23 April 2016
So this was just meant to be “another way to use my baked custard base from the crème brûlée recipe”, but had the unintended consequence of my mother declaring it “the best thing she’s eaten in years”. Which is kind of a put-down really, considering she’s had the opportunity to eat everything else on the blog while I’ve been testing recipes… oh, well!
Unlike crème brûlée which is a silky baked custard with toffee on top, crème caramel is a silky baked custard with toffee on the bottom (which is then flipped over so the toffee is on top anyway). While I really enjoyed the crème brûlée I made earlier in the season, I’m forced to concede that my mother may have a point when it comes to this crème caramel.
Not to toot my own horn (because it’s not like I invented the dish), but this was absolutely divine!
½ cup caster sugar
¼ cup water
Yep, that’s it. A bit of sugar and water is all it takes to knock a simple baked custard out of the park.
1. Preheat oven to 160°C (320°F).
2. Place the sugar and water into a saucepan and stir until the sugar dissolves.
3. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat until it begins to boil, then reduce to medium until it begins to caramelise. (DO NOT WALK AWAY FROM IT! Boiling sugar can be dangerous if unattended. Also, try not to spill it on yourself… that would be rather unfortunate, not least of all because then you'd have to start again.)
4. Once the sugar syrup has reached the desired colour (a deep amber) remove it from the heat and pour it into a 15cm ramekin or another ovenproof dish of a similar size. (You REALLY need to do this right away. The sugar syrup will continue to caramelise until it starts to cool down, so you want it OUT of the saucepan as soon as possible to prevent it from burning.)
5. Once the toffee has cooled and is completely solid (approx. 30 minutes later), move the ramekin into a high-sided baking tray and pour the custard base over the toffee until the dish is almost completely full. (Unless you’re using a really deep ramekin.)
6. Fill the baking tray with enough boiling water until it reaches around halfway up the sides of the ramekin.
7. Place the baking tray into the middle rack of the preheated oven and bake for 60-70 minutes or until there is just a slight wobble in the centre of the custard.
8. Allow the crème caramel to cool, then place into the fridge overnight to chill.
9. Use a sharp knife to carefully cut around the inside edge of the ramekin to release the crème caramel.
10. Place your serving plate over the ramekin tightly and flip it over.
11. Lift away the ramekin (slowly) and serve immediately.
Serves 2-4 (or just 1, honestly).
A video of this recipe is also available - https://youtu.be/U6-UX-VmABA.
If you have a recipe to request, it's not too late! Please send me an email and you may see it in Season 5.
18 April 2016
4.12 Black Forest Gâteau Macarons – Advanced – Baking & Desserts
Almost a year ago, the final episode of FoodPoint Season 1 was for my basic macarons. For the final episode of Season 4, it seems fitting to revisit macarons and apply what I’ve learned since then.
I received a request from CookingwithKarma, another popular Australian food blogger, for another flavour of macaron. I chose chocolate because it seemed like the best place to start, then decided to make things a bit more interesting by making a multi-layered macaron. The only question was: what should it be?
Black Forest Gâteau has been my favourite cake since I was a kid. The combination of rich chocolate, sour cherries and whipped cream still makes me happy, so this seemed like the logical choice.
I encourage you to check out CookingwithKarma’s YouTubechannel as there’s really something for everyone. Otherwise, it’s on to the recipe!
PART A – CHOCOLATE MACARONS
Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my macaron recipe using Italian meringue to work properly with this dessert. I’m not completely sure, but I think that the cocoa dries it out too much? Anyway, after several failed attempts, I had to use a different recipe that used the less-stable French meringue.
The result? Flavour is great, but around half of the macaron shells ended up cracked. C’est la vie! It doesn’t really matter anyway, since you won’t really see 2/3 of them in the end!
3 egg whites, room temperature
2 cups icing sugar
1 cup almond meal
3 tbsp caster sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder
¼ tsp cream of tartar
¼ tsp salt
As mentioned previously, icing sugar is also known as powdered sugar or confectioner’s sugar, and not to be confused with icing mixture.
1. Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F) and line a couple of trays with baking paper.
2. Place the icing sugar, almond meal, cocoa powder and salt into a food processor and blend for 1-2 minutes until well combined, then sift onto a sheet of baking paper and place aside. (You can sift into a bowl instead, but I find the baking paper makes it easier to funnel the mixture.)
3. Place the egg whites and cream of tartar into a benchtop/stand mixer and whip to a soft peak. (This means it just holds a shape.)
4. Gradually whisk in the caster sugar a bit at a time until the meringue forms a stiff peak. (This means it will hold a shape easily. To test this, you could tip the bowl upside-down over your head and it shouldn’t pour out. Or, you can just learn to judge it by eye.)
5. Funnel approx. ¼ of the dry ingredients into the meringue and fold in gently until combined. (Try not to overmix.)
6. Repeat Step 5 until all of the dry ingredients have been added. (The meringue will have mostly collapsed, but don’t be too concerned.)
7. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag and pipe blobs, approx. 2.5cm (1 in) in diameter, onto the lined baking trays.
8. Bash the base of each baking tray against the benchtop a few times to collapse any air pockets.
9. Place aside for at least 30 mins so that the surface forms a skin.
10. Bake for 14-17 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool before filling. (They can also be stored in an airtight container for up to a week before filling.)
Makes 30-40 macaron shells.
A video of this part of the recipe is also available - https://youtu.be/L5mvxbEXoqU.
PART B – SOUR CHERRY FILLING
I’ll be honest, you really could just use premade cherry jam for this, but I don’t think it’s sour enough.
Plus, this is an Advanced recipe, so you’re sort of expected to take the more difficult route.
425g jar of sour cherries, in juice
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
See, it’s not so bad anyway! Only 3 ingredients.
1. Drain the liquid from the jar of cherries into a small saucepan, then put the cherries aside until needed. (Make sure you drain as much liquid as possible.)
2. Add the sugar to the saucepan and place over a medium-high heat until it begins to bubble.
3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow to bubble for approx. 30 mins or until reduced to a thick syrup.
4. Remove from the heat and melt in the butter, stirring until combined.
5. Place the cherries into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. (You don’t want a puree, but you don’t want the pieces to be too large either.)
6. Transfer the cherries to a bowl, pour over the warm syrup, and mix through.
7. Cover the bowl with cling film and place into the fridge to chill overnight.
8. Drain off the excess liquid (if there is any) and you should be left with a thick, jam-like mixture.
Makes approx. ¾ cup.
PART C – CUSTARD CREAM FILLING
The name says it all, really. Basically make a custard (crème pâtissière) and fold through some whipped cream.
500ml thickened or double cream
3 egg yolks, room temperature
¼ cup caster sugar
2 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract/paste/essence
Nothing too unsual here.
1. Heat the milk and vanilla in a saucepan over medium-high heat until it just begins to simmer, then remove from the heat and place aside.
2. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks to break them up, then add the caster sugar and whisk until light and fluffy.
3. Add the cornflour and whisk until thick and pale.
4. Slowly pour the hot milk into the custard base, whisking constantly until combined.
5. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and place over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until thick and smooth.
6. Transfer to a bowl and place a sheet of cling film onto the surface, and place aside to cool. (The cling film stops it from forming a skin as it cools.)
7. Whip the cream to stiff peaks.
8. Mix the cooled custard to loosen it up, then stir in a dollop of whipped cream to lighten it up.
9. Add the custard to the whipped cream and fold together gently until combined.
10. Use right away, or place into the fridge to chill for use in no more than 48 hours.
Makes approx. 1 litre.
PART D – ASSEMBLING THE MACARONS
As usual, this is probably an unnecessary step, but I’m going to share the process I used.
Some maraschino cherries, stalks attached
1. Take 1 of the macaron shells (preferably a cracked one) and pipe on blobs of the custard cream until the base is covered.
2. Pipe on some of the cherry filling in the gaps. (You won’t need much, it’s fairly potent.)
3. Take a smooth macaron and place it over the top.
4. Take another macaron shells (either smooth or cracked) and repeat Steps 2 and 3.
5. Place the first filled macaron onto the second filled base.
6. Pipe a blob of custard cream on top.
7. Place a maraschino cherry onto the blob of custard cream.
8. It’s finished! Put it onto your serving plate and start on the next one.
9. Repeat Steps 1 to 8 until you run out of macaron shells.
Makes approx. 10 Black Forest Gâteau Macarons.
A video of parts B, C & D of the recipe is available - https://youtu.be/A0c-ldjEF18.
If you have a recipe to request, it's not too late! Please send me an email and I'll see what I can do.
***NOTE: If you didn’t see above, this is the final episode of Season 4. I’ll be back with Season 5 in 6 weeks, but there’ll be updates and bonuses before then so keep an eye out!***
10 April 2016
4.11 Vegan Fried Rice – Low-Fuss – Rice & Pasta
Don’t be scared away by the name! I know that vegan food is largely sneered at by most people, but that doesn’t necessarily make it bad food. Whilst I’m far from a vegan myself, I have to acknowledge that there is a group of people out there who want food without any animal products in them, and that’s their choice.
But you know what? I made this dish, I ate this dish, and I darn well enjoyed it!
This recipe is based on a request from a crazy girl named Ling Ling. Well, she’s not so much a crazy girl as in she’s a crazy alter ego of a reasonably sane girl (it depends who you ask) named Damielou. If you’veread my previous blog posts, you’ll know that Damie is a vlogger. Ling Ling is a party girl who speaks her mind (which appears to function in gibberish) and goes for what she wants (which for the most part appears to be money and alcohol). Either way, she has fun!
This dish is great for a girl on the go as it only takes around 10 minutes from start to finish. It’s fine as a meal all on its own, or you can use it as a side dish with a stirfry.
2 ½ cups cooked rice
2 spring onions, sliced
200g shitake mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup peas
¼ cup corn kernels
¼ cup coriander, roughly chopped
⅓ cup bean sprouts
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp vegan stirfry sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp cooking oil
Okay, so this looks like a lot of ingredients, but that’s because I’ve tried to make this dish interesting by adding lots of different flavours and textures.
The cooked rice should be either boiled or steamed (preferably be Jasmine rice, although regular long grain rice will suffice). As bacteria can form on rice very quickly, it’s best that you use rice that was cooked less than 36 hours before you make this recipe (or 24 just to be safe). It’s recommended that the rice be cold, however.
The peas and corn I used were frozen vegetables that I just thawed out in some warm water and then drained. You could probably also use tinned peas or corn that you’ve drained and rinsed.
The vegan stirfry sauce was a premade bottled product, but – if you prefer – from a bit of messing around I’ve come up with a sauce you can make yourself using 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp rice vinegar, 1 tsp sesame oil and 1 tsp cornflour/cornstarch. Or, if you aren’t restricting yourself to a vegan diet, you could just use some oyster sauce and it should taste fine.
By cooking oil, I would suggest either vegetable oil, rice bran oil, or peanut oil. Olive oil would be a bit overpowering in a recipe like this.
1. Heat the cooking oil in a pan over medium-high heat, then add the sliced spring onions and fry for a minute or so, stirring frequently, until slightly softened.
2. Add the minced ginger and garlic and stirfry for a further 30-60 seconds.
3. Add in the mushrooms and fry for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until soft.
4. Add the peas, corn, and beansprouts and stirfry for a further 30-60 seconds.
5. Add the rice and stir until any clumps have broken up into the individual grains, then continue to stirfry for a further 1-2 minutes.
6. Stir in the sauce (whichever type you end up using) and cook off for another minute.
7. Remove from the heat and stir through the sesame oil and coriander, then serve! (TIP: You can scatter over some toasted cashews or peanuts for an extra hint of texture and flavour.)
Serves 2-4 (depending on whether it’s a main or a side.
A video of this recipe is also available at - https://youtu.be/1z257gCW6OU.
If you have a recipe to request, it's not too late! Please send me an email and I'll see what I can do.
1 April 2016
4.10 Nutella Tart – Low-Fuss – Baking & Desserts
It seems like you can't go anywhere food-related on the internet without stumbling over a few dozen Nutella-based recipes. This week, I'll add to this already crowded market with my simple yet delicious tart.
This recipe is based on a request from my friend Leasha, who – like an ever-increasing number of people – wanted “something with Nutella”. Hopefully this delivers everything she was hoping for!
If you aren’t really a big fan of Nutella, then this probably isn’t for you, but I would still recommend that you give it a try!
400g choc chip cookies
250g unsalted butter
395g sweetened condensed milk
Yep, just 4 ingredients. Any decorations, etc. will increase this, but those would be optional extras.
While Nutella lovers can sometimes be a little overzealous, I would recommend that you refrain from adding more Nutella than what is listed as it could cause problems with the recipe if you don’t also increase the other ingredients by the same ratio.
The cookies I used are 40% chocolate chip. This doesn’t refer to the amount of cocoa in the chocolate chips (although incidentally, this may be close to the mark); it refers to the percentage of chocolate chips in the cookie itself. If you can’t find these, just use any other type of choc chip cookie you can find. If you find something with hazelnuts in it, then that’s good too, as it will enhance the flavour of the Nutella.
I tested this recipe in 3 different versions before settling on this one, and the only reason it works is because of the sweetened condensed milk. Don’t be tempted to swap this for evaporated milk or cream, those versions didn’t work!
1. Break the cookies up into a food processor and blend until they become crumbs, then transfer to a mixing bowl.
2. Melt all of the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then measure out ½ cup of melted butter and place the rest aside until needed later in the recipe. (You shouldn’t need to refrigerate it unless you plan on leaving the tart shell to set overnight, which isn’t really necessary. Just leave it in the saucepan for a couple of hours and it should be fine.)
3. Pour the ½ cup of melted butter over the cookie crumbs and mix together until combined. (The hot butter will likely melt the chocolate chips, but that’s fine, this makes the mixture softer and easier to work with.)
4. Place the cookie crumb mix into a 20-25cm tart tin with a removable base and press out to an even layer on the bottom and sides.
5. Place the tart shell into the fridge to chill for at least 15 minutes or until firm, then move on to Step 6.
6. In the saucepan with the remaining butter, add the sweetened condensed milk and Nutella, then stir together over a low heat until everything is combined and smooth. (There may be a few air bubbles which make it look a bit lumpy, but as long as you can tell it’s just air then that’s fine.)
7. Pour the tart filling into the base, then place into the fridge to set. (It may take a few hours, so overnight it probably the easiest.)
8. To serve, remove from the tin and base, decorate however you like (I just used some whipped cream and strawberries) and allow to sit out of the fridge for around 15 minutes so that it’s easier to cut.
9. Eat it!
Serves 1-12 (realism again! But this is quite rich, so 12 serves is probably the most accurate measure.)
A video of this recipe is also available at - https://youtu.be/H8fD4BmytWU.