Today, bread was baked.  It was enriched with home-ground flaxseed and some steel cut oat groats that I want to use up.

Then the smallest slow cooker was filled with the makings of a lentil and barley hotpot with a slight variation. The Boy isn’t keen on the texture of the dried shiitake mushrooms that I like to add to it, so this time I thought I’d do something different.

Dried Mushrooms.

Dried Mushrooms.

I piled the dried mushrooms into the little electric coffee grinder- that I use for grinding everything except coffee – and pulverised them.

Dried mushroom powder.

Dried mushroom powder.

Then I added the mushroom powder to the chicken stock and continued as per normal. This way I got the mushroomy aroma that I adore and he didn’t have to deal with sensory issues. This is what is known as a win/win.

Some of yesterday’s Tuscan Kale bonanza was also added to the pot. We had it for dinner served over steamed basmati rice.

Lentil and Barley Hotpot

Lentil and Barley Hotpot

But before that we reduced a heaping pile of killer rose debris to a much smaller, smouldering pile of ash and charcoal. It was very satisfying.

However, it caused me to reflect on how skills are being lost – especially after three abortive attempts to get the pyre lit. My mother used to woman the incinerator at our house (before the advent of recycling bins) and I regaled The Boy with tales of yesteryear when everyone’s Sunday afternoon usually included one or another neighbour’s smoke from ‘burning off’ household waste of some kind.  Usually blowing directly onto someone’s freshly laundered sheets.

I now smell of wood smoke. The cats are viewing me with suspicion.

We followed this caveman-like feat with some very civilised Loaded Hot Potato Chips and collapsed in front of the telly.

Loaded hot potato chips

Loaded hot potato chips

I decided (in my deranged exhaustion) that I wanted to try something I’d never done before for dessert. I decided this about 10 minutes before I was going to serve dinner. I’m an idiot.

Anyway, I spent about 20 minutes searching for a recipe in my book collection and then asked Mr Google. For dessert I made some Baked Stuffed Apples.

Stuffed Baked Apple

Stuffed Baked Apple

I was too tired to eat them.

There were leftovers.

A mañana todos.

Swiss Roll

The first time I made a Swiss Roll I do believe it was in my Home Economics class and I was around 14 years old. That was over 30 years ago.

It was also the last time I made a Swiss Roll.

In case you haven’t picked up on this yet, Swiss Roll making isn’t a high frequency activity in my kitchen.

Got it?

Anyhoo…I needed to make something for my Thursday lunch group.  It needed to be something simple and non energy-sapping. I’d just made a double batch of Lemon Butter and thought maybe some of that could be used in …  something?

Lemon Butter.

Lemon Butter.

Then I remembered that one of the ladies at the group is doing a cookery course and one of her assignments was a sponge cake filled with lemon curd.

‘What about a Swiss Roll?’ something whispered in the back of my head.

So I went with it.

I found this very simple recipe here on one of Jamie Oliver’s sites. I can honestly say it’s one of the easiest things I have ever made.

The hardest part was working out whether I had a Swiss Roll tin! I knew they were big and flattish but…so I asked Mr Google and found the answer resided here, with the ever delectable Nigella Lawson.

A Swiss roll tin is a specific tin that is designed to bake a thin, rectangular sponge cake that is then rolled up to make a Swiss roll (jelly roll or roulade). It has slightly raised edges (about 2 to 3cm/3/4 to 1 inch) deep and has dimensions of roughly 23 x 33cm (9 x 13 inches).

I had one of those. It was all good.

I also had all three (3!) of the necessary ingredients.

I used a stand mixer because I can’t hold things very well right now and I could just turn this on and block my ears. If you have a hand-held electric beater or whisk then go for it. If you have none of these things but are possessed of a balloon whisk and well-developed biceps, then feel free to join in the fun.

Heat your oven to 200°C/400°F.

Start with sifting a teeny amount of caster sugar into a bowl and add three eggs.

Start with eggs and sugar. Now beat.

Start with eggs and sugar. Now beat.

Whisk the two together until the mixture becomes thick and creamy.  This could take quite some time. I stopped at one point and decided to add some lemon zest to the batter just to tie it to the lemon butter a bit better. Not sure it made a measurable contribution in the end.

You can see it's getting a little thicker here.

You can see it’s getting a little thicker here.

It still wasn’t thick enough though. You are looking for a thick, creamy looking batter. You’ll know you’ve reached the right point when the beaters start to leave a trail in the mixture, like this…

Can you see the ripples? That.

Can you see the ripples? That.

Put your electric beaters away; from this point on being gentle is your game plan.

Sift the Self Raising flour into a bowl and then sift it again into the mixture. Fold it through the egg mixture using a metal fork.

Gently fold in the flour.

Gently fold in the flour.

I might be the only person you know who uses a fork for this, but it works. Folding is basically the same as stirring, but in slow motion. You are trying not to beat out all the air that you have just beat into the egg mixture. Think of the flour as just being there to stabilise that structure.

Once all the flour is incorporated, stop.

2015-08-26 17.17.03

Line your Swiss roll tin. Pour the mixture into the tin and spread out with a spatula. Again, be gentle.

Trim the paper after you've filled the tin.

Trim the paper after you’ve filled the tin.

Bake for 7-8 minutes, until lightly brown and fully set.

In retrospect, I think mine could have used a few minutes more...

In retrospect, I think mine could have used a few minutes more…

Now, this here is the secret bit so listen up!  I remembered this from Home Ec. all those years ago.

Mrs Wood would be proud.

You’ve got to roll it up while it’s still warm and let it cool that way. That prevents cracks (and tears ) caused by rolling up a cold cake.

So, using the paper lining, pull the cake up out of the tin and onto a cake rack. Decide if you want to roll from the long side or the short and orient your cake accordingly. Mine was to serve a lot of people after a lot of food – small slices would do. I went for the long side roll.

Pull the paper away from the other edges, so it doesn’t get rolled into the cake.

Pull your lining paper away from the other edges.

Pull your lining paper away from the other edges. As you can see, a few minutes more in the oven might have been in order…

Roll up slowly with the lining paper still on. This will stop it from sticking to itself when you need to unroll it later.

Roll up your roll. (Sorry.)

Roll up your roll.

Then roll your roll up in a clean, dry tea towel. Leave it until it is completely cool.

Roll into a tea towel.

Roll into a tea towel.

Alternatively, you might wish to remove the backing paper and use a tea towel in its place so that the fabric is holding the cake apart. I didn’t have any tea towels without a pile to hand and that would have only ended badly.

When it is completely cool, unroll and fill with lemon butter if you wish.  You might also like to use jam, or thickly whipped cream. Just remember that you need to roll it up again, so don’t slather it on or you’ll have filling oozing out everywhere.

Spread with your filling of choice.

Spread with your filling of choice.

Re roll, this time leaving the paper (or tea towel) behind.

Re-roll.

Re-roll.

I wrapped mine up, sausage-like, in cling wrap and refrigerated it overnight.

Swiss Roll sausage

Swiss Roll sausage

To serve, place on a serving tray and sprinkle with icing (confectioner’s) sugar – I forgot to take a picture of this bit. Sorry.

This is what it looked like after we’d eaten most of it though…

Cross-section.

Cross-section.

It was very well received.

Swiss Roll

  • Servings: 4-8
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

3 eggs

75 g caster sugar

75 g self-raising flour

2-3 tablespoons jam/lemon curd

Method

Heat oven to 200°C/400°F.

Grease and line a Swiss Roll tin with greaseproof paper.

Sift the flour onto a plate.

Place the eggs and sift sugar into a mixing bowl.

Whisk using an electric beater until the mixture becomes thick and creamy and the beaters leave a visible trail. About 5 minutes.

Sift the flour (for a second time) into the mixing bowl and gently fold into the mixture using a fork.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and spread out gently with a spatula.

Bake for 7-8 minutes.

Turn out of the tin onto a cooling rack and gently remove the backing paper.

Roll up using a clean, woven tea-towel and leave until cool.

When cool, unroll and spread with your desired filling.

Re-roll. Place on serving dish with the edge of the roll on the bottom, and sprinkle with icing or confectioner’s sugar.

Slice to serve.

 

 

 

Sweet Quesadillas

I’m pretty sure I saw this on a now defunct kid’s television show, not long after I was retired. Rollercoaster was one of my favourite parts of the day at the time, especially The Secret Show which I still consider to be one of the best shows ever made. Fluffy, fluffy bunnies….

Ahem.

Fresh stuff

Fresh stuff

Anyway, Rollercoaster stopped airing quite a long time ago and I still hadn’t made this recipe.
I bought some bananas this week thinking I might try it sometime, but then this morning this happened.

This is bad.

This is bad.

What better reason to eat something quick, easy and sweet? (Gotta get those blood sugars up…)

On a more serious note, this is a great snack to make with the kids, after school or during the holidays. It takes mere seconds, is relatively healthy – especially if you use wholegrain wraps -but needs adult supervision.

I used a sandwich press (panini), but this could easily be done with a frying pan.

Sandwich press.

Sandwich press.

Basically, grab a flour tortilla or a wrap.  I had this packet already open in my fridge.

That's a wrap.

That’s a wrap.

Zap the closed packet for 30 seconds in the microwave to heat them and make them a little more pliable. Then take one out and fold it in half, like so.

Looks tricky, doesn't it?

Looks tricky, doesn’t it?

Then, peel a banana and slice it thinly. You don’t want it too thick or it may not stick together later.

Slice a banana thinly.

Slice a banana thinly.

I used a Cavendish banana, but I’m willing to bet that a sugar or Lady Finger banana would be even better (if more expensive).

The slices of bananas are then scattered on one half of the inside of the folded wrap, like so:

Start filling your quesadilla.

Start filling your quesadilla.

Use the fold line as a guide as to where to stop.

Then choc chips are added in between the slices. Yum!

You don’t need a great many choc chips, and try to place at least a few on the edge of the wrap to hold it together.

Add choc chips.

Add choc chips.

Using an oil spray, lightly coat the upper and lower plates of the sandwich press once it is heated.

Fold the wrap in half and place it on the press, close, and toast to the level you prefer. When you sneak a peak (you know you will) you’ll see that the chips have melted.

A melting moment...

A melting moment…

Using an egg slice or spatula, remove to a piece of paper towel to cool.

DO NOT eat the quesadilla immediately!

The chocolate is hot and will burn.

Distract children with making further servings. We found three wraps was a perfect snack size for two adults.

When you have finished. Wipe the sandwich press with a piece of paper towel, turn it off and put it out of reach and THEN cut your snacks into wedges and serve.

If you don’t own a sandwich press, then a non-stick frying pan on a medium heat will work too. Just remember to press on the top of the folded wrap to encourage the two sides to stick together. Turn once.

Hungry?

Hungry?

You may not use all of a banana, depending on its size. Anyone wanting seconds should be given the banana to eat IMHO.

Enjoy!

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Chocolate Fudge Pudding

Hot fudge pudding and ice cream.

I have two self-saucing chocolate pudding recipes in my collection. One is my Mother’s and one is my Grandmother’s. The thing I find fascinating about them is the difference in the flavour profile that a mere few decades can make.

My Grandmother’s recipe is rich – very rich. It is made with butter and cocoa and really does meet the label of fudge. My Mother’s recipe is sweet. Tooth-achingly sweet. But still good. I’ll feature both recipes on this site, but my Grandmother’s recipe is my favourite.

The first time I made this, the richness overwhelmed me. I use Dutch process cocoa in my cooking and the chocolate flavour was almost too much. The Dutch process removes the acidity that may lurk in cocoa powder and gives the cocoa a rich dark colour as well, however it is not necessary to make this recipe work.

Also, the original recipe calls for shortening as one of the ingredients. My American readers will be surprised to learn that this is not something widely available on Australian supermarket shelves. I used butter.

I had decided that, the next time I made it, I wanted to add something to cut the richness. It occurred to me that adding some orange zest might just do the trick – I was right. If you are inclined toward the alcoholic, try adding a spoonful of orange liqueur to the batter as well/instead – something like Grand Marnier or Cointreau would work well.

Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F. Start with the pudding ingredients and sift together the flour, sugar and cocoa into a basin.

Sift the dry pudding ingredients.

Sift the dry pudding ingredients.

At this point, zest a largish orange and add to the dry ingredients.

Add orange zest.

Add orange zest.

Add the sultanas at this point too.

Melt the shortening (or butter, if you wish) and mix together with the milk. Add the egg to this liquid and mix lightly.  Pour this mixture over the sifted ingredients. This is when you would add liqueur if you wished. Beat until well combined.

Yes, it's blurry. We can blame the liqueurs if you like...

Yes, it’s blurry. We can blame the liqueurs if you like…

Dig out a nice deep ovenware dish and place your batter in the middle of it. The dish doesn’t need to be greased or prepared in any way. Don’t panic.

Also, save yourself some trouble and place the baking dish on a metal tray. This will make putting the pudding into, and then taking it out of, the oven infinitely easier. Really.

Put the batter in an ovenproof dish.

Put the batter in an oven-proof dish.

Moving to the sauce ingredients now: melt the butter. I use a glass jug in the microwave.

Mix the butter, the cocoa and hot water all together until smooth.

It will look kind of mesmerizingly amazing...

It will look kind of mesmerizingly amazing…

Pour this liquid over the batter in the baking dish. If it looks awful, it’s okay. Really. You haven’t ruined it, I promise.

It will look appalling. You're doing it right.

It will look appalling. Don’t worry, you’re doing it right.

Now bake it for 30-35 mins. Remember to use the metal baking tray as well.

I like to serve this after a slap up roast dinner. I get the washing up for the pudding out of the way while the roast is still cooking, and then put the pudding in to bake when I serve the meal. That way it cooks while we are eating and is ready when we have finished our mains.

Welcome to decadence. (Note the oven tray.)

Welcome to decadence. (Note the oven tray.)

Cut into small pieces and serve, spooning the sauce below the solid pudding into the bowls as well.

Grandmother Sayers's Chocolate Fudge Pudding.

Grandmother Sayers’s Chocolate Fudge Pudding.

A reminder that this is VERY RICH. You only want small servings. Garnish with a small scoop of plain vanilla ice cream or a spoonful of dolloping cream.

You’re welcome.

You've gotta try this. Now.

You’ve gotta try this. Now.

Chocolate Fudge Pudding

  • Servings: 4-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

Pudding:

125 g sugar

1 egg

1 cup self-raising flour

2 tbsps cocoa powder

zest of 1 orange

60 g shortening (or unsalted butter)

¼ cup milk

¼ cup sultanas

Sauce:

90 g unsalted butter

2 tbsps cocoa powder

1 cup hot water

Method

Heat oven to 180°C/350°F.

Starting with the pudding ingredients, sift together flour, sugar and cocoa and place in a mixing basin.

Add the orange zest and sultanas.

Melt the shortening/butter and add milk. Mix in the egg.

Pour onto the dry ingredients in the basin and mix well. (My Grandmother’s recipe says to beat by hand for 2 minutes, if that helps!)

Place in a clean, deep oven-ware dish that you have placed on a larger metal tray for ease of handling.

Using the sauce ingredients, melt the butter and then mix with the water and cocoa.

Pour over the pudding batter in the oven ware dish.

Bake for 30-35 mins.

Serve with plain vanilla ice cream.

Variations:

Soak the sultanas in 1 or 2 tablespoons of orange flavoured liqueur before adding to the pudding mixture.

 

 

 

 

Chocolate ‘Ice Cream’ (with bananas)

Chocolate soft serve ice-cream.

You know when you buy a hand of bananas and suddenly they’re all too ripe and no-one wants to eat them and you get annoyed because you’ve spent the money and now it’s being wasted and it doesn’t matter what you do it seems like you can never get it right and why is life so unfair?

Take a breath. Calm down.

Firstly, freeze your bananas. If they’re getting past the eating-as-a-fresh-banana stage, then peel them and pop them into a ziploc bag and put them in the freezer. They can be defrosted and used in cakes and muffins and what-not at a later stage.

If you don’t want them to stick together, so you can take out one or two at a time, then freeze them separately before you place them in the bag. They will live in there quite happily for many months.

And don't they look attractive?

And don’t they look attractive?

Then you can make ice cream out of them.

Yes. I said ice cream. Frozen bananas can be used to make a soft serve ice cream which is wonderful for those with a lactose intolerance. Cold affects the performance of your taste buds, so the banana flavour fades right away and you are left with a cold, creamy substance that you can add other flavours to. Like chocolate.

This requires a food processor with a metal blade. I’m sorry, there’s really not an alternative to the use of an appliance for this.

The metal blade of a food processor is the secret ingredient here.

The metal blade of a food processor is the secret ingredient here.

Also, I had quite a few bananas I wanted to use as I wanted the freezer space. So the pictures you see here will be of about three times the quantity that will be made from the recipe provided.

Making the actual dessert is super simple. Get the kids involved (just don’t let them lick the blade…)

Cut your bananas into chunks and put them into the processor bowl.

Chunky bananas.

Chunky bananas.

Now sift in a couple of tablespoons of cocoa powder. I used Dutch process cocoa because that’s what I had. If you’re an Aussie and you have some to spare, then try using Milo instead.

Add cocoa.

Add cocoa.

Now add some vanilla extract and a touch of salt. The salt will help to accent the sweetness of the bananas.

I used sea salt flakes - you don't have to.

I used sea salt flakes – you don’t have to.

Then add a dollop of sweetener if you really want to. I added a touch of honey, but it’s really not necessary. Bananas are full of natural sugars – don’t for a moment start thinking of this as a low calorie alternative to regular dairy ice-creams.

*Diabetics be warned, this will make your sugars spike.*

I added some totally unnecessary honey.

I added some totally unnecessary honey.

You may like to add a few tablespoons of a nut butter here. Peanut butter works fine, or you can try almond or sunflower butter instead. The oils in the butter give the final dessert a smoother texture and “mouth feel.” I didn’t have any, so I didn’t.

I did find that it wasn’t blending as smoothly as I would have liked, so I drizzled in some buttermilk that I had in the refrigerator. Adding yoghurt would also work – and this can be dairy, soy or coconut – or you could just add a little vegetable oil.

None of these things is absolutely vital.

Put the lid on your processor and pulse a few times to get it going.

It will form a thick paste.

It will form a thick paste.

Keep blending until you reach the desired texture. I wanted a smoother blend and added a drizzle of buttermilk to loosen it up a little. I stopped blending when it looked like this.

Chocolate soft serve Icecream

Chocolate soft serve Icecream

You may serve it immediately. If you are making it with kids, you’ll probably have to serve it immediately.

Otherwise, place it in a sealed container and re-freeze.

Put in a container and freeze. Temporarily.

Put in a container and freeze. Temporarily.

When the time comes to serve it up, remove it from the freezer at least 15 minutes beforehand to soften.  You may end up with a sprained wrist otherwise.

Enjoy.

Chocolate 'Ice-cream' (banana)

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

3 medium bananas, peeled, cut in chunks and frozen

½ tsp vanilla extract

pinch salt

3 Tbsp cocoa powder

optional:

  • sweetener such as honey or maple syrup
  • 3-5 tbsps peanut butter or similar
  • 2-3 tbsps Greek yoghurt or buttermilk

Method

Place the metal ‘S’ blade in a food processor.

Combine the first four ingredients in the bowl and blend until smooth. Add the optional ingredients if you wish.

Serve immediately.

May be stored in a sealed container in the freezer, but remove at least 15 minutes before serving if you do so. The warmer the ice-cream the more it will resemble soft serve.

Variations:

  • Mix through chopped nuts or choc chips.
  • Use another frozen fruit e.g. strawberries, blueberries, frozen mango etc., instead of the cocoa powder for a fruit flavoured dessert.

 

Chocolate soft serve ice-cream.

I spent yesterday in various parts of Melbourne, so there was very little done in the Budget Bounty kitchen. Although I did pop into one company to price containers for some food-based products I’m thinking of selling in the future. Maybe. Perhaps.

Anyway, leftovers were the order of the day when we got home and we were very happy to have those porcupine meatballs to warm up and serve with a quick mashed potato. This is a picture from the night before, when we dished them up onto a bed of sweet potato that we had cooked in the slow cooker.

Porcupine meatballs, cooked in the pressure cooker.

Porcupine meatballs, cooked in the pressure cooker.

Both times they were yummy!

Today I kept myself a little busier. I have been given more lemons, so more lemon butter was made (natch!).

Lemon butter anyone?

Lemon butter, anyone?

I made a double batch, because I wanted to give some away and I wanted to make these. Hidden Treasure Muffins, but made using the lemon butter instead of Dulce de Leche this time. The Boy was keen to take some into the office tomorrow.

I wanted something low fuss for dinner, so I filled my small crock pot with my Lentil and Barley Hot Pot.

That’s smelling luscious and I’m looking forward to tucking in soonish. I also decided to do something with a bag of frozen, over-ripe bananas that are taking up space in my freezer and annoying me.

And don't they look attractive?

And don’t they look attractive?

So I turned them into chocolate ice-cream. The Boy came in as I was finishing and decided it was his duty as The Man of The House to lick the bowl.

Chocolate soft serve ice-cream.

Chocolate soft serve ice-cream.

He declared it to be “good.”

Yes. I will be posting instructions for this very soon. I’m going to have my dinner first though.

See you all soon!

Our refilled biscuit barrel.

Okay, so my driving assessment didn’t happen today, because reasons. I have to go back tomorrow.

I came home and worked off the cumulative fury in my front garden, pruning pretty much 7/8 of the rose bushes off. It worked.

The bushes look like they’ll face the next growing season much better too!

Anyway, when I came in I remembered that a request had been made for some more cookies, preferably ones with chunks of chocolate and a touch of salt. So I thought I’d try a new recipe and made this one here. Coconut chocolate chunk cookies with sea salt.

Coconut chocolate chink biscuits

Coconut chocolate chunk biscuits.

The Boy says they are good. I haven’t tasted them yet. If I agree with him, then they may end up on a post sometime.

Pasta and other things mixed in a baking dish.

Pasta and other things mixed in a baking dish.

I decided to do a pasta bake for dinner. So I threw a few handfuls of pasta on to cook, diced up a zucchini and a capsicum, drained a can of chickpeas and cut up some of that BBQ chook we’ve got in the fridge. When the pasta was cooked, I mixed them all together in a pyrex baking dish with what was left in the jar of pesto we had. (Another thing for the list.)

Make a quick cheese sauce to bind.

Make a quick cheese sauce to bind.

Then I made a white sauce and mixed through a few handfuls of grated tasty cheese and some mixed Italian herbs, salt and pepper. The whole lot was placed into the oven (which had been on for the cookies) and baked at 180°C for about 40 mins.

The end result.

The end result.

At that stage, I took it out and sprinkled the top with some home-made wholegrain breadcrumbs that I keep in the fridge – for added texture. It was baked a further 10 minutes after that.

Then we tucked in. I had a small serving so I could follow it up with a bit of the leftover chocolate fudge pudding. The orange flavour from the zest was even more pronounced and it was amazing!

Dinner is served.

Dinner is served.

There was enough pasta left for two or three servings. I love cooking things in that glass dish. It is one of a set of three that I bought from Kmart some time ago and which came with clip lock lids. They don’t seem to have the sets any more, but you can buy singles like this one.

Hot fudge pudding and ice cream. I'd earned it.

Hot fudge pudding and ice cream. I’d earned it.

They’re very affordable and it means that, when the dish is cool, you can pop the lid on and put it in the fridge. No fiddling with cling wrap, no transferring to a different dish, easy to reheat in – gotta be happy with that. 🙂  They are available in square and rectangle and several different sizes and I’d recommend them, especially to those just starting out. You want stuff that is versatile and that you love using. I think perhaps I should do a post on this…

Anyway, I am now very tired from my gardening exertions and ready to crash.

TTFN

 

 

Caraway and Lemon Biscotti

Grind the caraway seeds in a pestle and mortar.

These are among my personal favourite biscotti. (If you would like a primer on biscotti, then please click here: Biscotti 101)

I created these by adapting a recipe I found in a book compellingly entitled Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favourites, which I believe I bought in a Barnes and Noble store in Baltimore, Maryland, sometime in 2006.

It was originally a recipe for Anise and Lemon Biscotti, but I didn’t have any Aniseeds, and didn’t want to go buy some, so I substituted caraway seeds instead.

I also found the dough was too dry at the end of mixing it. However I’d had to zest a lemon for the recipe, so I juiced that and mixed the juice into the dough.

It was a triumph. A little piece of citrusy heaven. Trust me. If you like lemon-flavoured anything, then you’ll love these.

They are among the most requested in my Christmas Collection and now I share them with you.

They are the perfect thing to enjoy a quiet moment with a cuppa before going back to being an adult.

Start by sifting the plain flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together into a bowl.

Sift the dry ingredients together.

Sift the dry ingredients together.

Then add the zest of a lemon or two. You’ll need around 2 tablespoonfuls.

Now you’ll need to grind your caraway seeds the best that you can. Use either a pestle and mortar or a small electric coffee grinder you use solely for this purpose.

Grind the caraway seeds in a pestle and mortar.

Grind the caraway seeds in a pestle and mortar.

Add them to your flour mix, stir through and set aside.

Add your zest and seeds and stir together.

Add your zest and seeds and stir together.

In a separate bowl, lightly beat together 2 whole eggs and 1 egg white.

eggs!

Eggs!

Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir to achieve a smooth dough.

If you manage to do that with just the eggs, then you have my congratulations.

If not, then juice the lemons that you have zested and add the strained juice to your dough – little by little – until it all comes together.

Be careful not to make it too wet...

Be careful not to make it too wet…

Line an oven tray with baking paper. Using a spatula and floured hands, scoop half the dough out of the bowl and onto one side of the baking sheet. Repeat on the other side.

Shape as best you can into logs. Remember that they will spread as they bake, so try to keep the inner edges at least 6 inches apart.

It's a messy job, but someone has to do it.

It’s a messy job, but someone has to do it.

Bake at 180°C/350°F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top of each log is firm.

(This is the perfect time to wash your mixing bowl and other utensils.)

Remove to a wire rack until cool enough to handle – around 15 mins. Reduce your oven to 150°C/325°F.

The lovely lemon tinge from the juice sets these biscotti apart.

The lovely lemon tinge from the juice sets these biscotti apart.

Now is the time to cut them into 1.5 cm/½ inch thick slices with a serrated knife.

Then, place them back onto the baking sheet, cut side down.

Traditionally biscotti are cut on the diagonal.

Traditionally biscotti are cut on the diagonal.

Bake for a further 15 minutes. Remove to cool on racks.

They will firm up on standing, so don’t be concerned if they still seem soft in the middle.

Ah. Bliss.

Caraway and Lemon Biscotti

  • Servings: approx 36 biscotti
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

2 cups plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1 cup sugar

2 whole eggs

1 egg white

1 tbsp caraway seeds, ground

1 tbsp freshly grated lemon peel (zest)

Strained juice of lemon (reserved)

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350°F. Line a baking sheet with paper and set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.

Add the lemon zest and ground caraway seeds.

In a small bowl, lightly beat together the whole eggs and egg white.

Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir to form a smooth dough. Add lemon juice as required to achieve the correct consistency.

Using floured hands and a spatula, scoop half the dough into a log shape on one side of the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough on the other side – spacing the logs at least 6 inches apart.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top of each log is firm.

Remove with a long spatula to a wire rack and cool for 10 to 15 mins.

Reduce the heat of the oven to 150°C/325°F.

Using a serrated knife, cut each log on the diagonal into ½ inch slices.

Place slices back onto the lined baking trays, cut side down and bake for a further 15 minutes.

Remove and cool on racks.

These biscotti will continue to harden as they cool.

Will keep for several weeks, stored in an airtight container.

Flourless Orange Almond Cake

Ok. So I wasn’t intending to post this today, but someone asked me to get this up here post haste.

So imagunna.

This is not a budget dish. The nuts can cost quite a bit and the whole cake cost me around AUD$12.

It is incredibly easy to make, tastes gorgeous and ticks the gluten-free box (which is what I was after when I made it). However, for a special occasion treat that needs to be coeliac-friendly without too much fiddling around, it is fabulous.

Fabulous, I say!

Ahem.

Flourless Orange and Almond Cake

Flourless Orange and Almond Cake

I was wanting a birthday cake for a friend who does an awful lot of work for a group I’m involved with – she’d allowed her birthday to pass under the radar, so to speak, and this simply was not on.  I’ve also always wanted to try to make a flourless cake and, as one of our number is coeliac, this seemed to be the time to do it.  I thought about all the decadent flourless chocolate cake recipes that I have pinned, but she is a Japanese lady and I’ve noted her preference for lighter flavours and textures.

Then I remembered this thing called an orange and almond cake and went searching.

I found this recipe here.

It’s incredibly simple. In fact this post is going to be rather picture-heavy because there really isn’t much to describe.

You start by simmering two oranges in water for 2 hours.

Simmer your oranges.

Simmer your oranges.

Let them cool, then blitz them to smithereens in a food processor. They will be incredibly soft after their extended time in hot water.

Heat your oven to 190°C/375°F.

Blitz the oranges- seeds, skin and all.

Blitz the oranges- seeds, skin and all.

Meanwhile, mix caster sugar and 6 eggs until the sugar is dissolved.

Yes. That is a lot of eggs.

Yes. That is a lot of eggs.

It will look light and fluffy. Like this:

Well-mixed eggs and sugar...

Well-mixed eggs and sugar…

Add your orange pulp to the mixer bowl with the eggs and sugar and give it a further whisking.

Add the orange puree to the eggs.

Add the orange puree to the eggs.

Now add your almond meal and baking powder. You can attempt to sift this but it may drive you mad. It may work better to simply knock as many lumps out as you can manage. Also, if you are making this for coeliacs, please, please, please check that your baking powder is gluten free too. Thank you.

Mix well.

Mix in the almond meal.

Mix in the almond meal.

Now, line a springform pan. Mine are non-stick, so I simply covered the base with baking paper for ease of serving, and left it at that. The size of the pan is not something that really matters.

Fill a lined springform tin with your cake batter.

Fill a lined springform tin with your cake batter.

Scatter a couple of handfuls of flaked almonds over the top.

Scatter some flaked almonds over the top.

Scatter some flaked almonds over the top.

Then pop it into the oven for an hour or so, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. The almonds on the top will be nicely toasted. To make things a little easier for you, place the cake tin on a flat baking tray like a cookie sheet.

A beautifully tanned result.

A beautifully tanned result.

Allow to cool in the tin. Run a blade around the tin before you release the spring. Sprinkle the top with some icing (confectioner’s or powdered) sugar before serving. I didn’t, as I didn’t have any that was gluten-free. The cake still tasted wonderful.

Well, this bloke thought so anyway.

Three year olds are the toughest critics, like, *ever*.

Three year olds are, like, the toughest critics *ever*

Just don’t forget to take a picture of it before you serve it up, like I may have….

Better late than never.

Better late than never.

Flourless Orange and Almond Cake

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

2 medium size oranges
6 eggs
250g superfine sugar
250g almond meal (almond flour or ground almonds)
1 tsp baking powder
2 handfuls of flaked almonds
Icing sugar, for dusting
 

Method

Wash the oranges well. Place them in a medium saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. 
Turn the heat down and simmer for two hours.  Remove from the water and allow to cool.
 
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F.  Line a 20 to 28cm springform cake tin with paper.
Place the whole oranges into a food processor and blend until smooth.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs and the sugar until the sugar has dissolved.
Add the oranges to the mix and whisk again.
Add the almond meal and baking powder and mix until well combined.
Pour the mixture into the lined tin, smooth out with a spatula and then scatter the almond flakes over the top.
Bake for 1 hour, then test with a skewer. If it comes out clean, it’s done. If not put it back until it does. The cake should be golden on top.
Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack, then dust with icing sugar.  Serve with a dollop of double cream.
2015-04-30 12.41.32

Coconut Almond Biscotti

Coconut Almond biscotti

It has been  pointed out to me ever so gently, that I haven’t yet finished my series on biscotti (I got sick and then preserving took precedence…) so here we go.

This is a very simple recipe that packs a big punch in both visual impact and taste terms. The only downside to it is that it can be quite pricey due to its use of whole, blanched almonds.

So, feel free to use slivered or flaked almonds if they are more within your price range. The flavour will be the same, it just will look a little different and have a slightly less “robust” texture.

Coconut Almond biscotti

Coconut Almond biscotti

This is an extremely unfussy recipe. It’s so easy that, if you blink, you’ll miss it. So pay attention.

Turn your oven on to preheat to 180°C/ 350°F.

In a medium-sized bowl mix together your caster sugar, eggs  and some finely grated orange rind (zest).

Start your biscotti with this

Start your biscotti with this

You can do this by hand with a wire balloon whisk or use an electric mixer if you have one.

It will look like this after mixing.

It will look like this after mixing.

However, the dough is about to get heavy. So, using a wooden spoon or spatula, mix in your flours, desiccated (shredded) coconut and almonds.

Add your dry ingredients all at once.

Add your dry ingredients all at once.

Stir well.

And you're done.

And you’re done.

That’s it. Hard, wasn’t it?

Line a baking tray with paper and divide your dough into two portions. With floured hands, roll each portion into a 20cm log and place on the tray.

Be aware that they will spread a little, so don’t place them smack bang next to each other! Also, don’t stress over the shape, just do the best you can.

The dough is not soft and quite easy to handle.

The dough is not soft and quite easy to handle.

Now pop them in the oven for 35 minutes, or until slightly browned. Wash up your measuring and mixing things while this is going on and then hunt out: a trivet, another baking tray, a cutting board and serrated knife – make sure it’s a serrated knife, or it will all end in tears – and a cooling rack.

First baking done.

First baking done.

When it looks like this, take it out of the oven and set aside for 15 minutes or so to cool a little. You won’t want to cut them fresh from the oven or they will crumble under your knife (see above warning about tears).

Turn your oven down to 160°C/325°F.  Most of the cooking is done, from now on you’ll just be trying to dry them out.

When the logs are cool to the touch, using the aforementioned serrated knife, cut them into 1cm  or ¼ inch thick slices. Traditionally this is done slightly on the diagonal, but you don’t have to do it this way.

Cut your logs into slices

Cut your logs into slices.

Place the slices flat onto a lined baking tray and pop them back into the oven for 10 mins, then take them out, turn them over and put them back in for another 10 mins.

Bake for a second time.

Bake for a second time.

If you would like them slightly darker, then bake them longer. Be prepared for your kitchen to smell like paradise.

Allow them to cool on the trays. Basically by the time the second batch is at the halfway point, the biscotti on the first tray should be cool enough to move to a rack. This will free up your tray for any left over slices.

Serve dunked into something hot: coffee, tea, hot chocolate.

Try not to eat them all at once.

Coconut Almond Biscotti

  • Servings: makes 30
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

1 cup (220g) caster sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp finely grated orange rind or zest

1 1/3 cups (200g) plain flour

½ cup (50g) SR flour

2/3 cups (50g) desiccated (shredded) coconut

1 cup (160g) blanched almonds

Method

Preheat oven to moderate. 180°C/ 350°F.

In a medium bowl, beat together sifted caster sugar, orange rind and eggs.

Add sifted flours, coconut and nuts and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon to form a sticky dough.

Divide dough into two portions.

Using floured hands, roll/shape each portion into a 20cm/ 10 inch log and place on a lined oven tray.

Bake for around 35 minutes or until slightly browned; cool on the tray for 15 minutes.

Reduce the oven heat to moderately slow, 160°C/325°F.

Using a serrated (bread)knife, cut the logs into diagonal slices 1 cm/¼ inch thick.

Place the slices flat onto lined baking trays and return to the oven for around 25 minutes, or until dry and crisp.

Turn halfway through baking.

Cool on tray.