Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Cake

For a New Year's party I made this three layer cake.  From the bottom, there is vanilla, then chocolate and then white chocolate cake.  It's covered (messily unforunately) in white chocolate ganache.  Certainly delicious! I used biscuits covered in Royal Icing to imitate stars/fireworks shooting out of the cake.  I hope you all have a fabulous New Year! I look forward to following you all into 2011.

Recipes
Vanilla Cake recipe here
Chocolate Cake recipe here
White Chocolate Cake and Icing recipe here
Biscuit recipe here

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Chinese Curried Beef

Chinese food is definitely one of my favourites; I was raised on it.  My grandmother is Malaysian-Chinese, and so I have many precious memories of visiting her and being in awe of the copious dishes she'd whip up in her wok.  For a long time I've flicked through this Chinese cookbook we have.  But, I didn't dable because I was worried my dish wouldn't taste authentic or nearly as good as my Grandma's.  However, I was wrong!  This dish is now a permanete member of our weekday cooking.  Absolutely delicious! A cross between a curry and satay.  Serves 4-5 hungry people

Ingredients
sesame oil
1200g beef, sliced into thin strips
3 large carrots, sliced diagonally, and steamed in microwave for 3-4 minutes
2 large zucchinis, sliced diagonally, steamed in microwave for 2-3 minutes
4 small potatoes, cubed and steamed in microwave for 4-5 minutes
2 onions, halved and sliced
4 tsp curry powder
3 tsp curry powder, extra
6 tbsp satay sauce
3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce, or plain chilli sauce for extra zing + sprinkle of sugar
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 cup water
2 large chicken stock cubes, crumbled [ensure good quality eg. not too salty]
9 tsp cornflour
3 tbsp dry sherry
+ steamed jasmine rice, to serve

Method
Heat pan with sesame oil.  Cook beef strips.  Remove from pan.  In same pan, increase heat, and add potatoes so they immediately brown.  Continue to cook potatoes, on lower heat, until tender but still crisp, eg. 5 minutes.  You may need to add more oil to your pan, or alternatively, add some water and place the lid on.  Once tender, add onions, zucchinis and carrots, and 4 tsp of curry powder; stir and cook for further 4-5 minutes or until onions and other vegetables are tender. Again, you may need more oil, or alternatively, add some water and place lid on. Meanwhile, stir together the satay sauce, chilli sauce, soy sauce, water, crumbled stock cube, cornflour and sherry; set aside.  Now return cooked beef back to pan.  Add extra 3 tsp of curry powder; toss evenly.  Pour already combined sauces over beef and vegetables.  Toss until sauce boils and thickens.  Reduce heat and allow to simmer for further 1-2 minutes.  Serve.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Nourishing Beef Tagine

After all the sweets of Christmas, it is so nice to have a nourishing meal which is still satisfying.  Seriously, since Christmas my sweet tooth has intensified.  So, to curb it a little, I put a slightly sweet edge to this dish. It balances the spices and compliments the vegetables. No more after-dinner cravings for plum pudding! As if.  Serves 4

Ingredients
olive oil
650g beef chuck steak, diced
2 medium brown onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 tsp ground coriander (used at separate times)
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp ground paprika (used at separate times)
2 cups beef stock (used at separate times)
1/2 cup boiling water
3 large tomatoes, chopped coarsely
1 medium sized eggplant, sliced and quartered
2 large zucchinis, sliced
3/4 red split lentils, uncooked
2 tbsp tomato sauce
1 tbsp BBQ sauce
2 tsp sugar

Method
Heat the oil in a large frying pan; cook beef.  Remove from pan; set aside.  Stir onion in same pan until softened.  Add garlic and 2 tsp ground corinander, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp ground paprika.  Cook, stirring, until fragrant.  Add 1 cup stock, the sugar and the tomatoes to the pan; bring to boil.  Reduce heat, simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.  Add lentils to mixture along with extra 1 cup of beef stock; let simmer again for further 20 minutes.  Slowly add the 1/2 cup boiling water throughout this 20 minute (eg. topping up spice and tomato mixture if it looks dry as water evaporates).  Uncover the pan and add the beef back to pan.  Stir through.  Add tomato and BBQ sauce.  Simmer for further 15 minutes for flavours to amalgamate.  Meanwhile, heat oil in separate frying pan and cook eggplant and zucchini slices until tender.  Stir vegetables through beef and spices mixture.  Allow to simmer for 5 more minutes before serving.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Mediterranean style Pasta Salad

This was served up at Christmas among our many other salads.  However, it is great for all year round! You can make your own pasta like I did, or just use the packaged pasta for convenience and uniformity (as you may notice my pasta bows are all a little...unique).


Ingredients
400g [uncooked] pasta dough, rolled through to desired thickness
350g pesto jar sauce
125g cherry tomatoes, quartered
100g roasted bottled capscium, drained and chopped
100g roasted bottled artichoke, drained and chopped
2 celery sticks, washed, trimmed and sliced
250g rocket leaves, torn
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
optional 2 tbsp kalamata olives, deseeded and chopped
optional 2 tbsp pine nuts

Method
Taking the rolled sheets of pasta dough, cut into small bow shapes to mimic farfalle pasta.  Do this by cutting a horizontal strip into your pasta sheets, roughly 4cm wide.  Then cut this strip in half or even quarters so that you know have little rectangles, roughly 4cm wide and 5-6cm long.  Now pinch the middle of one of your rectangles to form a bow shape.  Continue to make bows until no dough remains.  Cook pasta bows in a saucepan of boiling salted water for 4-5 minutes.  Drain pasta and pour into large salad bowl.  Toss pasta through pesto sauce.  Add tomatoes, capscium, artichokes, celery, rocket and cheese; toss through.  Sprinkle pasta with opitonal kalamata olives and pine nuts; if desired.  Serve.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Wishes

The few remaining presents!
Well, Christmas has come and gone here in Australia! On the other side of the hempishere, you will now be waking up to open your presents and commence a feast!  I hope you enjoy your Christmas day and have time to relax, laugh and be merry.
Thank you for being such wonderful blogfriends and readers. Joyeux Noel!






At our Christmas table we had:
Creamy Potato Salad
Creamy Pasta Salad
Greek Pasta Salad
Couscous Salad
Asian Style Summer Salad
Waldorf Salad
Fruit Salad
Apricot and Couscous stuffed Pork
Macadamia and Cranberry stuffed Turkey
Glazed Ham
Harrod's bought Plum Pudding with custard
Rum Balls
Trifle


What did you have at your Christmas table? I would love to know!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

White Christmas Slice

This is my mother's absolute favourite! I'm making it, ahead of time, to give to her on Christmas eve (tomorrow!!!).  It is a popular Christmas time sweet for Australians.  Have you heard of it? Well, I can't even begin to describe how good it is.  Makes 9 large slices; beware they vanish as soon as they're made.

Ingredients
125g copha
70g icing sugar
90g sultanas, or mixed fruit
50g glacé cherries, chopped roughly
45g desicated coconut
55g full cream milk powder
40g rice bubbles cereal

Method

Line a 15cm by 15cm square tin.  Melt the copha on low heat in a saucepan.  Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients.  Once copha is melted (to liquid form), pour over the bowl ingredients.   Stir toghether so that everything is coated well; ensure no powder fragments are visible.  Spoon into prepared tin and smooth out.  Chill in fridge for few hours until firm enough to cut into slices.  Share out the White Christmas goodness! Store in the fridge.

Lentil and Dried Cranberry Salad

Cranberries are definitely a christmas fruit.  However, in Australia I've never seen fresh cranberries! So instead, we make Lentil and Dried Cranberry Salad.  It has graced our Christmas table for the past 2 years; and hopefully may grace yours too.  If the weather doesn't suit it...wait till summer rolls around for you.  You won't regret keeping this recipe!

Ingredients
1 x 400g can of lentils, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup dried cranberries
200g spinach leaves or mixed salad leaves with shredded beetroot
2 carrots, washed, peeled and grated
1/2 red capsicum, deseeded, diced finely


Method
Toss all ingredients in a salad bowl.  Serve!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Chocolate and Hazelnut Bûche de Noel

Here is another Bûche de Noel recipe! Of course the method is the same, however, the components are different.  That is the great thing about Bûche de Noel; you can fill it with whatever ingredients or creams you desire.  For this, I thought that Hazelnut Buttercream Filling with Chocolate Buttercream on the outside would be divine.  Let me tell you, I was spot on!

Ingredients for Sponge Sheet
4 eggs
100g caster sugar
100g plain flour

Method
In a bowl, beat the eggs lightly to disperse the yolk (by hand or with mixer if needed).  Add the sugar and continue to whisk/electric mix the egg and sugar until the sugar dissolves and pale ribbons form.  At this stage, fold in 1/3 of flour; continue to fold until no flour remains.  Spread the sponge mixture on a tray lined with baking paper.  Bake at 180 degrees (fan-forced) until golden and just firm; perhaps 15 minutes.  The sponge should spring back when cooked properly.  Remove sponge from oven and immediately begin to roll it by rolling it from the shortest edge.  Allow to cool.

Ingredients for Hazelnut Buttercream Filling
125g butter, cubed, at room temperature
1 1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
2 tbsp milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup hazelnuts 

Method
Process the [unshelled] hazelnuts in a food processor.  You don't want them as fine as almond meal/powdered almond but you don't want them chunky.  Set aside hazelnuts.  Now make the buttercream.  It is important to have the butter and milk at room temperature.  Place cubes of butter in a large mixing bowl.  Cream until the butter is as white as possible, say 2 minutes.  Very gradually add half of the sifted icing sugar; beating continuously.  Gradually add the milk; beating continuously.  Very gradually add the rest of the icing sugar; beating continuously.  Icing should be a smooth and spreadable consistency.  Stir through the chopped hazelnuts. 

Ingredients for Chocolate Buttercream
125g butter, cubed, at room temperature
1 1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
2 tbsp milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup cocoa powder

Method
It is important to have the butter and milk at room temperature.  Place cubes of butter in a large mixing bowl.  Cream until the butter is as white as possible, say 2 minutes.  Very gradually add half of the sifted icing sugar; beating continuously.  Gradually add the milk; beating continuously.  Very gradually add the rest of the icing sugar; beating continuously.  Add cocoa powder; beat in.  Icing should be a smooth and spreadable consistency.  

Method for Assembly
Unroll sponge cake.  Chop off any crusty edges. Ensure the side you frost is the bumpy side (as it was exposed to oven).  Spread all of hazelnut buttercream on this side.  Roll up by taking the short end of the sponge and rolling it to meet the other short end.  Place sponge on a plate.  Cover in chocolate buttercream. Cut diagonal slice of each end of the sponge so each end looks more like a log. You can place these bits of extra cake on top of the cake, or you can eat them, or discard them. Now, run a fork from one end of cake to other.  Place decorations on top.  Allow to chill in fridge for 1 hour before serving.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Healthy Corn Fritters

These are perfect for a light meal and can be served with chilli sauce or sour cream.
But for tonight, I will be serving them as a part of our Christmas picnic.  Yes, my family and I are heading of to the local park for Christmas carols; along with our picnic basket! Merry Christmas to you all.

Ingredients
1/2 cup plain self raising flour
1/2 cup wholemeal self raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cumin
3/4 cup light milk
2 eggs, separated
425g can corn kernels, rinsed and drained
5 french onion bulbs, sliced thinly and chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander

Method
Sift the flours, soda and cumin into a bowl.  Gradually whisk in milk and egg yolks until batter is smooth.  In a different bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form; set aside.  Stir corn, onion and coriander into flour/milk batter.  Now fold in the egg whites.  Pour 2 tbsp of batter for each fritter into heated oiled large fry pan.  Spread batter into a round shape.  Cook fritter for 2 minutes each side. Continue until no batter remains.  Serve with chutney, chilli sauce, lite sour cream or fresh coriander leaves! Roughly 60-65 calories per fritter.

Bûche de Noël (French Christmas Log)

My first Bûche de Noël! Miam miam, mes amis!
Bûche de Noël is a traditional Christmas-time cake in France.  It involves a rolled sponge cake filled with a desired filling and is usually encased in a buttercream.  The best bit is that the cake is decorated as a christmas log; so feel free to decorate it with icing sugar for a snowy effect, or even those plastic little christmas trees and deers! Thank you to chef Bruno Richeux for the recipe and for the baking lesson about Bûche de Noël.

Ingredients for Sponge Sheet
4 eggs
100g caster sugar
100g plain flour

Method
In a bowl, beat the eggs lightly to disperse the yolk (by hand or with mixer if needed).  Add the sugar and continue to whisk/electric mix the egg and sugar until the sugar dissolves and pale ribbons form.  At this stage, fold in 1/3 of flour; continue to fold until no flour remains.  Spread the sponge mixture on a tray lined with baking paper.  Bake at 180 degrees (fan-forced) until golden and just firm; perhaps 15 minutes.  The sponge should spring back when cooked properly.  Remove sponge from oven and immediately begin to roll it by rolling it from the shortest edge.  Allow to cool.

Ingredients for Sponge Filling
Chesnut purée, amount as desired (I used 5 tbsp for a thin covering)
Italian Meringue Buttercream (Vanilla Flavoured - Recipe below)

Ingredients for Italian Meringue Buttercream
1/2 cup of cold water 
2 1/4 cups of caster sugar
10 egg whites 
680g soft unsalted butter
1 tsp of pure vanilla paste/extract

Method for Vanilla Itailan Meringue Buttercream

Place the sugar and water in a saucepan.  Bring to the boil.  When the sugar syrup has been boiling for 5 minutes, you need to whisk the eggwhites for the last 2 minutes of this. At the 5 minute mark, remove the sugar syrup from the saucepan; it's finished. Now, with the electric mixer on high speed, slowly pour the hot syrup down the side of the mixing bowl.  When all sugar syrup has been added it should be thick and fluffy. Stop the mixer and change for the paddle attachment.  At this point we need the mixture to cool down.  So, beat on high speed for 10 minutes; or until cool to touch at the base of bowl.  Meringue mixture should still be thick.  Now, return the mixer to high speed and with a knife cut cubes of soft butter into the meringue mixture.  When butter is incorporated, the mixture should be thick and smooth.  At this stage, slow down the mixer to the vanilla.  Now split the italian meringue buttercream mixture in half; placing half in a bowl which will be turn into Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream.

Method for Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream
In a bowl, fold through sifted cocoa powder until you think it is chocolatey enough.  I would advise close to 1/2 cup of strong, good quality cocoa. 

Method for Assembly
As cake is now cool, unroll the cake from the baking paper.  Chop off any crusty edges. Spread your desired amount of chesnut purée (or other filling eg. curd, coulis, cream, icing) over the sponge evenly.  Now spread all the Vanilla Italian Meringue Buttercream over the chesnut purée.  Roll the sponge now by taking one of the shortest edges of the cake and rolling it forward to meet the other shortest edge.  You should now have a rolled sponge.  Cover the rolled sponge in the Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream.  Taking a fork,  lightly draw "bark marks" in the sponge by dragging fork spears from one end of the cake to the opposite end.   On a diagonal slant, cut a 5cm thick slice of cake and place it on top of the cake to create a log effect.  From the opposite end now, on a diagonal slant, do a thinner and smaller wedge and place this on your cake too.  Your Bûche de Noel is now complete! Allow to chill in fridge for 1 hour before serving.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Coffee Bean and Hazelnut Rocky Road

This is my third rocky road recipe....hm, you may now be realizing that I'm a little rocky road obsessed?  But I'm sure you can see why? Just get past the somewhat messy/homemade look of rocky road, and you'll understand.  Let me explain. Firstly, the texture contrast of rocky road is to die for. I love the hard chocolate and nuts against that squishy marshmallow.  Secondly, rocky road is so versitatle.  You can just add whatever ingredients you feel like: dried fruit, nuts, assorted chocolates; the list goes on.  This rocky road, however, served a specific purpose.  It was made for my family friends (who like coffee) as part of their Christmas hamper.  I incorporated the hazelnuts because, frankly, hazelnut and chocolate are what I consider "made for each other ingredients."   Oh, and this recipe has been scaled down (to prevent the all-too-possible over indulgence). Makes 9 medium pieces.

Ingredients
1/4 cup coffee beans
1/4 chopped hazelnuts
1/3 cup desicated coconut
120g chocolate, chopped (I used half milk, half dark chocolate)
2 1/2 tbsp butter
generous 1/2 cup white marshmallows, quartered

Method
In a large bowl combine the coffee beans, hazelnuts, coconuts and marshmallows.  Using a microwave or double-boiler, melt the chocolate with the butter.  Once melted, pour over the coffee bean-nut mixture.  Mix the chocolate through evenly.  Scoop into a throw-away foil container, or a lined tray.  Leave to set in fridge for at least 4 hours.  Cut into 9 pieces, and enjoy.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Homemade Pasta

I have wanted to do this post for a long time. Back in September I took a pasta making course.  There, I realized that homemade pasta is far better than packet bought pasta.  It's fresher, tastier; and the satisfaction of making it yourself enhances your pasta eating experience too! The only downside for beginners is that it takes a while to make as one needs time to get used to rolling out pasta sheets.  Remember, when rolling pasta sheets, the thinner the better.  Top your homemade pasta with any sauce you wish, and cut into any desired shapes.  The choice is yours!

Ingredients

400g 00 Italian flour
4 eggs
2 tsp salt

Method
Combine flour and salt in a bowl.  Tip mixture onto clean workbench and make a well.  Working quickly, crack the eggs into the whole of the flour well.  Spread your fingers into a wide claw shape, and keeping your fingers stiff, stir the eggs into the flour.  Continue to do so until mixture is well combined.  Now start to knead the dough.  You will need to dough it until it is smooth and elastic, say, 10 to 15 minutes.  If needed, wet your fingers slightly as you begin the kneading process.  To check if your dough is kneaded enough, gather the dough in a ball and pull it slightly; a good dough should not break and become holey.  Once kneaded and smooth, shape into a ball.  Lay out 1 piece of cling film on a work bench.  Lightly slick your hands in olive oil and rub oil into the open cling film.  Lay the dough in the cling film and wrap up.  Let rest in fridge for around 1/2 hour.  Meanwhile, work on your desired sauce.  After 1/2 hour, remove from fridge.  Cut a piece, say a generous handful of dough, and using a pasta machine, push this piece of dough through the machine at the widest setting.  Continue to push this piece of dough through the machine a few times on the same setting.  Gradually wind down the setting (letting the dough go through 1 setting at least 3 times) until it is as thin as you desire.  Cook in a boiling pot of salted water for around 3-4 minutes or until cooked.  Immediately stir sauce through pasta.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Profiterole Cake

Profiteroles are definitely one of my favourite sweets.  (In fact, anything with custard is).  My friend Natalie, who recently celebrated her 17th birthday whilst she stayed with us at the beach, also shares my love of custard.  So, for her birthday I decided to incorporate her two favourite sweets into her birthday cake: chocolate and custard.  The result? A delicious 'profiterole cake.' It has the intensity of dark chocolate in its icing which is sweetly balanced by the smooth custard.  I felt like I was eating a profiterole, except in cake form.  Just a word of warning, if you are a custard fanatic, serve this cake with extra custard filling!


Ingredients for Cake
225g unsalted butter, soft
225g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
200g self-raising flour
25g cornflour
4 tbsp milk

Method for Cake

Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl.  Add vanilla, and then the eggs, one at a time adding spoonful of flour between each.  Fold in the rest of the flour and cornflour, and when it's combined, add the milk.  Split batter evenly between two sandwich tins and bake in oven for 25 minutes (or until cake pulls away from edge of cake tin) on 180 degrees (fan-forced).


Ingredients for Chocolate Icing
150mL double [thick] cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp unsalted butter
200g dark chocolate

Method
Melt together the chocolate icing ingredients in a saucepan.  Remove from heat and whisk till smooth and thickened.  Let cool before using.

Ingredients for Custard Filling
2 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp caster sugar
3 egg yolks
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract, or vanilla bean paste

Method
In a bowl, place 3 egg yolks, cornflour and caster sugar.  Whisk together until smooth.  In a saucepan, on medium heat, stir the milk.  Allow milk to heat, whilst continuously stirring, just up to boiling point.  Do not allow milk to get to boiling point (eg. vigorous bubbling) otherwise it will burn or stick to pot.  Pour milk, gradually, into the egg yolk mixture; beating continuously with handheld electic mixer.  Strain mixture back into saucepan.  Heat over medium heat until custard thickens.  Remove from heat.  Add vanilla extract.  Allow to cool slightly before using.

Method for Assembly of Cake

Place 1 layer of cake on a plate.  Pour all of custard in the middle of this cake; spread out slightly to the sides.  Place next layer of cake on top of custard.  Do not be alarmed if some of custard seeps out.  Pour chocolate ganache/icing on top of this cake layer.  Serve immediately.  Once finished, place in fridge; where everything will firm up.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Summer Couscous Salad

My family and I have been at the beach for the past few days.  (I even got stung by a bluebottle jellyfish! Ouch). On our first sunny afternoon, we enjoyed this salad alongside a BBQ. It's refreshing, healthy and nutritious; which is the perfect food to care for our bodies particularly during Australia's hot summers. This also screams Christmas for me, as when I think of Christmas it must be hot weather tempered with cooling foods, cold meats, airconditoner and a nice blue pool.

Ingredients
2 medium sweet potato, chopped into 2-3cm thick slices
4 zucchinis, chopped thinly and diagonally
1 can baby beetroot, drained, sliced
2 cups cooked couscous, cooled
1 bag of spinach leaves
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsely

Ingredients for Salad dressing
1 tsp orange rind
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp white wine vinegar

Method
Prepare couscous and set aside to cool.  Grill sweet potato, in batches, until soft enough to eat.  Proceed to grill zucchini slices in batches too. Set aside vegetables to cool.  When couscous and vegetables are both cool, toss together in a large salad bowl.  Add the spinach leaves, chopped beetroot and parsely.  In a jar, shake together the ingredients for salad dressing.  Pour over salad bowl before serving.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

White Chocolate Rocky Road

I've already posted my regular rocky road, found here.  However, this is for fans of white chocolate in all its indulgence.  The colours are stunning together, so make sure you use the brightest pink marshmallows you can find! 
Adapted from recipe by Taste.com.au

Ingredients
2 cups chopped pink and white marshmallows
100g dried cranberries
80g macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
180g white chocolate
60g pistachios
1/3 cup desicated coconut

Method
Prepare a 15cm long tin. In a bowl, combine marshmallows, cranberries, macadamias, pistachios and coconut.  Melt white chocolate.  Pour over the combined ingredients.  Set in fridge for at least 3 hours.  Cut into small sqaures.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Mini Fruit Mince Pies

These little pies were my first experience of fruit mince.  And I absolutely loved them! Plus, they are mini pies which means they are even cuter to give as gifts (not to mention good portion size for the indulgent season).  I can't help but quote Nigella Lawson, who often says whenever she sees something minituare, "they belong to fairytown."

Ingredients for Pastry

150 unsalted butter
100g icing sugar
1 egg
250g flour

Method
Place butter and icing sugar in a mixer and blitz.  Add eggs.  Add flour until just comes together on the blade.  Add water if needed.  Allow to rest for 1/2 hour in fridge.  After that, use a little cutter (or a glass) to line mini cupcake tin. 

Ingredients for Fruit Mince
2 green apples, peeled, cored and chopped
250g suet mix
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
375g raisins
250g sultanas
250g currants
150g mixed peel
100g silvered almonds, chopped
1tbsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp grated orange rind
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 cup orange juice
150mL brandy

Method
Place all ingredients together in a bowl and combine well.  Transfer to sterilize jars to keep, or fill the cooked pastry shells with fruit mince.  Top fruit mince with extra pastry shape.  Brush with egg yolk before baking in oven for around 25-30 minutes, or until golden. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Biscuits

Christmas food should be bright, fun and festive.  This is why I made these Christmas Biscuits with my new Wilton cutters and Americolor gel pastes.  I really recommend both products! I used the recipe for Nigella's butter cookie (click here) and my first ever batch of real Royal Icing, the recipe for which is below.

Ingredients
4 cups icing sugar, sifted
4 tbsp meringue powder, or Pavlova Magic
6-8 tbsp warm water

Method
Beat ingredients together until stiff peaks form. Add more water if you need it thinner.  Allow at least 1/2 hour for Royal Icing to dry before doing more layers/decorations.

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