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Posts tagged ‘food’

Christmas Mince Pie Pops

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As we hurtle towards Christmas I feel like a spectator on the sideline watching everyone in a frenzy of shopping, pre Christmas gatherings, work functions etc. I would normally take part, I love Christmas with it’s trees and decorations, carols, yummy treats and families coming together. This year has been different, I don’t seem to be able to muster the enthusiasm but instead just find myself bobbing along with the flow of things. It’s been an exhausting year, endless travel with quite a stressful and busy job. Making far too many people redundant as the business down sizes only to have my own employment in the balance next year. Keeping positive, perhaps the universe is telling me it’s time for a fresh start, time to do something else? So instead of revving up I find myself slowing down, putting my feet up, taking time out for a lazy surf and chilling at the beach. The Christmas menu hasn’t even been thought of but it will happen…no worries as we say here. Hardly a Christmas treat has graced my ovens let alone my blog (except for the 47 Christmas cakes I have baked and sold but that’s part of a business). As we prepare to kiss 2012 behind and relish new beginnings in 2013 I leave you with a small treat, Christmas Mince Pie Pops.

I first saw pie pops over at Linda’s beautiful blog Call Me Cupcake, only then to find I am so behind and they are common knowledge in other countries. They even have pie pop makers, oh my goodness which rock have I been hiding under! So here is my version of pie pops, filled with a sweet Christmas fruit mince and chocolate. You can use your favourite Christmas pie filling or try mine. My shortcrust pastry has a little more butter in it than the regular half fat to flour. A tip from a French chef I worked with. It guarantees a short crust but if you have ‘hot’ hands’ I recommend you use a food processor for the crumb rather than the old fashioned way. It’ll keep the butter from melting.

So hows your year been and what are you hoping for next year?

Wishing you all a wonderful festive season where ever you are and however you celebrate and I will see you back in 2013!

This is also my submission to our monthly Sweet New Zealand challenge which is hosted this month by Lydia over at Lydia Bakes where you will find a lot more Kiwi sweet treats.

Ingredients – makes 12

300g sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe here)

200g sweet mince pie filling (recipe here)

12 pop sticks (bake proof not plastic)

Method

Pre heat oven to 180C

Roll pastry out to 1/2 cm thick

Using a cookie cutter approx 8cm diametre, cut out 24 pastry rings. Re-roll any bits and pieces to make more circles.

In half the circles cut out a star shape (or whatever mini cutter shape you have) for the lid of the pie.

Take the other half of the circles and place a teaspoon of mincemeat in the centre.

Wet the outer ring with a little water so the base and lid will stick together.

Lay the pop stick half way across the pie and fruit and press slightly into the pastry.

Place the lid on top of the pie and press the edges together, particularly around the pop stick so it will hold when baked.

Place on a 2 non stick trays and bale for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Remove from tray when cooled. If any pie filling oozes out onto the tray loosen pie pop from tray before it cools so it doesn’t stick.

sweetnz

Malaysian Egg Curry & Return of The Gannets

Where have you gone my lovely sunshine? For one day you graced us with your presence and back into hiding you went, all you left behind was a glowing red line across the back of my neck, evidence that you truly had visited . Our beautiful Gannets were happy as the sun shone, they played on the blustery sea air, swooping and diving, showing off to their mates, they are home again for the season. When the wind blows onshore we can hear their calls from our deck, they know summer is on it’s way even if the sun doesn’t always play it’s part in the deal.

As the weather changed again the salads went to the back of the fridge and a quick spicy Malaysian curry made an appearance for lunch. The recipe is slightly adjusted from Alice Hart’s book, Vegetarian to suit the ingredients I had on hand, it’s one of my favourites because it is so quick to prepare and full of fragrant flavours.

Ingredients – 4 portions

Serve with Basmati or Jasmine rice

8 soft boiled eggs

1 Tbsp coconut oil

4 spring onions, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic

2 inch fresh ginger, grated

1 tsp cumin seeds, ground

1 tsp coriander seeds, ground

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 chili, chopped

400ml chopped tinned tomatoes

2 Tbsp tamarind paste

100ml coconut milk

1 Tbsp brown sugar

salt to season

large handful fresh coriander, chopped

Method

In a large frying pan heat the coconut oil over a medium heat.

Add the spring onions, ginger and garlic and saute for 2 minutes.

Add the ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili & tomatoes to the pan and saute for 5 more minutes.

Stir in the tamarind paste, coconut milk and brown sugar, season with salt to your taste.

Simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken and then add the boiled eggs.

Cook for a few more minutes to warm the eggs through.

Scatter with fresh coriander and serve with rice

Salted Caramel Doughnuts & Salted Caramel Apples on Stick – Happy Halloween!

I’m still on my salted caramel crusade, I think I probably just need to buy a box of the Bohemian chocolates that we sampled at the Chocolate Festival in Wellington and get over it. I mean a batch of doughnuts and caramel toffee apples in one weekend for a household of two is ridiculous and hubby doesn’t eat fruit and also decided he didn’t like salted caramel either… a little strange I know. I became the good neighbour, fobbing off my wares, sharing the love and the calories…cough..cough, that’s what friends are for right? I fried these doughnuts this time but I have been known to bake them in the past just like a bread roll and they are still rather good.

The toffee apples are for Halloween, it’s a funny treat isn’t it? An apple a day keeps the dentist away they say, I’m sure the dentist has a heart attack over these apples but no more so than when we get to pay our dentist bill. I went last week, just a routine check and teeth clean by the hygienist and it cost more than a whole orchard of apples and the toffee together, I should have taken him some toffee apples so we could all have broken out in a cold sweat together.

Ingredients – Doughnuts, makes 8

350g plain flour

70g brown sugar

1tsp instant yeast

165ml luke warm milk

1 free range eggs

70g butter, melted

vegetable oil for frying

Method

Combine the flour and sugar in a bowl.

Add the yeast to the milk and put aside for a few minutes until it starts to ferment. Then whisk the yeasty milk together with the eggs and melted butter. Add to the flour mix and combine into a dough ball.

Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes and press dough out on a floured working surface to approximately an inch thick.

Using a medium & very small cookie cutter, cut the doughnuts out with the large cutter and the cut the centres out of each doughnut with the small cutter. Place the doughnuts and the ‘whole’ separately on an oiled tray to prove, leaving enough space between them to double in size.

Oil the top if the doughnuts and cover the whole tray with a plastic bag, you’ll need to use 2 trays

Re-knead any dough left over and cut out further doughnuts.

Once dough is doubled in size they are ready to bake.

Heat approximately 300ml of vegetable oil to 190C in a heavy bottom pan, enough to be half the depth of the doughnuts. If you don’t have a themometre just do a test with a little piece of dough to check when it is hot enough. Its should slowly brown.

Add 2 to 3 to the pan and fry the doughnuts for approximately 1 minute then turn and fry for the same amount of time on second side.

Remove from saucepan with a slotted spoon and allow doughnuts to cool on kitchen paper.

Make the caramel at this stage and once it is ready the doughnuts will be cool enough to dip.

Ingredients – Caramel

1 cup brown sugar

100g butter

3 Tbsp water

1tsp salt

Method -Caramel

Combine the sugar, butter & water in a saucepan over low heat until the sugar has melted, stirring constantly.

Increase the heat and bring the caramel up to 146C (you will need a sugar thermometre)

Once it has reached temperature turn the heat off and lett it settle for a minute then dip both the doughnuts & apples into the caramel.

You can add an extra sprinkle of salt to the caramel if you wish.

Hola Mexico! Chipotle Chili Tamarind BBQ Sirloin & Grilled Salmon with Lime, Ginger & Coriander

It’s definitely time to get out the BBQ, it’s been five month since it saw light of day, the only problem is our summer doesn’t seem to be towing the line. Slammed by southerly wind, showers and the odd blink of sun this weekend my great plans of a Mexican BBQ turned into grilling indoors in the cast iron skillet instead. It’s a ritual this time every year, the New Zealand weather turns on a few warm days, we pack away our winter clothes knowing damn well the weather Gods haven’t finished toying with us and it all turns to custard again. Realistically the weather doesn’t truly settle till December , at that stage the jandels (flip flops) are on and no socks for 5 months. I’m just hoping the weather might give me a little reprieve next week when I am running the Mexican BBQ workshop, at least I have a back up plan and plenty cast iron frying pans if doesn’t behave itself.

Mexican Grilled Salmon with Lime, Ginger & Coriander

Ingredients – serves 2-4

  • 2-4 salmon fillets (one per person)
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 tsp tamarind
  • 2 chili, finely chopped
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 small bunch Coriander, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp brown sugar

Method

  • Remove skin from the salmon and any pin bones.
  • Place all the ingredients except for the salmon in a bowl and mix together.
  • In a flat bottom dish place the salmon pieces and pour over the marinade. Marinate for 20 minutes, do not leave it much longer as the lime and tamarind will ‘cook’ the salmon.
  • Heat the BBQ to medium high and flame grill the salmon for two minutes on each side or cooked right through if you prefer. Place the salmon pieces onto a serving dish.
  • Put the remaining marinade into a small pan and bring to the boil. Pour over cooked salmon on serving dish and serve with corn tacos & tomato salsa.

Chipotle Chili Tamarind BBQ Skirt Steak

Ingredients – serves 4

  • 800g Skirt Steaks (or sirloin if you prefer)
  • 1tps black pepper corns, ground
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, ground
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1-2 chipotle (I use tinned-La Morena) chili, finely chopped
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 2 Tbsp Japanese soy
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Method

  • Combine all the ingredients except for the skirt steak together in a bowl.
  • Place the skirt steak into flat dish and pour over the marinade and covering both sides. Marinate the steak for a minimum of one hour (it can be left for several).
  • Heat the BBQ to medium high and flame grill the steak on one side for 2 minutes and then turn over and marinate on the other side also for two minutes.
  • Remove steak from the heat and wrap in tin foil and let the meat rest for ten minutes.
  • Slice thinly and serve with corn tacos and tomato salsa
  • Heat the remaining sauce in a pan and serve over sliced steak
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