Sunday, May 12, 2013

Cinnamon Pear Surprise Muffins

I came back from a brisk early autumn morning running session yesterday and had a craving for a warm moist muffin (or 2!).  So, these were born from a mix of muffin recipes, cafe inspiration and a need to make them interesting enough for the kids to want to try them. The latter being the reason for the "surprise" and the fact that I again have many an Easter egg left over from the chocolate excesses of Easter (see my previous  Easter posts on Chocolate Prune Muffins and Double Chocolate Muffins).

Ingredients
100g raw sugar
3 medium pears (giving about 300g peeled and cored pear - doesn't have to be exact)
1 egg
60g canola oil (or vegetable/sunflower oil)
180g milk
120g Self Raising Flour
100g Wholemeal Flour
1tsp baking powder
1tsp cinnamon
2 tblspn extra raw sugar
1/2 tspn extra cinnamon
12 mini Easter eggs (unwrapped)

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180C.
2. Grease or line a 12 cup muffin tin.
3. Add sugar to TM bowl. Grind for 3 seconds on speed 9 to make caster sugar. Set aside.
4. Add pears to TM bowl. Chop for 3 seconds on speed 5. Set aside.
5. Add egg, oil and milk to TM bowl. Mix for 10 seconds on speed 5.
6. Add flours, baking powder, cinnamon and caster sugar to TM bowl. Mix for 5 seconds on speed 4. Scrape down sides with spatula.
7. Add chopped pears to TM bowl. Mix for 10 seconds on reverse speed 2 with aid of spatula.
8. Spoon two tablespoons of mixture into each muffin hole. Then place an Easter egg into the middle of each. Spoon remaining batter over the eggs to cover them.
9. Combine extra sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle over the top of the muffins.
10. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until tops spring back when you touch them.
11. Leave to cool for 5 minutes or until you can safely remove them from the tin.
12. Place on baking rack to cool or enjoy them warm with a hot cup of tea!

Variation: Instead of having one chocolate egg in the middle, you could just add chocolate chips throughout the muffin, by adding 50-100g milk chocolate buds (or broken easter eggs) when adding the pear. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mango Lime Tart

To me, nothing tastes more like summer sunshine than a beautiful luscious juicy mango.  Combine this with a silky lime custard on a crisp short crust pastry and you have a great summer afternoon sweet treat.

I found the original recipe at Good Housekeeping.  A geometrically stunning dessert which was so easy to re-create.  

Here's my Thermotalk version:

Ingredients - short crust pastry
50g raw sugar  
190g plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
110g cold butter cut into 2cm cubes
3 tablespoons ice water

Ingredients - lime pastry cream
1tsp lime rind
65g raw sugar
250g milk
2tbs corn flour
25g butter

Decoration
2 mangoes (peeled and sliced 1/2cm thick into long boat shaped pieces - see pic).
1 kiwi fruit (peel and slice middle into a 1/2cm thick circle/oval)

To make short crust pastry:
1. Add raw sugar to TM bowl. Grind for 10 seconds on speed 9.
2. Add flour, salt and butter. Mix for about 10 seconds on speed 6 until mixture resembles bread crumbs.
3. Set dial to closed lid position. Add water gradually and knead for 20-40 seconds on interval speed until it comes together to form a dough. (Add more water if necessary).
4. Empty out onto a Thermomat or glad wrap. Flatten into a disc, wrap and place into the fridge for about an hour to rest and firm up.
5. While dough is resting make the lime pastry cream (see below).
6. After dough has rested, preheat oven to 200C.
7. On a lightly floured surface, with floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 28cm circle.
8. Transfer it to a 23cm x 2.5cm round tart pan with removable bottom.
9. Press dough into bottom and up the side of the pan and trim until level with rim of the pan.
10. Freeze shell 10 mins to firm the dough slightly.
11. Line tart shell with foil and fill with pie weights or dry beans (make sure the lining goes over the side so that the edges are protected). Bake 20 minutes. Remove foil and weights, and bake about 15 minutes longer or until golden. (Recover rim with foil if browning too quickly).
12. Cool in pan on wire rack.

To make lime pastry cream:
1. Place lime rind in TM bowl. Add sugar. Grind for 10 seconds on speed 9.
2. Add milk, cornflour and butter. Cook at 90c for 5 mins on speed 4. 
3. Remove from TM and place in a bowl to cool with clingwrap on its surface to prevent a skin forming.  Refrigerate until cold (at least 1 hour).

Putting it together:
1. Spoon cooled pastry cream into cooled tart shell and spread evenly.
2. Arrange mango slices on top with kiwifruit slice in the centre.
3. Remove tart from pan and place on serving plate.
4. If not serving straight away, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.

Tip: Only slice it up when ready to serve  as the custard is quite soft (which adds to the lusciousness of the dessert) but which means it will run a bit once sliced.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chilli Sauce

Suprisingly, this is my first batch of chilli sauce since I got my Thermomix (2 years ago!)  (I used to make my chilli sauce in very large batches to make the effort worthwhile).

The Thermomix made it all so simple and the colour is so much more vibrant than cooking it on the stove top.

My recipe is a "bit of this" and a "bit of that" and of course a lot depends on the amount of heat in your chilli (the rule of thumb being the smaller they are the hotter they are.  They also take the longest to prep for chilli sauce - because you need to cut the tops off them and that is always more fiddly!)

As you can see the ones that I mainly used were the medium sized ones but this still resulted in quite a spicy sauce even when combined with 1kg of tomatoes!

Ingredients
250g brown onions (approximately 2 medium)
60g ginger (approximately 5cm knob)
30g garlic (approximately 1 large bulb of garlic cloves)
330g chilli (after removing tops)
1kg tomatoes
70g raw sugar
1 tsp salt
60g apple cider vinegar

Method

1. Place onions, ginger, garlic, chilli and tomatoes in TM bowl. Chop on speed 7 for 10 seconds.
2. Add sugar, salt and vinegar. Cook for 45 minutes on Varoma temperature, speed 1. Place rice basket on top to prevent spitting.
3. Decant into sterilised jars.

Especially good with chicken dishes and in a stir fry!



Sunday, January 15, 2012

Chocolate Zucchini Brownies with Pecan Crumble Topping

Brownie Mission #3

I had two zucchinis laying idle in my crisper, mainly due to the fact that I rarely cook with zucchini because my kids don't eat it ... but now they do! (albeit unbeknownst to them).

I had heard of chocolate zucchini cake, but I thought I would venture on another brownie mission (see #1 and #2) and found Grandma's Chocolate Zucchini Brownies on All Recipes.com. I am so glad I did! The brownie is soft and moist and a little bit fudgy and goes perfectly with the crunchy crumbly nutty chocolatey topping. And of course one slice probably counts for at least one serve of vegies!

Here's my Thermotalk version:

Ingredients
150g pecans
750g zucchini (approximately 2 large zucchinis)
200g + 2 tbsp raw sugar
125g butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
300g plain flour
30g cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
1/2 tsp salt
100g chocolate chips

Method
1. Preheat oven to 170C. Line a 19cm x 28cm cake tin or a large square tin with baking paper.
2. Place pecans in TM bowl. Chop for 2 seconds on speed 5. Set aside.
3. Place zucchini in TM bowl. Chop for 10 seconds on speed 4-5. Put into rice basket and put rice basket on top of a bigger bowl to drain.
4. Place 200g sugar and butter into TM bowl. Cream for 1 minute on speed 3.
5. Add vanilla extract then add eggs one at a time with TM going at speed 3-4 until all combined (approximately 30 seconds).
6. Use spoon to push excess juice out of zucchini (freeze the juice for the next time you make a soup and use in place of water). Place zucchini in TM bowl.
7. Add flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate soda, salt. Mix for 30 seconds on speed 5 until combined. Use the spatula to assist if necessary.
8. Pour into prepared cake tin.
9. Mix 2tbsp sugar and the chocolate chips into the bowl with the chopped pecans.
10. Sprinkle on top of the cake.
11. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
12. Cool on cake rack, cut into squares and enjoy!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Steamed Teriyaki Toothfish with Broccoli & Rice

A one "pot" wonder when you want something simple, quick and tasty.  When I was throwing this together for dinner I wasn't intending to blog it but it turned out so well I wanted to keep a record of it so that I could add it to our regular dinner schedule!
Ingredients
4 thin toothfish steaks (approx 150-180g each)
45g light soy sauce
45g mirin
15g sake or chinese rice wine
1 tsp sugar
uncooked rice (up to 2 cups)
250g broccoli
1 spring onion or a couple of garlic chives
Method
1. Place fish in shallow bowl / casserole dish. 
2. Place soy sauce, mirin, sake and sugar in TM bowl.  Mix for 20 seconds on speed 2.  Pour over fish to marinate (at least 10 minutes).  No need to rinse the TM bowl.
3. Whilst the fish is marinating, wash rice and place in steamer basket; wash broccoli, chop into florets and place in Varoma bowl.
4. Put a sheet of baking paper onto the Varoma tray.
5. Place fish in one layer onto the baking paper.  Reserve marinade.
6. Place rice in steamer basket in TM bowl. Add 900g water.
7. Put TM lid in place. Place Varoma bowl, Varoma tray and Varoma lid on top of TM.  Steam at Varoma temperature for 16 minutes, speed 4.
8. Remove rice. 
9. Check whether fish is cooked (will be cooked when the flesh is opaque and a butter knife slides easily into it), otherwise cook for a few more minutes (this is not an exact science as cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the steak and how cold it was before you started cooking it).
10. At the same time check whether broccoli is cooked to your liking, otherwise cook for longer until cooked to your liking.  Again, not an exact science. Depends on how big you cut the florets and how crisp / tender you like it.
11. When vegetables and fish are cooked, set aside. Add reserved marinade to the bowl with 50mls water and chopped spring onions or garlic chives. Mix at 100C for 4 minutes on speed 2.  Pour over fish.
12. Serve fish, rice and broccoli together. Enjoy!


Variations:  Try it with salmon steaks or fillets.  Swap the broccoli for spinach, cabbage or beans or any combination of them.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pumpkin Cinnamon Scrolls

Pumpkins are plentiful and so I am baking with them again!

Here is a healthier version of my Cinnamon Buns because not only does it have pumpkin in it (as a substitute for a lot of the butter and sugar) but also uses some wholemeal flour! Thank you LivLife for the recipe.

Ingredients

120g pumpkin, peeled and chopped roughly into 3cm chunks
185g milk
40g butter
15g honey
2 tsp dry yeast
280g bakers flour
150g wholemeal flour
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2-3tbsp extra butter, melted
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Method
1. Place pumpkin in TM bowl. Chop for 10 seconds on speed 5. Cook at Varoma temperature for 10 minutes on speed 3. Puree for 10 seconds on speed 8.
2. Add milk, butter and honey. Mix for 10 seconds on speed 3.
3. Make sure temperature of TM bowl is not more than 50C then add yeast, flours, salt and nutmeg. Mix for 10 seconds on speed 7. Knead for 3 minutes on interval speed.
4. Remove dough from TM bowl and place in a large bowl. Cover and leave for at least 1 hour or until double in size.
5. Roll out dough to about 1cm thick. Spread melted butter over it and then sprinkle cinnamon and brown sugar evenly over it. 
6. From the long edge roll the dough like a swiss roll then cut into 2-3cm rolls. (Have a look at my Cinnamon Bun post for scroll making pics). Place into a greased or lined baking dish with space between them to allow them to grow in size. Leave for at least half an hour or until doubled in size.
7. Preheat oven to 200C.
8. Bake for 18-20 minutes until nicely brown.
9. Devour whilst warm!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chocolate Chip Brownie

Brownie Mission #2

Okay so I've been a bit AWOL since declaring my first Brownie Mission but I am back with a goodie! Saw this one on a Foodbuzz Top 9 and just had to try it - particularly because they were declared to be "the best brownies in the world". Not quite akin to my Betty Crocker goal (as per my Brownie Mission statement) but really quite close.

Here is my Thermotalk version:

Ingredients

150g milk chocolate easter egg (or choc chips)
120g dark chocolate
200g unsalted butter
4 eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
150g raw sugar
75g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
100g walnut pieces (optional)

Method
1. Preheat oven to 170C. Line a 20cm x 30cm cake tin with baking paper.
2. If using leftover easter eggs, chop milk chocolate on speed 7 for 3 to 5 seconds until it resembles choc chips. Set aside.
3. Place dark chocolate in TM bowl and grate for 5 seconds on speed 8.
4. Add butter. Melt for 3 minutes at 50C on speed 3-4.
5. Add eggs, vanilla and raw sugar and mix for 10 seconds on speed 4.
6. Add flour, salt, choc chips and walnuts (if using) and mix for 20 seconds on reverse speed 3.
7. Pour into cake tin and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
8. Can be left to become completely cool in the tin and dust with icing sugar, or remove and eat warm with icecream or double cream if you can't wait!

Variations: For a darker richer brownie use dark choc chips instead of milk choc chips. For a thicker brownie, use a 20cm x 20cm cake tin and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Chocolate Prune Muffins


Yes I know this might sound like an odd and unattractive combination, but I was looking to add some fibre to my toddler's diet.

The prunes make the mixture look nice and chocolatey and you can't really taste them. The original recipe is actually a cake but I wanted a quick baking / easy to freeze snack and so made them in muffins tin.

The toddler only got plain un-iced ones, but I fancied them up a bit for my older kids (including hiding a little surprise in the middle!)

Here's my Thermotalk version:
Ingredients
150g pitted prunes
65ml boiling water
140g oil
200g raw sugar
20g cocoa powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
250g buttermilk
375g plain flour (I used 200g wholemeal, 175g white)
2 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
2 tsp baking powder
12 small easter eggs, wrapping removed (optional)

Method
1. Soak prunes in boiling water for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease muffin tins. (I used 1 x large muffin tin and 2 x mini muffin tin).
3. Place sugar in TM bowl, grind for 3 seconds on speed 9. Set aside.
4. Place prunes and buttermilk in TM bowl. Blend for 10 seconds on speed 7.
5. Add oil, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, eggs and vanilla. Mix for 5 seconds on speed 5.
6. Add flour, baking soda and baking powder. Mix for 15 seconds on speed 4 with the aid of the spatula.
7. Spoon mixture into muffin tins.  For the larger muffins, if you want to add the easter egg in - spoon a heaped tablespoonful of the mixture into the muffin tin. Place the easter egg in the middle and top with another heaped tablespoonful of mixture.
8. Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes for mini muffins and 18-20 minutes for larger muffins, so that when you push it gently in the middle the muffin springs back.

Icing: Dust with icing sugar or make a chocolate ganache (100g chocolate, grated 10 seconds speed 8, add 30g cream, melt together 2 minutes 50C speed 4) and spread over the top.
Variations: Add chocolate chips - white, milk or dark to add extra chocolatieness to it!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Pumpkin Scones

Pumpkin is such a versatile vegetable. Not only is it great for soups and roasts and baby's first food, it is great in baking. And it's perfect for the Thermomix because most recipes require the pumpkin to be cooked and pureed first.

Here's a traditional use for pumpkin in baking - a staple of the Australian country kitchen (and my freezer!) It's also healthier than the common white scone as the moistness of the pumpkin means less butter/fat is used. (Less fat = eat more!)

Ingredients
300g pumpkin, peeled, de-seeded and chopped into rough 3cm chunks
100g raw sugar
60g butter
1 egg
420g self-raising flour
1/4 tsp salt
milk, for glazing

Method
1. Preheat oven to 230C.
2. Place pumpkin in TM bowl. Chop for 5 seconds on speed 6. Cook for 10 minutes at 100C on speed 2. 
3. While pumpkin is cooking prepare cake tins. I used 2 x 20cm round tins - lightly greased.
4. Once pumpkin is cooked, puree for 30 seconds on speed 8. Set aside.
5. Place sugar into TM bowl. Grind for 3 seconds on speed 9.
6. Add butter. Mix for 30 seconds on speed 3-4. 
7. Keep TM on speed 3-4 and add egg.
8. Add cooked pumpkin and mix for 10 seconds on speed 4.
9. Add flour and salt. Mix for 10 seconds on speed 6. Knead on interval speed for 1 minute.
10. Mixture will be quite sticky. Turn out onto well floured board and flatten to about 2cm thick. Using a floured 5cm cookie cutter (or the TM measuring cup) cut out scones and place into tins, slightly touching each other.
11. Brush lightly with milk then place on second from top shelf in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until golden. You may want to rotate the tin after 8 minutes if your oven is a bit one sided (like mine!) to get even browning.

Enjoy plain or with a bit of butter (even better with MYO butter from the TM - see EDC p12).

Cutting tip: If you can't be bothered with the scone cutting and don't mind a more free-form shape - just take heaped tablespoonfuls of dough and place slightly apart from each other on a grease proof paper lined baking tray (this actually results in a slightly  moister scone because the extra flour is not used in the shaping).

Leftover tip: Can be frozen. Separate before freezing if you want to be able to snack on one (or two!) at a time. To defrost just leave on a benchtop to bring back to room temperature (or use the microwave defrost bread function).

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Chicken, Chorizo, Spinach, Mushroom & Broccoli Pasta Bake

This is my take on Mac & Cheese (with a few extra ingredients!)
A one dish dinner for the whole family - nutritious enough for the 14 month old toddler and tasty enough for the hubby. Even my fussiest eater (Miss 6) liked it (I suspect it was the bacon topping that did it!). 
Out of all my Thermomix creations this is by far my family's favourite (if measured by how quickly it was demolished) and it even has half a kilo of vegetables in it! The added bonus (and to the relief of hubby) is that there is hardly any washing up. 

Ingredients - Topping
3 slices wholemeal bread
100g bacon
1/2 tsp paprika
15g olive oil

Ingredients - Filling
200g cheddar or mozzarella cheese
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 onion, peeled and halved
20g olive oil
150g mushrooms
1/2 tstp freshly ground black pepper
400g milk
400g stock or 400g water + 1 tbsp of vegetable stock concentrate (EDC page 17)
200g dry pasta (spirals, elbows, macaroni or penne)
200g broccoli, cut into small florets
250g chicken thigh or breast, sliced thinly
1 chorizo sausage (approx 100g), cut in half lengthwise and sliced thinly
100g spinach, roughly chopped

Method
If using the oven for the final step, preheat oven to 200C.
1. If your cheese isn't grated, chop it into 2-3cm cubes, place in TM bowl and grate for 7 seconds on speed 8. Set aside.
2. Place all topping ingredients in TM bowl and chop for 4 seconds on speed 6. Set aside.
3. Place garlic and onion in TM bowl. Chop for 3 seconds on speed 7. Scrape down sides. 
4. Add olive oil and saute for 3 minutes at Varoma temperature on speed 1.
5. Add mushrooms. Chop for 4 seconds on speed 4.
6. Add pepper, milk and stock. Cook for 8 minutes at 100C on reverse speed soft.
7. Add pasta and broccoli. Cook for 6 minutes at 100C on reverse speed soft.
8. Add chicken, chorizo and spinach. Cook for 3 minutes at 100C on reverse speed soft. Use spatula at the start to help incorporate and stir the meat and spinach into the sauce.
9. Place mixture into oven proof baking dish. Spread the top evenly with grated cheese and then the bacon/breadcrumb topping.
10. Place into preheated oven for 20 minutes until topping is golden and crispy, or place under a hot grill for 4 minutes (but keep an eye on it as can get burnt quite quickly!)


Variations: 
1) Eat it as a pasta dish without the cheese and topping. If so, at step 8 cook for a further 2 minutes until pasta is tender. 
2) Eat it without the topping and just melt the cheese over the top. 
3) Already have leftover cooked or roast chicken and/or steamed veg? Just add them in at the last step for 1 minute to warm through before putting in the baking dish. 

Substitutes: Try using cauliflower or pumpkin instead of broccoli; or ham or salami (or more bacon!) for the chorizo.