Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cookbook 3 : Have You Eaten? by Billy Law - Lemon Myrtle Delicious

On Friday 26th October 2012 I attended a Halloween Dessert Degustation Dinner, it was fantastic even though I did go into a complete sugar coma, and thats saying something as I can sugar it up with the best of them!

The menu of the night was :
Dish 1 : Petite Fours of Pineapple Marshmallows, Balsamic Vinegar Strawberry Pate De Fruit, and Black Sesame Charcoal Macarons with Pumpkin & Blue Cheese filling
Dish 2 : Deconstructed Apple Crumble with Apple & Green Tea Sorbet and Popping Candy Crumble
Dish 3 : Chocolate Parfait with Pepper-infused Cherries and Fishermans Friend Chocolate Dirt and Caramelised White Chocolate Crumbs
Dish 4 : Mexican Smoked Pulled Pork and Asian Soy & Chilli Lamb Ribs sponsered by Black Ridge Farm Tasmania
Dish 5 : Braised Balsamic Red Cabbage, Roasted Apple Puree with Walnuts, and Cauliflower Puree
Dish 6 : (Piece Le Resistance) Called "Snow White" by Billy himself, a very theatrical piece that everyone loved.  It was a very beautiful laid out dessert, covered by a white chocolate done and one served, a Raspberry Coulis was poured by Billy from an antique silver teapot and the theatrics commenced. The actual dessert was a Raspberry Mousse, Oats Crumbs, Lychee & Rosewater Gel, Pistashio Praline and Freeze-dried Raspberries

We attended the Second Dinner session, the hilarious part was that my partner and my brother & my sis-in-law(above) both jointly won first prizes tying in Best-Dressed for the night.
My partner went dressed as a Mad-Chef complete with bloodied apron and 4 blood-stained carving knives and zombie like face, and my brother and his partner went dressed as King Kong and Jane (with the huge gorilla hand encircling her waist).  And I got the Runner-Up prize as the Cupcake Whore, I was going to Katy Perry but the outfit on my USA trip was hard to find and I had to settle for a similar outfit but couldn't find the blue wig.  I originally wore it for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party in Disneyland and in the USA you dont neccersarily go spooky, its just Fancy Dress.

You can read about the awesome adventure we went to on here : ATFT Halloween Degustation Dinner

So this was how I came across Billy Law's New Cookbook - "Have You Eaten?" My partner won it at the Degustation Dinner and then surprised me by getting Billy to autograph it to non other then Mwah!

Be sure to get your copy of "Have You Eaten"? You can buy online at :
Australia - Dymocks Books
Overseas - Amazon Books

So I thought it only fitting in my Cookbook Challenge of 2013 that I include a fabulous recipe of Billy's. Now this was a hard decision, there are so many glorious recipes that I drooled over, and I narrowed it down to two! Then flipped a coin.  I cooked a Lemon Myrtle Delicious.  Now a hidden secret of mine is I do indeed LOVE LOVE LOVE Lemon Myrtle, I have been known to purchase many a block of Lemon Myrtle Soap and even Hand Cream just to sniff at it endlessly.  If you know anyone who makes things in Lemon Myrtle be sure to let me know, I will be your best friend forever!

Lemon Myrtle Delicious

10 Lemon Myrtle Leave (or 1 tsp Lemon Myrtle Powder)
250ml Full Cream Milk
55g Unsalted Butter - room temp
110g Sugar (not a specified type)
2 Eggs - seperated
55g Self Raising Flour
1 Lemon - Finely Grated Zest & Juice
250ml Thickened (Heavy) Cream
4 Tbsp Icing Sugar

Preheat your oven to 200 (400) degrees.  Grease a 20cm (8 inch) Cast Iron or Ceramic (Corningware) dish.

Put your Lemon Myrtle leaves into the saucepan with the milk, place on a medium heat and bring it to boiling point, then remove it from the heat ad set aside for ten minutes to let the leaves infuse.  Then strain the milk into a jug, discarding the leaves. OR do what I did and use Lemon Myrtle Powder that I bought at this year's Sydney Royal Easter Show!

Place the butter and sugar into your mixer and cream it until pale and fluffy.  Next add in your egg yolks and flour and mix well until just combined.

Oh also I forgot to include the Self Raising Flour in my main piccie, oops!

Next pour the milk into the mixture and continue to beat until it forms a smooth batter.  Add in the lemon zest and juice and mix beat the mixture lightly again.

In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, then whisk a third of the egg whites into the cake batter until combined well, then fold in the remaining egg whites making sure you are very gentle so that you don't knock the air out of it.

Pour your mixture into the prepared dish, and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden on top. 

I like to service with Vanilla Ice Cream but you can also opt to serve with whipped cream for a little more decadence.  Best served whilst still hot, and dust with icing sugar for that fabulous finish. Serves 6-8.

Close second came the recipe for A Little Beet of This and a Little Beet of That (Beetroot Tortellini), so stay tuned for that one...

Be sure to follow Billy Law on his endless food adventure at A Table For Two, if you loved Billy on Masterchef you will love following his Blog too. Hopefully I may see you at his next Pop-Up Event!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Traditional Anzac Biscuit - Lest We Forget

I usually make something for Anzac Day, the 25th April, a day we stop and remember those who have fought for our freedom, the soldiers who have fallen, and those you give their time to keep us safe.

Ode of Remembrance

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Lest We Forget - for the day we receive each year to remember the soldiers past & present who gave their years & lives for our freedom.

Some facts I learnt about the Anzac Biscuits:

  • Originated during World War 1
  • There are no eggs in an Anzac Biscuit, this is because they didn't want to risk them spoiling before they reached the front line to the troops.
  • Usually packed in Billy Tins to be shipped to the front line.
  • Originally called an Soldiers Wafers.
  • Sent to troops instead of bread as it had a much longer shelf life.
  • First recipe was without oats, but they were so hard they were being ground up as porridge, so the women started to add roll oats.

This year I was lucky enough to receive a generous order of over 820 Anzac Biscuits for the St George Call Centres in Sydney.   Took me a week in the baking, each packed & sealed separately to be given out.  I now share with you that traditional recipe.

Traditional Anzac Biscuit

2 Tbsp Golden Syrup
150g Butter
1/2 tsp Bi-Carb Soda
1 cup Rolled Oats
3/4 cup Desscicated Coconut
1/2 cup White Sugar
1 1/4 cups Plain Flour

Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Line a baking tray with grease proof paper.

Measure out your golden syrup and butter into a small saucepan and place on a low heat.

Whilst your butter is melting, measure our your dry ingredients in the mixer.

Melt the butter and when the syrup just starts to come to the boil, take a small bowl, put your bi-carb and 1 1/2 Tbsp of water and stir, then pour this into the saucepan and turn off the heat.  Your mixture will froth right up high.

Whilst the syrup is hot and frothed up, turn on your mixer (with dough attachment), and pour in your golden syrup mix.  Leave the mixer on medium speed, spatula the dry ingredients to ensure they are all mixed through thoroughly.

Turn off your mixer and allow to sit to cool for 5 minutes.

Take dough and squeeze together a tablespoon of dough, place balls of dough on your baking tray spaced out of about 2cm apart once flattened.  Take the palm of your hand and flatten the dough ball out to the desired thickness.  The cookie won't rise much in the cooking.

When your fill the tray with 10-12 cookies, place into the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until slightly golden.

This recipe makes 12 medium biscuits (tablespoon of cookie dough).

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Coconut Prawns with a Pineapple Relish - A Summer Delight!

Do you feel like a main dish (or entree) that screams S-U-M-M-E-R at your family??? Well I think I have found it! Prawns (or shrimp, or chicken) and Pineapple! Your eyes will glaze over and you'll think you are on a banana lounge in the Bahamas with a luscious fruity cocktail....

This recipe was originally called for them to be baked on parchment paper in the oven but I am not much of a fan of baked prawns, I'd definitely do it for chicken, but I suggest a light simmer on the stove top in a cast iron skillet.  Or another option is to skewer them and BBQ to avoid seafood in the kitchen (if you were my mum that is the only option given)!

Coconut Prawns and a Tropical Pineapple Relish

500g Uncooked Green Prawns (can substitute for chicken tenderloins)
2 egg Whites
2 Tbsp Cornflour
1.5 - 2 cups Shredded Coconut
Oil - to taste (I suggest 3-5 Tbsp)
1 Lime
2 tsp Fresh Green Chillies - seeded and finely diced
1/2 cup Pineapple Preserve (see recipe at bottom)

Taking your prawns, de-vein and shell them (you can choose to leave the tails on for holding if you wish), then rinse them and dry with a paper towel.

In a small bowl using a fork, whisk the egg whites lightly together. 

Put cornflour and coconut on two separate plates. 

Holding the prawn by the tail run it in the cornflour and finely coat.

Next dip the prawn into the egg white wash.

Finally roll the prawn into the coconut and place onto a clean plate.  Then place your plate of coated prawns in the fridge and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes so the coating sticks well and doesn't fall off in the cooking process.

Then to cook Prawns:

Frying - Heat your skillet or pan with oil (test by either a sprinkle of water that will crack upon contact or stick the handle of your wooden spoon straight down into the bottom of the pan and bubbles will gather on it which shows it is ready, no bubbles = not ready).  When the oil is ready place your prawns into the skillet or pan, fry lightly so they become a light gold and ensure your flip them gentle to cook both sides, I use a wire frying scoop.

Oven - Line a baking tray with grease proof or parchment paper, then place the prawns onto the paper lined tray.  Place the tray in the oven on approx 200 (400)degrees for about 15-20 minutes until golden. But I recommend you gently turn them at the 10 minutes mark so you cook both sides evenly.

Pineapple Preserve

1 lrg can Pineapple - Crushed and in Juice
2 cups Castor Sugar

Place your pineapple straight from can and castor sugar into a medium saucepan and bring to the boil in a and then cook for 20 minutes, stirring constantly until thickened or until the temperature reaches 220F on a thermometer.

Pour your jam into steralised jars, screw on lids finger tight with rubberband inserts.  Place in a waterbath for 5 minutes. The leave to sit undisturbed for 24 hours on bench covered in a towel to avoid any drafts.

Hey Presto you have your Pineapple Preserve!

Pineapple Relish (for dipping)

Combine Chillies, Lime Juice and Pineapple Preserve into a small bowl and mix together well.  Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Oh yummmmm.... these things are TOTES delish!!!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Simple & Perfect Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Glaze and Rainbow Sprinkles!

What better way to kick off the weekend than with a simple yet delicious cake that looks so enticing.  I woke up on Friday morning with vanilla cake and chocolate glaze on my mind.... bizarre really because I have always always been a big one for frosting matching their cake! Chocolate on Chocolate, Light on Vanilla, Orange on Orange.... and so on!  So "what the" is with this cake craving to make something so out of my comfort zone.....

I had no idea but my partner got a text message of his regular Friday shopping list (yes I have been getting him to do the shopping to prevent myself from over spending on non-necessities because I am a product of sales and marketing)!

So I have just finished baking and glazing, literally JUST FINISHED!  And I just cannot wait to post it for you all. I'm currently eating the off cuts and it is out of this world, "the partner" even approves and he "doesn't do cake", completely nuts I know, who doesn't like to eat cake??

Perfect Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Glaze


5 Lrg Egg Whites (I bought them in a carton and it is 2.5 tbsp per egg required)
1 cup Milk
2 1/4 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
3 cups Cake Flour (I use the rule of Plain Four and take out 2 Tbsp in every cup & replace with corn flour)
1 1/2 Tbsp Baking Powder
1 3/4 cups Castor Sugar
3/4 tsp Salt
170g Butter - room temp

Use a 12 inch round spring form tin, grease and flour, set aside.  Pre heat oven to 180 (350) degrees. 
Make 1 layer in 12 inch tin or 2 layers in an 8 inch tin. You could also make this in a lamington pan.

BEWARE as this method of cake mixing breaks all my rules but it totally worked!

Measure your egg whites in a medium bowl, whisk lightly by hand and then whisk in a 1/4 cup of milk and vanilla lightly and set aside.

Next sift all your dry ingredients into your mixing bowl.  Using the paddle attachment, mix the dry ingredients for 1 minute. 

Add your remaining milk and the butter to your dry ingredients, and turn on the mixer onto a medium speed and mix for approximately 2 minutes.  Then add in the egg mixture in 2 parts until each addition is mixed in well, approximately 2-3 minutes (no longer).

Pour your batter into your prepared pan/s.  The place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes, check with skewer that it comes out clean from the centre before you remove it from the oven. 

Allow to completely cool before you make the Chocolate Glaze, otherwise when poured on, it will slip straight off.

Chocolate Glaze:

3 ounces Dark Cooking Chocolate - chopped
2 Tbsp Milk
2 Tbsp Butter - melted
1 Tbsp Cream
7 Tbsp Icing Sugar - sifted
1 Egg Yolk - optional (but it gives your glaze the added gloss)

Weigh out your chocolate and butter. 
Combine chocolate, butter, milk and cream in a heat proof bowl and place on a small saucepan of simmering water.  Once melted and you have a smooth chocolate mixture, add in the icing sugar and stir through til completely mixed through.
The egg yolk is optional but recommended to achieve a high gloss.

Once you have the shiney glaze, put it through a seive and discard any lumps.

Now resist yourself from eating the glaze straight from the bowl here, because it needs to get onto the cake!

Slowly pour onto the centre on your COLD cake (chill in the  fridge if you must), and when the weight of the glaze reaches the edge of the top of the cake, STOP pouring, as it will continue to creep over the edge and glide down and your don't want a puddle around your cake.  Leave it a few minutes to settle before adding your sprinkles otherwise they will just sink into the glaze and most will disappear.

I then left it to set for at least 30 minutes so that it cut nicely without the glaze running into the slices as I was cutting.  If really wet then you can give it 10-15 minutes in the fridge just to set it.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Easter Candy Leftovers..... Easter Hatched Cheesecake Bars!


Ok so what do you do with a house full of Easter treats and not enough people to eat them all????

Turn them into a scrummy afternoon tea.  This was not a perfect, gorgeous looking dish, but I ate it and it was fun, eye popping cute and sweet!

Enjoy something fun with your over stocked easter candy!

Easter Hatched Cheesecake Bars/Slice

2 Packets Oreos
25g Butter - melted
250g Philadelphia Cream Cheese (1 packet)
150ml Thickened Cream
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Tbsp Castor Sugar
1/2 Lime Rind & Juice - Optional
1 Tbsp Icing Sugar
1 cup Mini Marshmallows
1 cup broken Macaron Shells
1/2 cup small solid Eggs - cut in halves
Dozen approx Speckled MnMs

Place the Oreos in the food processor and process them into a medium crumb mix, then add your melted butter and pulse it through the crumbs until evenly distributed.

Tip out your buttered crumbs into a prepared lamington or brownie tin and press into a firm base, you can use the bottom of a flat bottomed glass to assist in the process in getting a firm flat base.

Place the tin with the pressed base into the fridge for 20 minutes to set.

Place your cream cheese into the (now clean) food processor and process until smooth and silky, then add your cream, vanilla and sugar and process further until it is all thick and creamy.  Add your lime (this is optional but used in the cheesecake to cut through the chocolate you will be adding later.  Place your mixture now into a clean mixing bowl and sift in the icing sugar.

Stir through the icing sugar, marshmallows and broken macaron shells.

Now pour your cheesecake mixture onto the base, smooth it out with your spatula, and then sprinkle more mini marshmallows on top, cut the solid eggs in halves and drop on the cheesecake with the speckled MnMs to decorate nicely with colour explosion! Note - the macaron shells may leach a bit of colour out.

Place back in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours, I always suggest overnight for best results.

Lift out of the tin and cut into bite size pieces and serve (whilst still cold).