Friday, April 14, 2006

Day 74 - Good Friday - Hot Cross Buns

Good Friday is my idea of bliss. A day off work, no need for gifts. Just a day to h.a.n.g. o.u.t. And bake. Behold, Hot Cross Buns. . .

2 tblsp dry yeast
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 cups warm milk
4 cups plain flour
2 tsp mixed spice
2 tsp cinnamon
85g butter, melted
1 egg
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 cups sultanas (or 1 cup sultanas, 1/2 cup raisins and/or currants)
1/3 cup candied peel (or finely grated rind of an orange and a lemon)

- Combine the yeast, sugar and milk until bubbles form
- Add everything else
- Mix with a palate knife to combine, then knead for 5-10 minutes
- Place dough in an oiled boil and set aside for 30 mins

- Knock back, divide into 12 (or 24 to make mini-buns), place in a greased 23cm square tin (or place close together on a baking tray for freer form), cover and let rise until doubled.

- Top with cross paste

- Cook in 200C oven for 20 mins
- Brush over glaze.

1/2 cup plain flour
1/3 cup water
- mix together into a paste
- put into a bag of some description (I use a snaplock bag, then cut off one corner)
- draw crosses over the top

2 tblsp sugar
1 tsp gelatine
2 tblsp water
- combine over heat and cook until the gelatine dissolves
- brush over warm buns


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Day 71 - Roast Lamb with coffee

Terry Durack and Jill Dupleix are an Australian cooking couple that used to have a stranglehold on all forms of food media in Australia. It would have been more annoying, had their recipes and love of food not been so accesible, understandable and delicious.

This is a unique way of cooking lamb that adds a depth of flavour to a family favourite. Not to mention a sense of oohlala.

salt and pepper
1 tblsp fresh rosemary sprigs
1 boned and tied leg of lamb - about 1.2kg
1 tblsp mustard
1/2 cup strong coffee
1 tblsp cream
1 tblsp sugar
1 tblsp brandy
1/2 cup chicken stock

- Preheat oven to 190C
- Rub salt, pepper, rosemary into the lamb
- Spread mustard over lamb
- Combine coffee, cream, sugar and brandy in a pot, stir over gentle heat until sugar is dissolved
- Place lamb in lightly oiled baking dish and pour over coffee mixture
- Roast for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 160C for 15 mins
- Rest for 15 mins before carving
- Add chicken stock to juice and heat until bubbling.

Day 70 - dinner and an Italian coffee custard

Dinner was honey soy chicken wings, rice, vegies - which were delicious and perfect after a long day at work and a hard night the night before spent trying to sleep in Felix's bed because he had requisitioned mine.

While I was looking for the pecan pie recipe I found this. I've only made it once but think of it often.

Piedmontese Coffee Custard
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup cream
1 cup freshly brewed espresso coffee
1 cup caster sugar
8 eggs, lightly beaten
100ml dark rum (although I've made it with Cointreau, which was fabulous)
100g amaretti biscuits - finely chopped

- Combine milk, cream, coffee and sugar in saucepan and heat for 5 minutes
- Stir in combined eggs and alcohol
- Mix in chopped biscuits
- Pour into ramekins or one large dish, then into a baking dish in the oven. Fill baking dish with water until half way up side of ramekins
- Cook at 160C for 45-50 mins
- Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate.

They're sweet, but not too much. The coffee is strong but not overbearing. The biscuits form this crunchy sort of top. It is really lovely.

Day 69 - Pecan Pie and Caramel Bourbon Vanilla Sauce

This is Chef's favourite. I have only made it three times in 15 years. Twice in the last 6 months. What's the saying? Treat 'em mean...

This is actually Martha Stewart's Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie
1 cup sugar
4 tblsp unsalted butter, melted
4 large eggs
1 cup (+2 tblsp) dark corn syrup
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tblsp bourbon
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups pecan halves - chop half into smallish bits

Whisk together the sugar, butter, eggs, corn syrup and maple syrup, bourbon and vanilla.
Add the chopped pecans.
Pour into a chilled pie shell (in a 9 inch pie plate), arrange remaining pecans over the top
Bake for an hour.

Caramel Bourbon Vanilla Sauce - this is DIVINE
2 cups sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean - split and scraped
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tblsp unsalted butter
1 tblsp bourbon

Combine sugar with 1/2 cup water in a saucepan over medium heat
Cook until dark amber (takes about 20 mins)
Reduce heat, slowly add cream, stirring with a wooden spoon
Scrap in vanilla seeds and add pod
Add lemon juice, butter and bourbon
Stir to combine
Will last up to a week if you don't - on your own- eat it in one sitting over icecream, off the spoon, with the pie, straight out of the jar...

BTW - Chef had today off - his first in over three weeks. It returned to Monday night, pizza night. Nice.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Day 68 - Apple Pie

Take some pastry from the freezer that you'd prepared earlier (like, for fruit mince tarts at Christmas) .

Peel 6 granny smith apples. Cut into quarters, remove core and seeds. Cut each quarter into thirds lengthwise.

In a saucepan melt a little nob of butter.
Add apples and a dash of lemon juice, cook for about 5 minutes.

Add a cup of berries (tonight I used frozen cranberries - about 125g)
Add a handful or two of sugar, to your liking
Cook for a further 5 minutes

Sprinkle through 1-2 tblsp plain flour.

Pour into pastry case.
Put pastry over the top. Cut slits in pastry, brush with mix of egg yold and milk, sprinkle with sugar if desired.
Bake at 200C for 1 hour (cover if pastry starts browning too quickly).
Let sit for 15 minutes before cutting.

Eat with lashings of ice cream, cream, custard or all or whatever you have or prefer. Divine.