Salmon Fishcakes

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It’s been a while since I blogged a new recipe…what can I say? ¬†Life’s been busy, I’ve barely been cooking for my own family let alone for this blog ūüėÉ ¬†But my life has changed dramatically in the past month and I’m finding a whole lot more spare time which means I’ve been able to get reacquainted with my love of cooking.

I’ve been craving fish cakes…strange I know, but it’s true. ¬†So I went looking for a decent recipe to jump off from. ¬†All¬†of the recipes I found contained potato and being a Type II diabetic means that I tend to avoid potatoes due to their high GI factor. ¬†I considered trying to modify a recipe so that it didn’t have potato in it, but then I remembered reading about a low GI potato.

The Carisma Potato is available from Coles Supermarkets in Australia and has a glycemic index of 53 which is similar to pasta, quinoa and porridge and is a much better choice than a regular potato (which has a glycemic index of 77).  So I decided to give them a go.

If you don’t have access to Carisma potatoes, you can substitute for regular potatoes.

Salmon Fishcakes

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Ingredients

415g canned salmon
500gm potato, peeled and quartered
50gm Danish feta
1 cup frozen peas
2 tbls chopped fresh chives
2 tbls chopped fresh parsley
1 tbls chopped fresh dill
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Salt & pepper
2 eggs, beaten
Panko bread crumbs
Sunflower Oil for frying

Herbed Cream

1/2 cup sour cream
2 tbls Aioli
1 tbls chopped fresh chives
1 tbls chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tbls chopped fresh dill

Method

1. Boil potatoes in salted water until tender.  Drain and allow to cool.
2. Drain salmon and pour into a large bowl.  Using a fork, flake salmon to remove lumps.
3. Add herbs, zest, juice, peas and feta.  Season with salt and pepper and stir well to combine, ensuring feta is distributed evenly.

salmon-mix

4. Mash cooled potatoes and add to salmon mix, combining well.
5. Form handfuls of mixture into patties and place on a tray.  Cover and refrigerate 15 mins.

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6. Dip patties in beaten egg and then coat with breadcrumbs.  Refrigerate 15 mins or until ready to cook.

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7. Heat oil in a frypan and cook patties until golden brown, turning once.
8. Serve with fresh salad and herbed cream.

Herbed Cream

1. Combine all ingredients and refrigerate until required.

 

Winter is Coming!

Beef Stroganoff

Beefstrog

Compared to some places, winter in Queensland is mild, but when the weather turns chilly, we still turn to comfort food.

Beef Stroganoff has evolved over the years, but started life as a Russian dish sans mushrooms and onions.  Since the first known Beef Stroganoff recipe was published in 1861 in a cookbook called A Gift to Young Housewives  by Elena Molokhovets it has undergone many incarnations and there are now a plethora of variations.

Yesterday was a bleary, rainy day and as I was deciding on what to cook for dinner, my thoughts turned to Strog.  The deliciousness of a creamy rich sauce, tender beef, sweet onions, hearty mushrooms and soft pasta was too good to pass up.  There are quicker versions of Beef Stroganoff around, but I wanted the meat to fall apart in the mouth to add to the decadence of this dish.

Beef Stroganoff

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Serves 6

Prep Time: 20 mins

Cooking Time: 2.5 hours

Ingredients

1kg Chuck Steak or Gravy Beef, diced
400gm Mushrooms, sliced
4 cups Beef Stock
2 tbls olive oil
1 Onion diced
1 tbls Minced Garlic
1/2 cup Plain Flour
1 tbls Sweet Paprika
170gm Tomato Paste
1 cup Sour Cream
Salt & Pepper
Pasta or Rice to serve
Extra Sour Cream to serve

Method

  1. Combine flour with salt and pepper in a bowl. Toss beef in flour to coat
  2. Heat oil in deep saucepan over high heat
  3. Add onion and garlic. Cook until onion is  transparent. Add paprika and cook 1 min
  4. Add beef and cook until browned, stirring frequently.  Add mushrooms and cook 5 mins
  5. Add stock and tomato paste and bring to boil
  6. Reduce heat, cover and simmer over low heat 2 hours stirring occasionally
  7. Meanwhile cook pasta or rice as per packet directions and drain
  8. When beef is cooked, stir in sour cream.
  9. Add cooked pasta to stroganoff and serve in bowls with extra sour cream

The Cookie Roundup

So I know I haven’t blogged here for a while…there has been a lot happening in my world over the past twelve months (which I have blogged about here) and although I have had many ideas for recipes (and even starting writing a post earlier this year) life has sort of just got on top of me. ¬†But, I am determined to get back on track.

I just (like 30 minutes ago) read a blog about roundups and decided that the best way for me to get back on the Food Blogging Wagon was to start with a roundup of some of my most used recipes and seeing as though Christmas is just around the corner, what better time to do a roundup on Cookies. (Ok, so you might not get the connection, but I like to bake cookies at Christmas time…they make great gifts)

 

Chewy¬†Chocolate 20140825_205952223_iOSChunk Cookies¬†– by Sally’s Baking Addiction

This is my all-time favourite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe…for a couple of reasons. ¬†Firstly, the recipe is written with measurements in grams as well as cups…as a baker at heart, I prefer to cook by weight rather than volume, I find it more accurate and also, being from Australia, our metric cups differ in volume to the imperial cup, so grams are far more accurate. ¬†Secondly, they are delicious! ¬†Crispy on the outside and deliciously soft and chewy on the inside – perfect!

Variations РI like to add both white and dark chocolate chips to the mixture and I use Caster Sugar (or superfine sugar) instead of granulated sugar.  I also like to make them really big!

 

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The Perfect Sugar Cookies Рby Design Eat Repeat

I did a lot of research before making my first Sugar Cookies. ¬†Being from Down-Under, Sugar Cookies are not a big thing here and being that I live in a sub-tropical part of Australia, they are a little tricky to perfect (especially since I was making them in Summer). ¬†Needless to say, the title of “Perfect Sugar Cookies” caught my attention. ¬†After a few hitches with determining how thick to roll the dough and making sure to chill, chill, chill, they indeed were perfect

 

 

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Chewy Anzac Biscuits Рby Exclusively Food

Ok, so technically a biscuit and not a cookie (although in Oz the terms are mostly interchangeable), the Anzac Biscuit is as traditional to Australians as Vegemite.  There are a lot of stories and memories surrounding these small morsels of deliciousness and there is often debate over whose mother/grandmother makes the best, and whether soft or chewy is superior.  This recipe is of the chewy variety, but has links to a softer version.

 

 

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White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies – by Julia’s Album

White chocolate and macadamias, what’s not to love?

This combination is my husband’s favourite and these cookies are the bomb. ¬†As a special treat I like to dip half of them in melted white chocolate

(Photograph from Julia’s Album)

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The Perfect Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookie Рby Sweetapolita

Yes, this is another sugar cookie recipe, but I had to add these to my roundup.  Perfectly chocolatey and beautifully buttery, they make delectable Christmas treats and make fabulous gifts and stunning centrepieces (when made into Christmas Trees).  For a little bit more of a Christmas hit, try adding some powdered ginger or cinnamon.

 

 

So that is my first roundup!  I would love to hear about your own cookie recipes or, if you give these a go, your results.

Happy baking!

Michelle xxx

Baby Shower Cake

It has been an action packed month!  The lead up to Christmas is always busy, but his year things seem to have been extra busy.  I have had to stretch myself and learn new skills and this is what I want to share with you today.

I had a request for a Baby Shower cake. ¬†I hadn’t done one before and I wanted it to be special. ¬†I was supplied with a photo of something they liked and at first I was a bit hesitant (it had gumpaste baby booties on it), but I knew that there was sure to be a tutorial on the internet!

So here is the result:

babyshowerSo now for the important bits! ¬†This is a White Chocolate Mudcake and this is my go-to recipe. ¬†I can’t improve on this, the only changes I make is to increase it. ¬†For this cake I doubled the recipe (the little cube on top is also made of cake)

White Chocolate Mudcake

via ninemsn

Ingredients

  • 180g white eating chocolate, chopped
  • 350g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 2 2‚ĀĄ3 cups (590g) caster sugar
  • 1¬Ĺ cups (375ml) milk
  • 2 cups (300g) plain flour
  • 2‚ĀĄ3 cup (100g) self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs

Preparation method

  1. Preheat oven to 160¬įC (140¬įC fan-forced).
  2. Grease a deep 22cm-round cake pan; line base and side with baking paper.
  3. Combine chocolate, butter, sugar and milk in a large saucepan; stir over low heat until smooth. Pour mixture into a large bowl; cool for 15 minutes.
  4. Whisk in sifted flours, extract and eggs.
  5. Pour mixture into pan; bake for about 1 hour 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan.

babyconverse

And for the baby converse tutorial I followed this one, but there are quite a few others.

You’re never to old to learn something new! ¬†These were super-fun to make and came together really easily. ¬†It gave me confidence that I could attempt something a bit more complicated…well we’ll see ūüôā

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Caramel Apple & Almond Crumb Cake

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What can I say about this? ¬†It’s got apples, caramel, almonds and crumble – all good comfort food.

I love the smell of my kitchen when I am baking anything with apples. ¬†It makes me think of living in the pioneer days, there’s just something about baked apples.

I made this cake quite early in the morning while my husband was still asleep and he woke up thinking I had created something delicious for him for breakfast.  Unfortunately we are both on a diet (due to the impending engagement party of our eldest son), so no cake for us!  I actually made this cake for a friends birthday morning tea, so had to just enjoy it vicariously.

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Ingredients

Caramel Apple

4 tbls Unsalted Butter
¬Ĺ cup firmly packed Brown Sugar
4 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored & thinly sliced
1 tsp Nutmeg

Crumb

250g melted Unsalted Butter
3 ¬Ĺ cups Plain Flour
¬ĺ cup Brown Sugar
¬ľ cup White Sugar
110g Flaked Almonds
1 tsp Nutmeg

Cake

200gm softened Unsalted Butter
¬ĺ cup White Sugar (or Caster Sugar)
2 tbls Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs at room temperature
1 cup Self Raising Flour
¬Ĺ cup Plain Flour
¬Ĺ cup Almond Meal
¬ĺ cup Buttermilk

Method

Caramel Apple

  • Melt butter in a fry pan over medium to high heat
  • Add brown sugar and nutmeg and stir to combine
  • Add apple slices, stirring gently to coat
  • Reduce heat and allow to gently simmer for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until apples are just soft.
  • Set aside

Crumb

  • Combine flour, sugars, nutmeg and almonds in a large bowl
  • Pour over melted butter and stir through ensuring all ingredients are moistened
  • Set aside

Cake

  • Preheat oven to 180¬įc (160¬įc fan forced)
  • Combine flours and almond meal in a medium sized bowl
  • In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer, cream butter, sugar and vanilla together until pale and creamy
  • While the mixer is running, add the eggs one at a time, beating well in between.
  • Using a large metal spoon, gently fold in combined flours and almond meal alternating with buttermilk

To Bake

  • Grease a large ring pan with spray oil
  • Spoon cake batter into pan and smooth top
  • Top cake batter with caramel apples (including the caramel sauce) making sure to evenly distribute apples around pan
  • Crumble crumb mixture evenly over apples
  • Bake for 60-70 mins or until a skewer inserted into centre of cake comes out clean
  • Serve warm with cream and/or custard

Jam Drops, Monte Carlos & Melting Moments

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Have you ever woken up with the desire to cook something that you haven’t made for ages? ¬†That happened to me the other day. ¬†I had a catering order and knew I had to make a platter of sweet treats but didn’t want to do the same old stuff. ¬†I woke up with an overwhelming desire to make Melting Moments. ¬†I don’t know why…I don’t know where the thought came from…but I seized the moment and decided to make not only Melting Moments but also Jam Drops, Monte Carlos and Madelines.

I used to make biscuits all the time when my children were little. ¬†I would make a batch of over 100 chocolate chips cookies to see them devoured in under 48 hours (my husband being the biggest culprit). ¬†Doing the math, the time it took me to make the biscuits and the time it took for them to be eaten didn’t seem like a good pay-off. ¬†Let’s face it, biscuits, although easy to make, can be time consuming. So as my kids got older and time became more precious, I stopped baking my own biscuits. ¬†I’ve made the odd batch here and there over the past ten or so years, but never really felt the joy of it. This time was different.

I don’t know why it just clicked with me this time. ¬†Maybe because I am older and have a different view of baking or maybe I was just in the moment. ¬†You know those days when everything just clicks into place? ¬†I was having one of those and thoroughly enjoyed the process. ¬†My last memories of baking biscuits had been of an arduous process, but this time it felt rewarding and cathartic in a way.

So, anyway, I didn’t use my usual recipes, but decided to try some new ones and surprisingly I hardly changed anything!

Jam Drops

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Recipe adapted from here

Ingredients

  • 125g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 egg
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • strawberry or raspberry jam

Instructions

  1. Pre heat your oven to 180‚ĄÉ (or 160‚ĄÉ for fan-forced) and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until very light and creamy. Add the egg and mix until well combined.
  3. Fold in the flour until you have a soft but useable dough. If  it’s too wet add some flour a little at a time until you reach the correct consistency.
  4. Take teaspoons-ful of mix and roll into a ball with floured hands. Place on a baking tray a few cms apart and using a floured finger gently press the center of each ball to make a well. Spoon some of the jam into each biscuit.
  5. Bake in the oven for 15 mins or until they are nice and golden.  They will still be soft.
  6. Allow to cool on the tray until they become firm.

Monte Carlos

montecarlos

Recipe adapted from here

Ingredients

Biscuits

  • 200g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 egg
  • 185g self raising flour
  • 95g plain flour
  • 75g coconut

Filling

  • 100g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 330g icing sugar mixture
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 2-3 tbs milk
  • strawberry or raspberry jam

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180‚ĄÉ or 160‚ĄÉ for fan-forced. ¬†Line 2 trays with baking paper.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until very light and creamy. Add the egg and mix until well combined.
  3. Fold in combined flours and coconut.
  4. Take spoons-ful of mix and roll into a ball with floured hands. Place on a baking tray a few cms apart and using a lightly floured fork, gently make indentations on the top of each ball.
  5. Bake for 12-15 mins.
  6. Remove biscuits from the oven and allow to firm up on trays for 5 mins.  Place on a wire rack and allow to cool.

For the Filling

  1. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy.
  2. Add enough milk to make a smooth consistency.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

To Assemble

  1. Pair up biscuits with matching sizes.
  2. Spread jam on one biscuit of each pair.
  3. Pipe or spread cream mixture on other biscuit of pair
  4. Sandwich pairs together and allow to set

Melting Moments

meltingmoments

Recipe adapted from here

Ingredients

  • 125g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 115g plain flour
  • 45g icing sugar mixture
  • 50g custard powder

For the filling

  • 60g butter, softened, extra
  • 110g icing sugar mixture, extra
  • Strawberry Essence
  • Pink Food colouring

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 160¬įC. Line 2 oven trays with baking paper.
  2. Use an electric mixer to beat butter until pale and creamy.
  3. Fold in the combined flour, icing sugar and custard powder.
  4. Spoon mixture into a piping bag with a large fluted/star shaped nozzle.  Pipe star-shaped balls onto baking tray a few cms apart
  5. Bake in preheated oven, swapping trays halfway through cooking, for 15 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove from oven and set aside for 30 minutes to cool.

For the filling

  1. Use an electric mixer to beat the extra butter and icing sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the strawberry essence to taste.  Add a drop or two of food colouring to achieved desired colour.

To Assemble

  1. Pair up biscuits with matching sizes.
  2. Pipe or spread cream mixture on one biscuit of each pair
  3. Sandwich pairs together and allow to set

Heirloom Baking – 1

Scones

I have become quite fascinated with the idea of “heirloom baking”. ¬†What does this mean? ¬†Well, the way I think of it is baking with recipes that are handed down through families. ¬†Cakes and other baked goods that are the way grandma or great grandma used to make. ¬†So with that in mind, I have decided to resurrect some of my old family recipes.

My Recipe Book

My Recipe Book

This is my recipe book.  My mum made it for me and gave it to me on my wedding day.  She had one like it when I was growing up and I loved it, so she made me my own.  Hers was all hand written recipes passed down from her mother and grandmothers.  Mine is mostly hand written with some magazine cutouts as well.  There is even room in the back for me to add to it.

I have used this book a lot (as the stains attest to) and it contains some of my favourite recipes.  These recipes are ones that my mum used to make when I was growing up or that my grandmother used to make.

Some of my earliest baking memories are of my nana’s kitchen with her baking fairy cakes (my pop’s favourite) and pies. ¬†She would let me play with the left over pastry and then when she was finished we would roll out the pastry scraps and spread jam on them, roll them up and bake them. ¬†They were always tough and dry (from the over kneading) but I was always so chuffed that I had made them.

One of the best recipes in this book is this Scone recipe. ¬†When I was in my twenties, I made a batch of scones and entered them in a local CWA (Country Women’s Association) competition. ¬†I won first prize. ¬†I was extremely pleased with myself for having beaten the older, more experienced bakers. ¬†I didn’t even use expensive ingredients, just regular old homebrand. ¬†It just goes to show that this recipe is easy peasy!

With Mother’s Day just passed, I decided to make a batch of scones to do as a special at our cafe. ¬†Then I couldn’t decide between plain, pumpkin or date, so I made a batch of each ūüôā

A quick note about the following recipes.  These a from a time when baking was done in a wood stove and measurements were done with regular tea cups and spoons.  With that in mind, be aware that you made need to jiggle the quantities a bit, but not too much.

Date Scones

Date Scones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plain Scones or Date Scones

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 dessertspoon butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 heaped cups Self Raising flour, sifted
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup chopped dates (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 250¬įc. ¬†Grease a baking tray (or use grease-proof paper)
  2. Melt butter in hot water.
  3. Beat egg with cold water in a small bowl.  Add sugar and mix to combine.
  4. Stir in butter mixture and add milk, mixing well.
  5. Put flour into a large bowl and add salt .  Slowly add wet ingredients to flour.
  6. Stir quickly with a knife until just combined, being sure not to overmix.
  7. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead once or twice – do not over knead as scones will become tough.
  8. Press out with the heel of your hand.  Cut into rounds and put on tray.
  9. Bake in oven for 15 minutes.  You will know when scones are done when they sound hollow when you tap the top.
  10. Turn out onto a clean tea towel and wrap up to cool (or eat when hot with lots of butter!)

 

Pumpkin Scones

Pumpkin Scones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Scones

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup cooked mashed pumpkin
  • 3 cups Self Raising flour
  • A little milk (if needed)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 250¬įc. ¬†Grease a baking tray or use grease-proof paper.
  2. Beat butter and sugar to a cream.
  3. Add pumpkin and egg; mix well.
  4. Quickly fold in flour, making sure not to over mix.  If mixture is too dry, add a little milk.
  5. Turn out on to a floured board and push out with heel of hand.
  6. Cut into rounds and place on prepared tray and bake for about 12 mins or until starting to brown.
  7. Turn out onto a clean tea towel and wrap up to cool

My favourite way to serve these is warm with lashings of real butter, jam and whipped cream…oh and a good cup of tea!
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