this banana walnut cake from Ottolenghi's Sweet cookbook.  It was meant to be baked as several small loaves, but I made it as one big cake instead.

The resulting cake was pretty flat because I obviously used a tin  that was too big - a hazard when you don't use the tin specified in the recipe.

The end product was quite dense and closer to a US "bread" than a traditional cake but was very tasty. It definitely benefitted from some butter on top to serve though as it added a bit of moisture.

I won't share the recipe as Ottolenghi has been quite generous in sharing various recipes from Sweet, and this isn't one of them. If you like baking, I would urge you to buy the book - it's a good one, with a large number of recipes that are different to what you will find in a standard baking time. If you need convincing, just search for the recipes from Sweet that have been posted online in various newspaper promotional articles - you will be pleasantly surprised.

Beef and Broccolini Noodle Stir Fry


My magazine cull yielded many recipe treasures, which I am now storing in a large box.  Some of the recipes are for baking (of course!), others are for special occasions, while others are for day to day use.One of the day to day recipes that I found was a terrific low fat Beef and Broccolini Noodle Stir Fry from p86 of the February 2009 edition of Delicious magazine.This recipe is simple, quick and tasty - perfect for a weeknight meal.To make this stir fry, you will need:400g fresh egg noodles1/3 cup soy sauce1/3 cup oyster sauce2 tablespoons tomato sauce2 crushed garlic cloves1 tablespoon grated ginger2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar2 bunches broccolini, trimmed1 tablespoon oil400g lean beef mince4 spring onions, slicedsesame seeds to serveMix the sauces with the garlic, ginger and vinegar in a small bowl.Cook broccolini in boiling salted water until bright green and slightly crisp.  Drain and set aside.Heat the oil in a wok add the beef and stir fry for 2-3 minutes until browned and cooked through.  Add the noodles, sauce, broccolini and spring onions and stir fry for 1 minute or until heated through.Sprinkle the stir fry with sesame seeds and extra spring onions, if desired.[...]

Happy New Year!


Happy New Year!!

These photos are not from New Year celebrations. but from the Paul McCartney concert in December.  The fireworks accompanied Live and Let Die, and were very dramatic.  However, I thought that they were very celebratory and New Year appropriate.

Above is Paul himself, on the big screen at AAMI Stadium in Melbourne.

And some more fireworks to bring in the New Year!!

Thomasina Miers' Pumpkin Spice Cake with Ginger Icing


Another gem of a recipe that I recently found in The Guardian was Thomasina Miers' Roast Pumpkin, Olive Oil and Nutmeg Cake with Ginger Icing.  I just loved the sound of this cake, and I already had some of the ingredients, including the  pumpkin.Of course, I didn't make the recipe exactly as written.  Instead of roasting my pumpkin, I boiled it - the weather was too warm for me to want to put the oven on for the extra time to roast the pumpkin.  Also, since I tidied out my pantry cupboard, I cannot find my nutmeg.  This is why I have changed the name of the cake to just Pumpkin Spice Cake.I think it turned out nicely - here's a peek inside the halved cake:The ginger buttercream was a revelation - so tasty that I would make it again for other applications.And the finished cake - it was devine:Tempted?  To make this cake (with my modifications), you will need:300g mashed pumpkin300g plain flour½ teaspoon salt1 teaspoon baking powder1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda2 teaspoons ground cinnamon2 teaspoons ground ginger1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (if you find it!)3 eggs125g brown sugar175g white sugar100ml buttermilk (or a tablespoon of lemon juice used to sour 100ml milk) 150ml olive oil1 teaspoon vanilla extract For the icing:150g softened butter100g cream cheese1 x 3cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled280g icing sugarPreheat your oven to 180C and grease and line an 8" round springform pan. Sift the flour, salt, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and spices into a large mixing bowl. Break the eggs into a small bowl and beat lightly with a fork.Put the pumpkin puree, eggs, olive oil and vanilla into a food processor and blitz. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the pumpkin mixture, and quickly fold together. Pour the cake batter into the prepared springform pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until cooked through. Remove the cake from the oven and cool in the tin for 10 minutes before unmoulding it onto a wire rack to cool completely.To make the icing, beat the butter for five minutes in a stand mixer until pale and creamy. Chop the cream cheese into cubes then beat it into the butter until smooth. Finely grate the ginger and beat it into the icing.  Add one third of the icing sugar to the mixture and beat in, then repeat with the remaining icing sugar in two lots.  Place the icing in the fridge to set.  Cut the cooled cake in half, and spread the bottom half with half the icing.  Place the other half of the cake on top,  then spread the remaining icing on the cake however you please to decorate. Slice the cake and enjoy![...]

Tuna with spaghetti, peas and borlotti beans


I am very proud of me.  I recently commenced on the seemingly insurmountable task of weeding out my cooking magazines, which  had started to take over my apartment.  I started this mammoth task with a set of about 10 magazines that were still in their plastic  and had lived under the bed three apartments ago ands been lugged around ever since.  I opened the mint condition plastic around those magazines and went through them one by one, tearing out recipes I might make and discarding the rest.I have since done the same with the mountains of food magazines perched on furniture in my spare room.  I have gone though nearly five years worth of food magazines.  Now all that is left are the more fortunate magazines that found a place in my bookshelves.One of the recipes that I tore from that first batch of magazines was a recipe for Spaghetti with Tuna, Peas and Borlotti Beans, on p 88 of the February 2009 edition of Delicious magazine.  I am forever searching for work lunch dishes - I need something hearty and filling, and I get bored easily.  This dish exceeded my expectations.  Spaghetti with borlotti beans sounded - well weird.  However, the combination of ingredients was really flavourful, and the beans make it a really filling dish.  I made it even heartier by using wholemeal pasta.To make this dish, you will need:2 tablespoons olive oil1 finely chopped onion3 finely chopped cloves garlic1/3 cup tomato pastepinch of dried chilli flakes4 tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and chopped400g borlotti beans, rinsed and drained400g can tuna in springwater,  drained and flaked1 cup thawed frozen peas (I used frozen mixed vegetables)400g spaghetti (I used 250g - heaps!!)Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook for 1-2 minutes until soft.  Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute, stirring from time to time.  Add the chilli flakes, fresh tomato, borlotti beans and 1 cup water, then bring the mixture to a simmer.   Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until the sauce has thickened, stirring from time to time.Stir in the tuna and the peas/vegetables, and cook for around 3 minutes or until the vegetables soften.While the sauce is simmering, cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions.  Serve the spaghetti topped with the sauce and ton basil leaves (if desired).[...]

TWD - Cocoa Linzer Cookies


Happy Boxing Day!  I hope that you had a wonderful Christmas Day.

Being Tuesday, our last Tuesdays with Dorie recipe for 2017 is Cocoa Linzer Cookies.  Dorie adds cocoa and chocolate to the traditional Linzer cookie to create a new treat.

I made a few tweaks to the recipe to match the ingredients I had in the house.  Almonds were replaced by hazelnuts; raspberry jam was replaced with strawberry jam.  I also just plain forgot to dust the finished cookies with "snow" (icing sugar).

While these cookies tasted good, I think I like the traditional Linzer cookie better.  I found that the chocolate flavour in these took away some of the sweetness without adding richness.

However, these cookies looked the part, and someone at work told me that they thought I had bought them. 

To see what the other Dorie bakers made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Merry Christmas from Melbourne!


Collins Place 101 Collins St 833 Collins St Brunettis, Flinders LaneBrunettis, Flinders Lane Collins Square Federation SquareThe Skinny Dog, Kew[...]

Spiced Christmas Nuts


The last item in my Christmas treat boxes was Spiced Christmas Nuts.  I made these as a contrast to the sweet items.  I used a Julie Goodwin recipe which seemed to have the right amount of kick, but not too much.These nuts are very easy to make, which persuaded me to go ahead even when I thought I couldn't be bothered making anything else.  They are very moorish, so if you are giving them away, you will have to try hard not to snack on them.For these nuts, you will need:1/2 cup white sugar1 teaspoon smoked paprika 1 teaspoon salt1/2 teaspoon black pepper1/2 teaspoon ground chilli1/2 teaspoon cinnamon2 egg whites50og unsalted mixed nutsPreheat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius.  Line a baking tray with baking paper or a silicone mat.  Put the sugar, paprika, salt, pepper, chilli and cinnamon in a bowl.  In another bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy.  Add the nuts to the egg whites and toss to coat.  In small handfuls, coat the nuts in the spices.Place the nuts on the lined baking tray and bake for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray.Here are the boxes that I used for my Christmas treats this year:I also added Soft Salted-Butter Caramels from Tuesdays with Dorie to the boxes.  Some people also received peach jam:I wish you and your families and friends a wonderful festive season.[...]

Hazelnut strawberry macaroons (Haselnussmakronen)


My second cookie recipe in my Christmas treat boxes is Luisa Weiss's Hazelnut Raspberry Macaroons - or, in my case, Hazelnut Strawberry Macaroons.  The recipe again was in The Guardian.  They are the perfect colours for the season, in red and white.These cookies, like the Cinnamon Almond Stars, are gluten free and dairy free, so they are perfect for people who are intolerant of or just want to avoid either gluten or dairy or both.The hazelnut macaroons are much simpler to make than the Cinnamon Almond Stars, with no cutter required and no fiddly meringue topping to apply.  If you are looking for bang for your time buck, these cookies are the money pick.  Just be aware that they don't travel as well as the Cinnamon Almond Stars because the jam stays sticky. (I wrapped these in Glad Wrap to ensure that they didn't coat everything else in the treat box in jam.)I saved even more time by buying roasted skinned hazelnuts.  Hazelnuts can be a pain to skin so I was happy not to have to do it.If you love a festive looking, totally delicious cookie that is easy to make, these are the ones to make.  To bake them, you will need:230-290g hazelnuts, roasted and skinned 2 egg whites ¼ teaspoon salt 150g white sugar 150g red jamPreheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius and line two baking trays with silicone mats or baking paper.Grind the nuts in a food processor into a fine meal..Whip the egg whites and salt in a mixing bowl until frothy, then gradually add the sugar to the bowl, beating until soft peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold in all but ¼ cup of the ground hazelnuts. Add some or all of the remaining ground hazelnuts only if needed to make a thick mixture that keeps its shape when dolloped onto a tray.Place heaped teaspoons of cookie mixture onto the baking trays, leaving around an inch between them. Bake in the oven, one tray at a time, for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and immediately press a hollow or "thumbprint" into the middle of each cookie with the back of a teaspoon. Cool on a wire rack, while repeating with the second tray of cookies.While the cookies are still warm, heat the jam in a microwave until liquefied. Spoon a small amount of liquefied jam into the hollow of each cookie. Allow the jam to set and the cookies to cool completely.[...]

TWD - Chocolate Salami


This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Chocolate Salami.  Sounds weird, yeah?  It's not actually salami but rather a candy-like concoction containing sugar eggs, cocoa, biscuit pieces, dried apricots and pistachios.  It gets its name solely from its appearance.

The chocolate salami looks pretty, but is very rich and does not maintain its shape well out of the fridge for too long.  It was OK, but not something I'd make again.

To see what the others thought of their recipe this week, visit the LYL section of the TWD website

Fig, Apricot and Pistachio Fruit Cakes


My second Christmas box treat this year was Fig, Apricot and Pistachio Fruit Cakes.  The recipe for these individual fruit cakes came from page 98 of the November 2017 Coles magazine.The recipe made 4 mini loaves.  Instead, I made 18 cupcake sized cakes.The recipe was not originally gluten-free, but I made it so by substituting the flour with a commercial gluten-free flour mix.I really loved this recipe.  With 18 cakes, there was one spare for me to try.  It was so lovely - unlike a traditional fruit cake, it was not at all heavy, and was satisfyingly fruity and nutty.  The marmalade glaze also added a beautiful shine and colour, and a contrasting tart flavour.  Convinced to make these?  The recipe is as follows:160g mixed dried fruit (I just used commercial fruit cake mix)190g dried figs, coarsely chopped150g dried apricots, coarsely chopped105g pistachios, chopped60ml Cointreau85g orange marmalade250g butter220g sugar1 teaspoon finely grated orange rind (I omitted this) 4 eggs150g plain flour150 self-raising flour1 teaspoon ground cinnamonextra orange marmalade to glaze the cakesPut all of the dried fruit, pistachios, marmalade and Cointreau in a large non-metal bowl, and stir to combine.  Allow to soak for 1 hour.Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line muffin trays with papers (I ended up with 18).Cream the butter, sugar and orange rind in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition.Add the flours, cinnamon and fruit to the bowl and fold in with a rubber spatula.Divide the cake batter evenly between the muffin cases using an icecream scoop.  Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until cooked through and golden on top.Microwave about a quarter of a cup of marmalade for 20 seconds or so to loosen.  Brush the tops of the hot cakes with the marmalade to glaze.  Cool completely in the pans.[...]

Roasted Honey Mustard Vegetables - Red Tractor December


Wow, we have reached the end of the year, and it's time for the Red Tractor calendar December recipe.  Fittingly for those having a traditional Christmas lunch or dinner, the recipe is Roasted Honey Mustard Vegetables.

There is no quote this month - just lots of summertime Australiana:

These vegetables are mainly root vegetables, roasted until soft and then drizzled with a honey mustard dressing.  I am not much of a parsnip fan, as I find them woody and bland, but the rest of the veges were good.

I won't give you the exact vegetable blend suggested - you can roast what you like.  The honey mustard dressing recipe is as follows:

125g butter
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard
2 tablespoons soy sauce
freshly grated ginger to taste

Mix everything together, pour over the roasted vegetables, and bake for a further 10 minutes.


Cinnamon-almond meringue stars (Zimtsterne)


Christmas is not far away now.  A lot of people in my workplace finish up today to commence their Christmas holidays, and for those of us who are still working, things seem jollier and lighter.Long-time readers will know that every year, I make Christmas treat boxes for colleagues and friends, stealing the idea from some American bloggers that I read back in the early days of my blog (can you believe it, 10 years ago!).  Half the fun is deciding what to put in the treat boxes from the myriad choices that I could make.  This year I did not spend a lazy afternoon planning what to put in the treat boxes, as life has seemed very fast this year.  I just randomly noted recipes of interest in my head as I saw them, and when the time came to actually make the treats, I seized on the top few recipes plus a Dorie Greenspan recipe that  I had to make for Tuesdays with Dorie, and lo, I had my treat boxes.  I belatedly added in a savoury item, as I had selected all sweets with no savoury, and I know that most people like a little of both.  The other interesting thing this year is that a few items that have been staples  in the past did not appear in the treat boxes.  There was no traditional style Christmas cake, no plum pudding, no rum balls and no apricot balls.  There has been a lot of change in my life in the last 18 months, not all of it by choice, so I feel that in an unconscious way, my treat box choices reflected that.On my mother's side of the family, I am of staunchly German heritage, with both sets of great grandparents being German immigrants to Australia in the late 1800s.  I can't imagine how they might have felt, taking a very long journey on a ship half way across the world, to a place sight unseen with a climate dramatically different to what they were used to.  Today, travel is faster and safer, and there is a wealth of information about other countries, so we have so many advantages over my ancestors.Despite only possessing some rudimentary German vocabulary learnt in Grade 8 German and having only visited Germany once on an Insights tour, I enjoy exploring my German heritage through baking.    When Luisa Weiss published some recipes for German Christmas cookies in The Guardian, they went "straight to the pool room" of recipes for my treat boxes. The beauty of the majority of these recipes is that they are gluten free - I had three gluten-free people to make for this year, so as a result, everyone received gluten free goodies.First up, I made Luisa's recipe for cinnamon-almond meringue stars.  I foolishly did not study the recipe in advance, and airily believed that the snowy white tops on these cookies were white icing.  After all, the recipe contained icing sugar, didn't it?  Nope, wrong.  The snowy white top of these cookies is meringue that is painstakingly coaxed over the top of the star-shaped cookies to cover them in a pristine white blanket.  Other things to note abut making these cookies is that the dough is very, very sticky and unco-operative, so do take Luisa's tip about dipping the cutter in water to stop it from sticking - and keep the dough cold!  Also note that once the cookies are formed, you need 12-24 hours to dry them before baking - they only bake for 3-4 minutes.  I only dried mine for about half that time and they turned out fine (I am in Australia in summer where things dry quicker than in wintery E[...]

TWD - Soft Salted-Butter Caramels


This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is Soft Salted-Butter Caramels.  These caramels were easy to make and delicious.  However, "soft" is not a word that I would use to describe my version of them.  They ended up being a firm caramel, kind of like the centre of a Fantale.  They were in fact so hard that when they fell on the floor (oh yes, I had fun cutting these), they shattered in half. 

Dorie said that she rolled her caramels into logs.  This was not a possibility with my caramels.  However, despite their firmness, they still had some degree of flexibility - enough that they bent if left over the edge of the cutting board for too long, and could be straightened out.

I was pleased with these caramels and would make them again if I felt inclined to make sweets.

To see what everyone else thought of their Dorie recipe this week, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.  

Ottolenghi's winter spiced cheesecake with marmalade glaze


In The Guardian recently, I spied an interesting sounding recipe for Winter Spiced Cheesecake with Marmalade Glaze by Yotam Ottolenghi.  The cheesecake was interesting because it contains sweet potato; yep, you read it correctly, sweet potato.Being a sucker for anything a little unusual, of course I tried it:As you can see, these cheesecake is a glorious orange colour, and the base has a wonderful earthiness about it from the toasted almonds and sesame seeds.  Don't skip the marmalade glaze - the filling of the cheesecake is not overly sweet, so the glaze gives the cheesecake a delightful sweet hit.To make this cheesecake, you will need:550g sweet potatoes cut in half lengthways60g hard amaretti biscuits (I used morning coffee biscuits)60g Hobnob biscuits (I used Graham crackers)60g roasted almonds, roughly chopped10g toasted sesame seeds½ tsp ground cinnamon½ tsp ground nutmeg70g melted butter300g cream cheese (I used light cream cheese)250g mascarpone90g icing sugar3 tbsp lemon juice2 tsp vanilla bean essence140g fine-shred marmalade 3 tbsp maple syrupPreheat your oven to 210 degrees Celsius. Line a round 23cm spring-form pan with baking paper.Line  an oven tray with baking paper and put the sweet potatoes cut side down on it.  Roast the potatoes for 30-50 minutes until soft. Scoop out the potato flesh, discarding the skins, and process in a food processor until smooth.  Refrigerate until cold.Put the biscuits in a food processor and blitz until fine crumbs form. Mix with the almonds, sesame seeds, spices and butter, then press into the base of the springform pan to form an even layer. Chill in the fridge. Yotam Ottolenghi’s lasagne recipes Read more In a stand mixer, beat the cooled sweet potato with the cream cheese, mascarpone, icing sugar, two tablespoons of lemon juice and a teaspoon of vanilla until smooth. Spread the filling evenly over the biscuit base, then refrigerate overnight or until set.Bring the marmalade, maple syrup and the remaining lemon juice and vanilla to the boil in a small saucepan and stir for two minutes until the mixture thickens slightly. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.Release the cheesecake from the pan, discard the paper, and pour the cooled marmalade mix evenly over the top of the cheesecake. Refrigerate again for 10 minutes, then serve.[...]