Friday, November 21, 2014

Quiche Lorraine with French Salad Dressing


Life is always busy towards the end of the year! 

This week we celebrate my daughter's graduation from high school and my son's 14 years old birthday.  There is a lack of sleep trying to be the best mum I can from picking up my daughter from graduation party at 1am in the morning and baking a cake for my son at 10pm at night. The following month would be even busier with a family holiday and visit from families for Christmas. 

This is another inspiration from my daughter of the French salad dressing after her French trip. I have several attempts to try to make it to her liking.  The dressing is light and full of flavour, great for quiche and salad for the coming "hot summer".

Enjoy!

Quiche Lorraine 

Ingredients:


For the butter shortcrust pastry:

250g plain flour
125g salted butter, cold and diced
2 eggs
2 tablespoons cold water

For the filling:

200g diced ham
4 eggs
200ml thickened cream
50g grated cheese
salt and pepper
nutmeg

For the French dressing:

juice of half a lemon
1 gloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
olive oil
salt to taste


Method:


  1. For the pastry: Blend the butter and flour in a blender in pulse motion till crumble, then add the eggs one by one and finally add the cold water.  Keep blending till it forms into dough.  Wrap the dough with glad wrap and fridge for at least 30 minutes or till it is harden. If you have a small blender, you may need to do it in two lots.
  2. Roll the pastry between two sheets of non-stick baking paper to 24cm wide circle and about 5mm thick. You can put the left over pastry into the freezer for later use.
  3. Place the pastry over the quiche pan and place a piece of baking paper over the top, then topped with baking beans. Blind bake for 10 minutes at 200c. Take off the baking beans and baking paper and brush the pastry with some egg white. 
  4. Reduce the heat to 180c. Bake for a further 5-8 minutes or just before it starts to turn golden.
  5. For the filling: Whisk the eggs with cream and cheese. Add in ham and flavour with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  6. Pour the filling mixture into the pastry case and bake for 25 minutes until is is golden. Serve with salad.
  7. For the French salad dressing: Mix all ingredients together and add enough olive oil to make it a cloudy look rather than a creamy look.  If you want a creamy look, you can add some mayo into the dressing.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Leek and Potato Soup with Prosciutto


It must be crazy to dream of soup when it is 37c in the last month of spring.

I made this soup a few months ago when the weather was a lot cooler. My daughter and I both sharing the love of smoothies, juicing and soup. I got inspired by her after her trip back from France where she first tried prosciutto at her France family. She told me the "raw meat" was very nice so we went to the supermarket and got some "raw meat" under her description. Apparently you don't need to cook prosciutto but I prefer my meat cooked so I lightly pan-fried it to have a bit of a crisp.

Enjoy!

Leek and Potato Soup with Prosciutto
(serve 4)

Ingredients:

4 Carisma Low GI potatoes from Coles, about 700g
1 leek, white part only
water
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup evaporated milk or cream
1/2 teaspoon vegetable stock powder
2 thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into pieces
Salt & pepper
Method:

  1. Peel and cut potatoes into chucks. Cover the saucepan with enough water and boil the potatoes till cooked.  Leave cool a little.
  2. Finely cut the leek into small pieces.  Heat a little oil in a frypan and saute the leek till soft.
  3. Reserve some of the water from the potatoes. Blend the potatoes with water and leek into a blender till smooth.  I did that in 2 batches.
  4. Return the soup into the pan, heat gently and add the milk, evaporated milk, stock powder. Add the reserved water bit by bit until you get a nice smooth consistency. Seasoned with salt and pepper.
  5. Topped the soup with panfried prosciutto or serve with croutons.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Magic Cake


My dear friend, after finishing my lists of health check, it's great to get good news from my doctors. As I am under health surveillance, I am good for another couples of months till the next test. So, let do some celebration!

I find this recipe from Zoe of Bake for happy kids. Originally this cake is introduced by my cousin-in-law who also introduce me to the Flourless chocolate cake with red kidney beans.  I have been following Zoe for a long time and have found several good recipes from her. This cake is called magic cake as you don't need to do much and the cake would produce three layers: a base layer that tastes like Chinese steam cake, a middle with custard filling and the top with a soft velvety sponge. This cake is best to serve within 1 or 2 days as the top sponge would lose its freshness and the bottom base becomes hard by keeping in the fridge. I would recommend to serve on the day at room temperature.


Please check out Zoe's recipe here. The only alternation I did in the recipe was to bake in a rectangle lamington pan. Then I uses a scone cutter to cut the cake out from the pan. Dust it with some icing sugar and decorate with white chocolate butterflies that dusted with fairy dusts and strawberries. 

Enjoy the magic!




Thursday, September 18, 2014

Strawberry Smoothie and Raw Cacao Hot Chocolate (Dairy Free)



These are the cold and warm beverages that I make up using almond butter from my previous post. My daughter is the advocate to try out my new beverage recipes.  I have been giving this strawberry smoothie to her every morning during her exam period to boost up her immune system.  While my husband and my son both get sick from the cold, she has been strong sailing through her study.

I love the raw cacao hot chocolate during cold winter days.  The almond butter has given it an extra creamy texture. I prefer to add raw sugar than honey as raw sugar make it tastes closer to the traditional hot chocolate.  After traveling to France and drinking hot chocolate from a soup bowl, my daughter prefers the traditional hot chocolate than the raw cacao one.  Surely, I understand the reason, it is very hard to beat the taste of traditional hot chocolate!

Spring is already arrived and school holiday is commencing, life is good!

Strawberry Smoothie
(serve 1)

10 small or 5 large strawberries
1 heap teaspoon chia seeds
1 small banana
1 cup sweetened almond milk
1 heap teaspoon almond butter

Put all ingredients into the blender and blend till smooth. Enjoy!

Note: You can add half of a mango and a small handful of blueberries to enhance the flavour


Raw Cacao Hot Chocolate
(serve 1)

1 cup sweetened almond milk
1 heap teaspoon raw cacao powder
1 teaspoon raw sugar or honey
1 heap teaspoon almond butter
a little cold water

Put the cacao powder, sugar and almond butter into a glass, make a smooth paste with a little water.  Heat up milk in a saucepan and pour over the mixture.

Alternatively, you can froth the milk and pour over the mixture. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Homemade Almond Butter


My frist time making almond butter was more liked making a coarse paste as I really didn't know what "oil comes out" meant.  After reading detoxinista step-by-step instructions, I finally get a success making smooth almond butter.  I was only using an old model of blender and it worked well even I was a little worry when steam came out after 20 minutes of blending.  It's a stage of the heat generated cooking the almonds and the whole process takes about 30 minutes. So be patients and the final product  is delicious as a dip for crackers or put into beverages.

Almond Butter

Ingredient:

2 cups raw almond kernels

Method:
Put the kernels into the blender with the S blade, blend until the oil comes out and smooth. You may stop the blender in between to scope down the side and let the blender has a little rest.


Getting ready

Pour almonds into the blender

After 15 seconds, coarse almond meal formed

5 minutes later, almond meal starts to form into a rough paste

10 minutes later, a thick paste is formed, you also notice the butter is heated with little steam

10 more minutes, the butter is nearly ready to form a smooth, light texture

5 more minutes, the butter is ready

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Happy Father's Day - Espresso Brownie Cupcakes


This is the second time I make these cupcakes, my family likes the strong flavour of these cakes. My husband reckons anyone like coffee would like them. It's very muddy and bitterly kind if chocolate taste so I would recommend to serve it with some fresh cream or/and ice-cream with strawberries.

This Sunday is Father's Day in Australia, why not show your appreciation to bake your dad a sweet treat instead of buying him a box of chocolate? It's also the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival (Moon Festival) on Monday, this is a great weekend to have a family gathering.

Happy Father's Day!


Espresso Brownie Cupcakes
(make 12)

180g dark cooking chocolate, melted
2 tablespoons instant coffee powder
1 tablespoon hot water
1/4 cup milk
3 eggs
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons caster sugar

Chocolate ganache:
100g dark cooking chocolate
1/2 cup thicken cream
1 teaspoon Kahlua (optional)

Decoration:
white chocolate, melted
thickened cream, whipped + sweetened with a little icing sugar
strawberries
ice-cream

Method:

  1. Melt chocolate with a double boiler with hot water. Leave cool a little.
  2. Mix the coffee powder with hot water then mix all the wet ingredients into a mixing bowl and shift the dry ingredients into another mixing bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold till the mixture is incorporated.
  3. Spoon the batter into a paper lined 12 holds muffin pan and bake for 20 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 160c.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the ganache, melt chocolate in a double boiler with hot water then stir in the cream and liquor. Put the ganache into the fridge until it is spreadable. Spread over to the cool cupcakes.
  5. Decoration: grease a foil with a little old, put the melted white chocolate into a zip bag. Cut a little corner and pipe the chocolate into the foil with a desirable pattern.  Cool into fridge before peeling it out.
  6. Take the paper out from the cupcake. Put a halved strawberry over the cake with a white chocolate swirl, serve with more strawberries, whipped cream and ice-cream.



Saturday, August 30, 2014

Homemade Cumquat Marmalade


There is this very cute 90 years old lady selling jam and homegrown fruit for the church every week.  The fruit of the jam is donated by local farmers and made by volunteers with lots of love and kindness.  Their specialities are rosella jam in March, strawberry jam and cumquat marmalade in August, mango chutney in December. The day I went to visit her, her little store was full with bottles of cumquat marmalade and she was saying delightfully, "there is cumquat everywhere!"

I bought a bottle of marmalade and 1 kg of cumquat from her.  I didn't expect there would so many seeds in cumquat so it took me a while to cut up the fruit.  But it really worth the effort because the jam is tasty (as good as the one I bought) and I am pleased that I finally make jam without using the bread machine. And now, I have jam everywhere in my fridge and pantry!


Cumquat Marmalade
(make about 5x500g bottles)

Ingredients:
1 kg cumquats
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1.25L water
6 cups raw sugar
1 tablespoon jam setta (optional)

Method:

  1. Wash cumquats, drain.  Quarter cumquats with knife but not cutting all the way through. Remove seeds and cut off the hard pitt from the centre if needed.  Don't worry if you do not remove all the seeds, it would float out later. 
  2. Process cumquats in a blender then combine the cumquats mixture, lemon juice and water in a large saucepan.  Stand for at least 2 hours.
  3. Bring the mixture to the boil, then simmer for 30 minutes. Spoon out any seeds if you see them floating at the surface.
  4. Add sugar to the mixture and boil for another 30 minutes. Skim scum with a metal spoon if necessary. 
  5. The jam should turn thick and bubbling. Test the jam if it is set by dropping 1 tablespoon of hot jam onto a chilled plate, move it with finger after 40 seconds.  If it crinkles and thicken, its done.  If not, add 1 tablespoon jam setta and boil for another 5-10 minutes and repeat the test until the jam is set. 
  6. Pour hot jam into sterilised jars, covered with transparent papers that have been dashed with lemon juice then tighten the jars with lids and rubber bands.
Adopted and modified from the cookbook "Classic Preserves Jams Chutneys Relishes" from the Australian Women's Weekly.