Sunday, December 19, 2010

Week 12 Christmas Cookies

The Finale!

for the finale I wanted to make a sweet platter.  so I chose 3 I have been wanting to make.
Caramelised Pecans
Raspberry Marshmellows

Candy Cane truffles

Caramelised Pecans
125gm Pecan halves
50g ground hazelnuts
50g caster sugar
1 egg white (or 1 reconstituted egg white if you are concerned about salmonella)
225g sugar
65ml water

mix hazelnuts, caster sugar and egg white to form a paste.
Using a little of the hazelnut paste, sandwich together two pecan halves.
put sugar and water in a pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, increase heat and cook until the syrup turns golden, keep watch of this as I burned my first batch. 
drop pecans into syrup one at a time and lift with fork or candy dipper and put in baking paper to cool and harden. 
Store in airtight container for up to 4 days.

makes 35

Raspberry Marshmallows
600gm frozen raspberries - defrosted
7 gold strength gelatine leaves, softened in water for 5 minutes
375gm caster sugar
150ml water
55gm egg white
snow sugar for dusting (if you can't find snw sugar, use a combination of icing (confectioners) sugar and cornflour.

strain raspberries to get 150ml of juice, heat till luke warm, squeeze gelatine of water and put in raspberry juice and set aside.
combine caster sugar and water and simmer till it reaches 121degrees C, when its about 110degreesC, whisk egg white until soft peaks form.
add raspberry to sugar mixture and stir.  keep the whisk in the egg whites and pour hot raspberry sugar mixture in a steady stream into egg whites, beat for 15 minutes.
spoon into baking tray lined with baking paper and dusted with snow sugar.  smooth top of marshmallow mix and dust with more snow sugar, set aside at room temperature for 4 hours.

Turn marshmallow onto board and dust with more snow sugar.  (marshmallow could be wet but should hold its shape.  cut with hot knife into preferred sized squares and dust all sides with snow sugar. 
keep in airtight container for up to 5 days.

makes about 30 or more if you cut them smaller!  makes alot though!

Candy Cane truffles
125ml double cream
150gm white chocolate
25 gm crushed candy canes
40g icing sugar

Place cream and broken up white chocolate into saucepan over low heat, stir for 4-5 mins till chocolate has melted, set aside to cook
whisk cream mixture till thick and chill for 3-4 hours.
add crushed candy canes, add to chocolate mixture, drop teaspoons onto a place and chill for another hour.
roll truffles in icing sugar and between hands into neat balls.  chill for a further 2 hours before serving.  keeps up to 4 days

makes 20

Week 12 Twelve Weeks of Christmas:

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Week 11 Christmas Cookies

Chocolate Coconut Panforte

•Coconut Oil, to grease
•100g whole macadamias or hazelnuts
•100g whole blanched almonds
•1 Tblsp Cacao Nibs
•4 Tblsp Coconut Flour
•2 Tblsp Tapioca Flour
•2 Tblsp Raw Cacao Powder  (or a good quality cocoa powder)
•1/3 cup sultanas
•½ cup mixed peel or chopped glace apricots
•1/3 cup dried cranberries or cherries
•1/4 cup coconut oil

•1 tsp ground cinamon
•1 tsp ground coriander
•1 tsp mixed spice
•70g Raw Dark Chocolate
•½ cup agave syrup or maple syrup
•1 Tblsp rapadura sugar

Bake nuts in a pre heated oven (approx 180C) for 5 mins until lightly browned.  Reduce heat to 160C.  Brush a cake pan with coconut oil and line bottom with baking paper.
Place roasted nuts in a large bowl. Add dried fruits, coconut oil and cacao nibs - stir to combine. Sift over the combined flours, cocoa, and spices - stir to combine.

Place chocolate, agave syrup and rapadura in a small saucepan and stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves and chocolate melts.

Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, without stirring, for 2 minutes or until a candy thermometer reaches 112°C or ‘soft ball stage’ (If you don’t have a thermometer, drop 1 tsp of syrup into a glass of cold water. If the syrup becomes a soft ball it’s at soft ball stage).

Pour the hot chocolate mixture into the fruit mixture and, working quickly, stir until well combined. Spoon into prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until just firm. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.  Dust with snow sugar or confectioners sugar when cool.

Week 11 Twelve Weeks of Christmas:

Friday, December 3, 2010

Week 10 Christmas Cookies

that means.. yup - that means its just 3 weeks till Christmas!  yay!!!

today.. another gluten free treat, since I'm in the tropics this time of year, something to celebrate this fabulous warm weather! 

Lime coconut cookies

1 cup coconut flour
3/4 cup rice flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
150gm softened butter
2 eggs
1/2 tablespoon grated lemon  zest
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon water

Pre-heat oven at 180 degrees C.

Mix coconut flour, rice flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a large mixing bowl beat the sugar, butter, eggs, lemon and lime zest, lemon and lime juices and water. Mix in flour mixture until well blended.
Shape dough into small balls and place on an un-greased cookie sheet. lightly flatten.
Bake 10-12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack, dust with icing sugar.

Week 10 Twelve Weeks of Christmas:

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Week 9 Christmas Cookies

Now these tasted good, if not a little sweet, but I had to cook it longer than the recipe called for (I've increased it below), These are delicious and chewy and would be amazing with ice cream for dessert while still warm.  I added both macadamias and freshly roasted chestnuts, but don't put in chestnuts, they turn out a bit too hard, and not a good crunchy hard like the macadamia.  These are definitely going in to my Christmas cookie gift boxes! 

Chestnut Macadamia Brownies *gluten free

225gm butter
120gm bittersweet/cooking chocolate
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup chestnut flour (sifted) *not water chestnut flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup coarsely chopped roasted macadamias

Preheat oven to 180c. Grease brownie pan. Microwave chocolate and butter for approx 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted, set aside to cool. Beat eggs and sugar until thick and pale; add vanilla. Fold chocolate mixture into eggs and sugar until well combined. Sift in chestnut flour and baking powder and fold gently into batter, mixing until just blended. Fold in macadamias. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 30 minutes before cutting into squares.

Week 9 Twelve Weeks of Christmas:

Friday, November 19, 2010

mmmm Bloody Mary

oh the perfect breakfast drink for those warm summer weekends..

so I didn't have it for breakfast, its 3pm though, and the bottle of v8 was staring at me! 

1.5 shots vodka
1 dill pickle, cut lengthways in quarters
1/8 fresh lime
freshly ground pepper
hot sauce/tabasco
V8 original or hot and spicy

place ice in glass, pour over vodka, add pickle, pepper, hot sauce, squeeze lime and leave in rind, top with V8 for the perfect spicy Bloody Mary thats almost good for you! 

Week 8 Christmas Cookies

Pecan Blondies (gluten free)

First make sure you have some gluten free flour mix.. this makes just less than 2 cups, and you only need 1&1/4 for the recipe.  I couldn't be bothered working out the exact measurements, I'll use the mix for something else instead.

Gluten Free Flour Mix:

1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons tapioca flour/starch
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum

Mix all ingredients together until well blended.

Ingredients for Blondies:

•170g (1 1/2 stick) salted butter, melted
•1 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
•4 teaspoons vanilla extract
•2 eggs
•2 teaspoons coconut milk
•1/2 teaspoon baking powder
•1 1/4 cups flour mix (see above)
•1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 170c (350f) degrees. Lightly grease an 7x11 inch pan with coconut oil.
Mix melted butter and sugar together in a medium sized bowl. Beat in vanilla, eggs and milk until well blended.
Mix remaining ingredients into the egg mix until well blended. Pour into prepared pan and smooth the top out.

Bake blondies until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

 Week 8 Twelve Weeks of Christmas:

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Week 7 Christmas cookies

Mulled Wine cookies


140g raisins
75g dried cranberries
150ml red wine (I used a shiraz)
100g redcurrent jelly
pinch of chilli power
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
50g walnuts, chopped
50g blanched almonds, chopped
100g plain dark chocolate, finely chopped
4 tablespoons coconut flour
2 tablespoons tapioca flour
finely grated rind of 1 orange
50g unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
icing sugar for dusting


put raisins, cranberries, wine, redcurrent jelly and spices into saucepan and simmer till jelly has disolved, bring boil and boil for 2-3 mins until syrup is reduced by half, set aside to cool.

in a bowl add chopped nuts, chocolate, flours, orange rind, butter and egg, add cooled fruit mixture and stir till combined, place spoonfuls onto baking sheet and bake in oven at 170c for 15-20 mins, cool and dust with icing sugar.

these are so easy and so delicious!!  my room mate is commissioning me to make them for her families christmas baskets this year.  that good!  yup.

Week 7 Twelve Weeks of Christmas:

Saturday, November 6, 2010

12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies - Week 6

Snowman and Reindeer Cake Pops

I have been dying to try my hand at Cake Pops.  I have a baking friend, who is also my gym friend, and I like to call her my vodka friend too, after the slightly crazy evenings we have had whilst drinking vodka... another one is due soon, and since its almost Summer down this way, I'm sure there will be one or two. 

So Reindeer and Snowman were the cake pop adventure of the weekend.  We had a blast, we laughed so hard our sides hurt.  I baked a Chocolate cake from the Edmonds cookbook.  (A New Zealand icon and almost every NZ woman has at least one edition in her cookbook collection) The chocolate cake was delicious.  We followed instructions from Bakerellas blog for basic cake pops.

Chocolate Cake:
175g softened butter
1&3/4 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
2 cups white flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1 cup milk

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla till light and fluffy, add eggs, one at a time and mix well.  in separate bowl, sift dry ingredients together.  alternately add flour mixture and milk to butter mixture till all mixed, pour into greased and lined 22cm round cake tin and bake in oven 180C deg for 30 mins or until cake tester spike thingy comes out clean.  rest on wire rack until cooled.

Our chocolate melts were not viscous enough, so we had to add some cacao butter so we could dip and coat properly.  The edible pens I bought were useless, so we improvised with toothpicks and food colouring.

next we decorated.

orange coloured white chocolate rolled into small noses
licorice sticks for the hats
black food colouring

dark chocolate piped into antelors on wax paper then cooled
M&M minis
Glace cherries, halved

Voila!  super cute cake pops!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Chocolate chestnut caramel cupcakes *gluten free*

I made these for a Halloween morning tea we had at work, but they could easily be made for Christmas, with the chestnuts, its kinda christmassy, and they are good!

ok I confess, the cupcakes were from a packet mix, its a new packet mix made with chestnut flour, I didn't have enough time to make any from scratch, I have a recipe, but I have to order chestnut flour on line as its not in the shops yet. sooo..

make 1 batch of chocolate chestnut flour cupcakes.
1 marshmallow per cupcake
red food colouring
black food colouring
chocolate melts
can of condensed milk turned into dulce de leche
150g cream cheese
1 cup icing/powdered sugar

using the cone method, cone out your cupcakes and fill with caramel replacing the top.
mix cream cheese, icing sugar, 2 tbsp caramel. put 3 tbsp of mixture in another bowl and add red food colouring to desired colour.
top cupcakes with the caramel icing, then red icing.
with a toothpick, dip into red food colouring and make squiggly vein lines on your marshmallows
melt chocolate and add a few drops of black colouring, pipe small round for the eyeballs pupil on wax paper, and pop in freezer for 10mins to set.
using a small bit of melted chocolate attach choc pupil to marshmallow eyeball and set onto top of cupcake nestled inside the red icing. voila!!

Week 5 Twelve Weeks of Christmas:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Amaretto Cookies

12 Weeks of Christmas cookies - o what a joy baking for Christmas is!! I heard on the radio this morning one of the DJ's horrified that Christmas decorations and displays were already up, reminding us that Christmas is 2 months away.. are you kidding me? I wish the decorations started last month!

Amaretto cookies

225gm blanched almonds, finely ground (almond meal)
4 drops almond extract
3/4 cup sugar
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Combine almonds, extract, sugars, and lightly beaten egg whites in medium bowl.
Knead mixture until dough is firm.
Moisten hands and form dough into 1" balls.
Place balls on cookie sheet and bake at 250F (120C) for about 60 minutes, on bottom rack in oven.
Place cookies on cooling rack and dust with powdered sugar while still warm.

Tip: these cookies don't expand - they cook in the size and shape you made them. don't make them flat though as they will lose that chewy centre.

Also Gluten free.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Thai Chicken and Galangal soup

I got this from a slow cooker cook book, but its an easy one to do in a pot.

2x5cm(ish) piece of Galangal, thinly sliced
4 kaffir lime leaves - scored
1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander root (this is literally the root on your coriander bunch)
1 teaspoon finely chopped red chillies
500ml coconut milk
250ml chicken stock
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1.5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 teaspoons grated palm sugar or brown sugar
500g sliced chicken breast

In slowcooker or pot, place galangal, 2 of the lime leaves, coriander root, chillies, coconut milk and stock and simmer over low heat or on medium for 1.5 hours. Add chicken, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar and cook for a further 10-15mins or until chicken is cooked through. Stir through remaining lime leaves and serve. I added some thai eggplants as I found them at the supermarket - if you get yoru hands on some, add them after an hour of cooking to ensure they are soft when serving. garnish with coriander leaves.

soooo good!!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Ratatouille is a traditional French Proven├žal stewed vegetable dish, originating in Nice. Traditionally the vegetables are sauted and most recipes call for it as such, I prefer to bake it in the oven, fewer recipes instruct this method.

I love Ratatouille, I make it regularly, a large batch to last me a week or so. I made one tonight and put it with my baked turkey breast to last me for lunch for the week. I hope you enjoy !

3 zucchini cut into slices
3 long thin eggplants cut into slices (or you can use a medium size regular one chopped into chunks)
red or yellow capsicum (bell pepper) I used a mix of baby ones, cut into strips or chunky pieces
4 large tomatos (I use organic truss tomatos) chopped into wedges
garlic finely chopped
2 thick slices of red onion chopped finely (I don't like alot of red onion in this dish, but a little is ok)
a sprig of rosemary or herbs de provence if you have some.
sea salt
olive oil

Put the vegetables into a bowl, sprinkle salt, garlic and rosemary on top and pour in about a tablespoon of olive oil, toss well and place in casserole dish and into an oven, preheated to 200c for 45 mins.

I like to pour a little balsamic on before serving. I've also used carrots in this dish before too. v.yummy.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Starting off on a good note... Oxtail ...

I decided to start this blog when a couple of friends of mine kept insisting I save morsels or share my recipes with them. I like to find a recipe, gather ingredients and make a night of it. It can be a meal I've enjoyed, or something someone else made that I tried somewhere or just a recipe that looks good. I cook like this during winter mostly.. and when I'm trying to save money.. makes for cheaper good meals .. reallllly good meals, and an extra bit of satisfaction in them.

tonight was Oxtail and Chorizo Ragu on Black Olive Pappardelle. A blend of recipes I found after fond memories of a meal I had in an Auckland restaurant more than 10 years ago, and the lack of regular pappardelle that made this dish a bit extra than intended.

2kg Oxtail
2 glasses of a robust red wine (something you would drink, not too cheap)
2 sprigs rosemary
1 400g can of crushed tomatos
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 carrot chopped
1 onion chopped
1 stick of celery chopped
1.5 teaspoons of smoked paprika
500ml beef stock
1 chorizo sliced
zest of half an orange
olive oil
pappardelle (any flavour you find, regular is good)
Fresh Parmesan

Soak oxtail in cold salted water for approx. 2 hours.

Pre-heat oven to 170c.

Drain Oxtail and put in large pot of fresh water and boil then simmer for 10-15 mins.. remove any scum that surfaces, drain and pat dry. Place in casserole dish.

In a large skillet over a high heat, pour a generous amount of olive oil and brown the oxtail, remove from pan and put in casserole dish.
Add chopped garlic, onion, chorizo then the carrot and celery. Fry till onion is a little caramelised. Add tomatos, paprika, orange zest, half the wine, stir and pour into casserole dish. Add remaining wine and beef stock. Add to casserole dish and bake in oven for 3 - 4 hours till meat is falling off bones.

Remove oxtail and seperate meat from bone. This is a little messy, unless you have time to cool first. Discard rosemary twigs and bay leaves and bones. Put meat back in sauce, and transfer to saucepan or put your dish onto a hotplate, over medium heat to thicken, add 2 tbsp of cornflour mixed in 2 tbsp cold water to thicken if desired.

Cook pasta in boiling salted water. Drain and toss with some olive oil.

Add sauce to pasta and toss well. Serve with a generous serve of freshly grated parmesan and your favourite red wine. Use a good sourdough bread to mop up remaining sauce if desire - the one in my picture is a spinach/feta sourdough I get from the farmers market near my house.

I try to use as much organic or local produce as possible, I try to be as environmental and sustainable in my cooking as possible.