Cooking (No. 6!)

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Today’s recipes are for Crisp Coconut Biscuits and Spicy Cheese Biscuits.

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Crisp Coconut Biscuits

4 ozs ( 105g) butter
1 cup caster sugar
2 cups SR flour
1 cup coconut
1 egg (beaten)
Oven temperature:  Moderate or 180C (I have a gas oven)

Line trays with baking paper.
Mix flour, coconut and sugar together.  Melt butter and add to dry ingredients then the beaten egg.  The mixture can be quite stiff and you may find it easier to mix with your hands.  Roll mixture into small balls and place on tray (allow room to spread).  Flatten each ball with a fork and then sprinkle all with sugar of your choice (white granulated, raw, Demerara etc).  Bake 10 – 15 minutes.  Cool on cake racks before storing in air tight container or freezing.

NOTES:
(1) I use a mix of 1 cup SR white flour and 1 cup SR wholemeal flour.  If using this combination you will need to use 2 beaten eggs.
(2) These biscuits freeze and defrost very well.

 

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Spicy Cheese Biscuits
4 ozs (105g) plain white flour
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 ozs (50g) grated cheese
2 ozs (50g) butter
Small amount of cold water
Oven temperature:  Hot – I use 210C in gas oven and top rack in oven

Mix flour, mustard and pepper together and then rub in butter until mixture resembles breadcrumbs (you can do this in a food processor and then tip into bowl).  Mix in cheese and then add enough water to make a stiff pastry dough.  You do not want it wet and sticky!!!!

Lightly flour your working surface, very lightly knead dough and then roll out thinly and cut into shapes.  Bake on trays lined with baking paper for 8 – 10 minutes.  Cool on cake racks before storing in air tight container.

NOTE:  The cayenne pepper is quite strong, so you can reduce to suit your taste.
I’ve never frozen these biscuits.  They will be crisp when fresh but then soften slightly when stored but still taste absolutely delicious.  

 

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Here’s the recipe for the shortbread I made for Christmas 2017.  The easiest and best recipe that I’ve ever tried.  I’ll be using this recipe in future as it’s foolproof.

Easy Shortbread Biscuits

150g plain flour
100g butter
50g caster sugar

Oven Temp – 150C (see note below in red)
Line trays with baking paper

Mix flour, butter and sugar in food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Either add water and continue to make shortbread dough in the processor or put mixture into bowl and add water until you create a firm dough.  (I didn’t measure the water unfortunately as I tend to just add until I get the consistency I want!)

Turn out and knead very lightly to bring dough together.  Wrap and rest in fridge for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle work area with caster sugar and roll dough carefully to the thickness you want for your biscuits.  Cut into shapes, sprinkle with caster sugar and place on trays.  Bake approximately 20 mins.

Please Note:  The original recipe said 180C for 20 mins.  That was too hot for my gas oven and after trial and error I cooked at 150C for 30 minutes and as my oven tends to brown quicker at the back I rotated the trays every 10 mins.  You will need to adjust to suit your oven.

I found it easier to roll out the dough by putting a sheet of baking paper over the top of the dough so that it didn’t stick to the rolling pin.  The first time requires a lot of patience and learning but after that it’s really easy …. AND DELICIOUS!!!!! 🙂

Thursday, 5 October 2017

On Tuesday afternoon I finished off my cooking endeavours with two special slices and I thought I’d share the recipes with you as these two slices are always very popular.

Raspberry Slice (or perhaps a better name is Jam & Macaroon Slice)

You can use any jam for this recipe so changing the name makes sense.  I used the Strawberry Conserve that I’d made yesterday, and I’ve also made it with both apricot and plum conserves.  It’s delicious!

Base:
4ozs (105g) butter
1/2 cup sugar
Yolk of 1 egg
1 cup self raising flour

Topping:
1 egg white
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 cup coconut
Plus baking dish 17.5cm x 27cm x 3.5cm deep lined with baking paper

Preheat oven to 180C or 350F
Cream butter and sugar, add egg yolk and then flour.  Press out and smooth flat in baking tray.  Spread with jam/conserve of your choice.

Beat egg white and sugar until stiff and then fold in coconut.  Gently spread evenly over the jam (this mix is very stiff), place in preheated oven and cook approximately 20 – 30 minutes until macaroon is a light golden brown.  Cool in tray on rack.  Cut into squares when cool.

Note:  I’ve not frozen this slice as it always gets eaten before I get the chance to put any in the freezer 🙂  Macaroon topping may go soft when defrosted.

Chocolate Slice
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Ingredients:
1 cup self raising flour (I normally use White Wings wholemeal SR flour for this recipe but the original recipe was just SR flour)
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup coconut
4ozs (105g) butter
2 dessertspoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 beaten egg

Preheat oven to 150C or 300F
Mix flour, sugar and coconut together in bowl.  Slowly melt butter and cocoa powder, add to dry ingredients, mix lightly then add the beaten egg and vanilla.  Mix well and then press into baking paper lined tray (the same size as shown above).  Bake 20 – 30 minutes and then cool in tray on rack.  When cool, ice with your favourite chocolate icing and sprinkle with either 100s and 1000s or dessicated coconut.  Cut into squares when icing has set.
This slice freezes and defrosts very well.

 

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Jam or Conserve?
Today has been a jam day.  I had a boutique conserve business for about seven years and I still love making conserves but without the pressure of deadlines.  I source my fruit from our trees and local orchardists and then I process it to a certain point before freezing in small batches ready to defrost at a later date and turn into a delicious fruit conserve.

Why do I call it conserve?  Well, the method I use (which is my secret 🙂 ), conserves quite a lot of fruity pieces so that when you spread it on your toast, bread, pancake etc you will also have small pieces of delicious fruit.

I still have apricot, fig, grape and cherry batches in the freezer so yesterday I defrosted the last of the apricot and it was ready to cook with the addition of lemon juice and sugar this morning.  Just a one kilo batch of fruit which nicely turned into four jars of golden apricot conserve (plus a little jar!) …

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Also, while I was grocery shopping a few days ago the strawberry punnets were out for $1.99 for 250g.  Although it’s not the most economical way to buy strawberries, I bought four punnets and this morning I hulled and washed them, cooked them with a little added lemon juice and finally added the sugar to make five jars of delicious strawberry conserve …

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I love the aroma that wafts through the house as the fruit is cooking and I know that the strawberry conserve will be welcomed by grandson Will, as he loves it on his toast in the morning when he stays overnight with us each week.  I also have a strawberry conserve fan in my choir group who called in last night to buy the last jar of my previous batch.  Ruby had bought a jar about a week ago and loved it so much she says she’s eating more toast so that she can enjoy the strawberry conserve 🙂

I’m planning on taking some fig, apricot and strawberry conserves to my choir this week to see if anyone else is interested.  It would be nice to be able to turn the fruit I currently have in the freezer into conserves so that I can free up the space for this coming summer’s fruit harvest.  Though I will have to go out and buy some more jars as there are none left in the cupboard 😦

On our 1/3rd of an acre block we have apricots, plums, pears, apples, oranges, grapefruit and mandarin all flowering profusely at present and the bees are all doing their bit to help us with a good harvest.  The bee in this photo is enjoying the blossom on our Washington Navel and you can see that fruit are already starting to form.

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Friday, 14 April 2017

How could I have forgotten cooking in my list of “C” words???  My Mum always baked on a Friday and coming home to the aromas of cakes and pastry has always meant home to me.  I was always encouraged to join in and Mum would make sure there was enough “Mum’s style” pastry waiting for me to create with.

I particularly like to make cakes, biscuits, breads, desserts, pastries, savouries and special occasion stuff and creating the lovely aromas that waft through the house … that is so good for the soul (unless it’s burnt, of course 😦 )

Today has been a cooking/baking day as this year Pesach (Passover) coincided with Easter, so I had a couple of things to make.  Hot Cross Buns for Easter and Honey Diamonds for Pesach.  The house has been filled with the delicious aroma of honey, ginger, mixed spice, fruit and fermenting yeasty dough … it smelt so good you could almost eat it!

One batch of Honey Diamonds finished, and two dozen Hot Cross Buns plus a double loaf of fruit bread are cooling on racks.  Two smaller batches of Honey Diamonds still to be made and then posted for Mikkie and Claire.  I might have to post them separately as Mikkie has a reputation for eating Claire’s share before she gets to see them 😉

Here are the finished products (so far) from today …

 

Also on the cooking list today is a batch of pumpkin soup.  I have a really easy and tasty recipe that just requires halved butternut pumpkins, onion, garlic, water (or chicken stock), nutmeg, pepper and salt, and cream (optional).  I thought I’d share it with you as the cooler weather is coming and it really is very easy to make.

This recipe is for 2kg of pumpkin.  Just adjust the ingredients if you are cooking larger or smaller amounts.

Here it is …

2 kg butternut pumpkin, halved and seeds removed
1 brown onion halved
1 head garlic, cloves separated
Oive oil for drizzling
3 cups (750ml) water or chicken stock
1/2 cup (125ml) pouring cream (optional)
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Sea salt and fresh ground (or cracked) black pepper

Preheat oven to 200C.  Place the pumpkin, cut side up. on a baking tray with the onion and garlic and drizzle with olive oil.

Bake for 50 – 55 minutes or until pumpkin is golden and cooked through.  Scoop the pumpkin and onion from their skins and place in the bowl of a food processor or blender.  Squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins and add to the food processor.  Add 1 cup (250ml) water/chicken stock and process until smooth.

Transfer the mixture to a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the remaining water/chicken stock, cream (optional), nutmeg, salt and pepper and cook until soup is heated through.  Serves 4.

Absolutely delicious 🙂

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