Yael’s Guilt free Clafoutis


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2 large eggs
3 tbsp flour
1.5 tbsp ground almonds
3 tsbp sugar
4 medium plums
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
Few drops of almond essence
Pinch nutmeg

Serves 4 to 6
Calories about 150 per portion.
Can be made as deep individual servings or as a large shallower dish.

Stone and cut the plums into small pieces (for individual portions) or slices/halves for a large serving.
Warm the plums and spices in a pan with a tbsp water. Add extra sugar if you like things sweet or the plums are aspro.

Beat egg whites to soft peak stage meanwhile make a batter with the egg yolks, flour, ground almonds, sugar, vanilla and almond essence.

Line the bottom of dish/es with the slightly stewed fruit.

Fold the egg whites into the batter, you don’t need to be super gentle just don’t knock out all the air.

Spoon batter mixture over the fruit and bake at 180c for about 15 minutes.

Cool slightly and dust with icing sugar, great served with fat free Greek yoghurt and maybe a little honey.

Tina’s Ricotta-honey-orange sformatini

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1-1/2 cups ricotta
1 large egg
the juice of about 3 or 4 clementines (I just cut them in half and squeezed with my hands)
1 generous spoonful of honey
1-1/2 teaspoons of sugar

Mix the ricotta, egg, juice, honey and sugar together and put into 4 (in my case) ramekins, and bake for 25 minutes at 200C.

Remove from the oven and let “set” for about 20 minutes before inverting and removing from ramekins.

Serve topped with some more honey. 🙂

(Note: I purposely didn’t add much sugar – you might increase the amount of sugar or honey if you want this to be richer.)

Judith’s Insalata di Finocchio e Mela

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1 bulb finocchio, trimmed and cleaned, save some of the nasty green fronds
1 Granny Smith apple, washed and cored, cut in two

using a very sharp knife or a mandolin, cut these into the thinnest possible slices, paper thin.

Sauce:
1 small clove garlic, finely minced and squashed
2 anchovy fillets
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt and then to taste
2 egg yolks
125 ml plus best extra virgin olive oil

Put the garlic and anchovy into a medium sized bowl and add the lemon juice. With a fork, mash them very vigorously until you can barely see that they were there. Add the egg yolks and salt and whisk briskly to combine. Whisking continuously, slowly add the olive oil, making it into an emulsion. After adding the 125 ml, taste and add more to taste. The dressing should be strong because the juices of the finocchio will dilute it powerfully.

Just before serving, toss the finocchio and apple with most of the dressing. To serve, lightly pile 1/4 of the salad onto a plate and sprinkle a bit of that horrid green frondy stuff on it. You can drizzle or dot a little more dressing on the plate around the salad. Don’t make it up too far ahead as the finocchio wilts very quickly and the apple will brown.

You might like a grind of pepper over it, but of course it won’t photograph so well after it.

Amber’s Fennel Salad with Apple, Orange, Arugula and Pinoli


1 fennel bulb
1 large Granny Smith Apple, peeled and cored
2 large Oranges, Squeeze one, segment the other
70 grams of Arugula

3 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts (toast in a dry pan, but do not burn)
2 small or 1 medium Shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 cup Olive Oil
S and P to taste

Combine chopped shallots, vinegar, oil, juice of one orange salt and pepper in a jar, close tightly and shake vigorously.
Using a mandolin set to quite a thin setting, slice fennel and apple.
Combine everything, mix, let sit for a few minutes, (but not so long that it wilts!!) and eat.

Marina’s Best Fig Chutney in the World……ever! Via “A Mother in France”

Fig Chutney

1.5kg Black figs quartered ( or any figs can be used)
1 kg sugar
3 onions chopped roughly
500g mixed raisins and sultanas
1 lt good quality red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons Ground ginger
2 teaspoons all spice
2 tablespoons chilli sauce (sweet or not up to you!)
6 garlic cloves crushed
salt and pepper
Place all ingredients together and bring to the boil, then simmer for 2 hours till good chutney consistency (whatever that is).
Jar…. This chutney gets better with age (although we have never had it long enough to find out!).

Giselle’s Gorgonzola & Pear Risotto



You need to give yourselves TIME for this – you really shouldn’t leave this dish to do itself. 

You need to be there stirring, stirring, stirring! Allow about 40 mins. 

What you’ll need…

A heavy flat-bottomed pan with fairly low sides – ie not a saucepan.
A saucepan.
Wooden spoon
small ladle
TIME!

Ingredients for a couple of generous portions ….

Glug of olive oil and lump of butter

1 small white onion – finely chopped

6oz Risotto rice – my fav is Carnaroli – seems to make the risotto extra creamy somehow – Arborio is absolutely fine too. I used a 1/2 cup to measure and then used the cup as my ladle.

Glass white wine (optional, but hey! you get to drink the rest, right?)

Pear of your choice – whatever looks nice to you! Chopped up into little cubes. You can keep the peel on, it softens nicely and gives the dish a little colour. (I didn’t this time, but usually do!)

Gorgonzola – either the creamy mild one or the more crumbly stronger one – I used a mix of the 2. Cut up into little cubes.

Handful of parsley. (Again, for colour.)

Seasoning to taste – freshly ground pepper and fresh ground rock salt.

Stock – I use chicken stock, although if you want to keep it strictly veggie, vegetable stock will be very good too. Now, I do not bother with making my own stock very often. I like the cubes and the new stock jelly cubes from Knorr. I use a mix of the 2 (one of each) in about a litre and half of water. If you like making your own stock, knock yourselves out, it’ll be undoubtedly delicious! My reasoning behind not doing it is that I usually make my mind up to do risotto pretty much last minute – I don’t give myself enough time to make my own stock!

Putting it all together ….

First get your stock on the boil in the saucepan and then turn it down to a bare simmer. Keeping it very hot is, as far as I’m concerned, essential to a good risotto.

In your pan generously glug in your oil and melt the butter gently over a medium heat. 

When the butter has melted, add the onion and break up with the wooden spoon. 

Cook the onion without allowing it to brown until it’s softened and a little translucent.

Add the rice and stir until all the grains are coated in the oil/butter. Keep stirring gently to prevent the rice from sticking or browning. After a few minutes, the rice will look a little bit see-through on the edges.

Turn the heat up very slightly until you can hear the rice and onion cooking. Add the glass of wine (or a ladle of stock if you’re not using wine) – you should hear a very satisfying sizzling sound!

Keep stirring until the wine has been absorbed. Add a ladleful of stock and stir through. Keep gently stirring! Stirring keeps the risotto from sticking and breaks down the starches in the rice – the starch is what makes the risotto lovely and creamy.

After the 3rd ladleful of stock, before you start your stirring, add your apple cubes, then start your stirring again.

Stir in a gentle figure of 8 with a circuit of the pan after the ‘8’ to bring the risotto together again. Sort of a ‘8’ followed by ‘0’ …

Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, one at a time until the risotto is creamy, thick and the grains of rice still have a little ‘bite’ to the centre of them. (Al dente). Turn off the heat and stir through the cheese and the parsley. Check and season to taste. Let it sit for a minute or so before serving. It shouldn’t be dry nor soupy – but something between the 2. If it’s too dry, add a little of the stock and stir that through. 

(NB . Don’t forget to turn the heat off the stock at the end of making the risotto too!)

Serve in warmed bowls. Have the white wine used for this dish (if there’s any left!).

Spiced Chocolate Caramel Cake with Baked Pears from Chasing Delicious

 

Tools:

2 or 4, 6″ round cake pans
Parchment paper
Large Bowls
Fine mesh sieve
Spoon

Piping bag (optional)
Large round piping tip (optional)
Icing spatula (optional)

Torch (optional)

Ingredients:

8 ounces flour
1 pound sugar
3 ounces cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup freshly brewed coffee, hot

4 pears
4 ounces pecans

1 cup fortified caramel (recipe below)

2 cups spiced buttercream frosting (recipe below)

n Instructions:

1.Preheat an oven to 350°F. Prepare the cake pans by buttering the bottom and sides, lining the bottom with parchment paper and buttering the paper. Set aside.

2. Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda & salt). Set aside.

3. In another bowl, beat the eggs for about a minute until broken a part.

4. Add the cream, sour cream and melted butter to the eggs. Mix until blended well.

5. Pour the egg, cream and butter mixture into the dry ingredients a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix until the mixture is completely blended and homogeneous.

6. Add the vanilla. Then add the hot coffee to the batter in small additions, mixing well after each addition. Mix in until the batter homogenous.

7. If you are using four pans, evenly distribute the batter into the prepared cake pans. If you are using two, evenly distribute half of the batter between the two pans – you will need to repeat step 6 and 7 with the remaining half of the batter. The batter left to rest may not rise as much as the batter baked aright away.

8. Place the cake pans on a baking sheet. Add the pears to the baking sheet. Bake everything in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out just barely clean (a few straggling crumbs is ok). The pears should be soft to the touch – they may need to bake longer than the cake.

9. While the cakes are baking, prepare the fortified caramel and the buttercream frosting according to the instructions. Set both aside.

8. Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting them.

10. Place one layer on a cake stand or plate. Using a piping bag with a large circle tip pipe large circles of frosting around the top of the cake – so when you press the second layer on top it will give a daisy appearance. You may also use an icing spatula to spread the frosting on top. Place the second layer on top.

11. Decorate each cake.

Below are decorating instructions: 

For a caramel drizzled top – Place a whole baked pear on top of the cake, in the center. Sprinkle pecans around the pear. Spoon the caramel over the pear and pecans, letting it pool and drizzle down the sides of the cake.

For a pear spiral top – Place a whole baked pear on top of the cake, in the center. Cut another baked pear into 1/4″ wedges. Arrange the wedges in a fanned spiral around the whole pear. Sprinkle pecans on top.

For a caramelized pear accent – Cut a baked or unbaked pear in half. Sprinkle sugar on top of the cut portion. Using a torch, or the broiler of your oven, caramelize the sugar like you would on a creme brulee. Let the sugar harden for about 30 seconds before working with the pear. This should only be done right before serving as the juices in the pear will cause the caramelized sugar to  liquify after about 30 minutes.

r  Store in an airtight container at room temperature. This cake should last 3 to 4 days though it is best served the same day.
n Avoid adjusting the ingredients in this recipe.

 

Buttercream Frosting: This frosting is the typical, easy-breezy buttercream variety. You throw everything in a bowl and beat until it is creamy. It doesn’t get much easier than this. Here a little cinnamon and cardamom is added to give the frosting a bite.

Spiced Buttercream Frosting

2 cups frosting

Tools:

Stand mixer with a paddle attachment

i Ingredients:

4 cups powdered sugar
8 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
2 tbls cream

n Instructions:

1. Add all of the ingredients to the bowl. Beat until everything is combined and the frosting is light and frothy.

r  Store in an airtight container at room temperature. The frosting should last 3 to 4 days.

Fortified Caramel: Any caramel that has cream and butter added is called a fortified caramel. It is probably my favorite kitchen concoction as the creaminess and butteriness paired with the delightfully carmalized sugar is a match made in heaven.

Making fortified caramel is exactly like making classic caramel, but with fortified caramel you add cream and butter (and possible other flavorings) at the end. Be sure to stand at the stove and watch the boiling sugar closely.  As soon as it reaches a golden amber – or caramel – color, remove it from the heat. Sugar can go from caramel to burnt blackjack in a matter of a minute and once caramel is over cooked it is ruined  – you will have to start from scratch if that happens.

 

Fortified Caramel

Tools:

Heavy-bottomed pot
Candy thermometer
Wooden spoon

Ingredients:

1 pound sugar
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 ounces unsalted butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions:

1. Add the sugar, water, lemon juice and corn syrup into the heavy-bottom pot and place over high heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is homogeneous.

2. Watching the thermometer and color carefully, boil the mixture until it becomes a golden amber color, or reaches about 325°F. This will take about 10 to 20 minutes. Do not stir during this time.

3. Once the caramel has reached the appropriate color (careful not to let it continue cooking too long) remove from the heat. Carefully pour the cream into the pot while stirring vigorously. STAND BACK as you do this as the caramel and cream could pop and explode upwards.

4. If the mixture is lumpy, place the caramel back over the heat, stirring constantly until the lumps have dissolved.

5. Off of the heat add the butter and cinnamon. Stir until the butter is completely dissolved.

6. Let the caramel cool.

r Store in an airtight container in the fridge. The caramel should last up to a week.
n Avoid adjusting the ingredients in this recipe.
t Pay attention to the temperature while making the caramel.

Warm Apple Cider Cake with Pumpkin Seed Brittle from Vicki Wells

CIDER SAUCE

  1. 4 cups apple cider, preferably fresh
  2. 1/3 cup bourbon
  3. 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  4. 1/4 cup dark corn syrup
  5. 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  6. 1 cinnamon stick
  7. 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  8. 1 cup heavy cream

CAKE

  1. 1 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon salt
  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons apple cider
  6. 3 tablespoons canola oil
  7. 1/4 cup bourbon
  8. 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  9. 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  10. 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  11. 2 large eggs
  1. Vanilla Ice Cream, for serving
  2. PUMPKIN SEED BRITTLE
  1. In a saucepan, combine the cider, bourbon, brown sugar, corn syrup, vinegar, cinnamon stick and vanilla bean and seeds; bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add the cream. Cook over moderately high heat until reduced to about 1 cup, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a pitcher; let cool slightly. Discard the vanilla bean and cinnamon stick.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper; butter and flour the paper. In a bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In a glass measuring cup, mix the apple cider with the canola oil and bourbon. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add the brown sugar and vanilla seeds and beat until smooth. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well between additions. Beat in the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the cider-bourbon mixture, until smooth.
  3. Spread two-thirds of the batter in the prepared cake pan. Drizzle half of the cider sauce over the batter. Dollop the remaining batter on top, then spread the batter over the cider sauce, being careful not to mix them together. Bake the cake in the center of the oven for about 40 minutes, or until springy when touched. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn the cake out onto a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Peel off the parchment paper.
  4. Rewarm the remaining cider sauce. Cut the cake into wedges and serve warm with vanilla ice cream, Pumpkin Seed Brittle and the cider sauce.

MAKE AHEAD The cake and cider sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. NOTES Cooking Club Tip: Choose vanilla beans that are plump, moist and fragrant, not dried out and brittle. Beans from Madagascar (thought by many to be the best) and Mexico have a rich vanilla taste. To scrape out the seeds, open up the bean and run the blunt edge of the knife from one end to the other. The contents of one whole bean is equal to one tablespoon pure vanilla extract. To store vanilla beans, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and put in an airtight container. SERVE WITH PUMPKIN SEED BRITTLE

 

PUMPKIN SEED BRITTLE

  1. 1/3 cup sugar
  2. 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  3. 2 tablespoons water
  4. 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons toasted unsalted pumpkin seeds
  5. 1/8 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 teaspoon water
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and butter the paper. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup and water and bring to a boil over moderately high heat, stirring just until the sugar dissolves. Continue to cook, undisturbed, until a deep amber caramel forms, 8 to 9 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and the dissolved baking soda and stir until combined, then quickly pour the mixture onto the baking sheet, spreading it into a thin layer with a spatula. Let cool until hardened. Break into shards and serve.
MAKE AHEAD The brittle can be kept in an airtight container for up to 1 week

Judith’s Orange Cake with Orange Buttercream icing

Preheat oven to 175 C
Prepare two +- 20 to 23 cm layer cake pans by buttering the interiors and lining the bottom with baking paper. I had batter left over with 20 cm pans.
Cooking Time:25-35 minutes\ Servings: 16
Preparation Time: 15 (hahaha)

1 C./225 g butter
2 C./420 g Sugar
4 Eggs
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 3/4 C./358 g Flour
3 Tsp. Baking Powder
1 Tsp. Salt
1 3/4 Cup/ 415 ml Milk and orange juice 50:50
DIRECTIONS
Cream butter together with sugar. Beat in eggs, orange rind and vanilla.
In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.
Add to creamed mixture alternately with milk/juice mixture. Pour into greased & papered pan.
Tap pans on table to release any air bubbles before placing in oven.
Bake for 25-35 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched in center and a toothpick emerges clean. Time depends on your oven.
Grease two cooling racks (very necessary) and after 10 minutes, loosen the edges with a knife and turn out onto the rack. Cool completely.

Orange buttercream Icing
Âľ c/169 g butter, softened
500 g icing sugar
Pinch of salt
ÂĽ cup/59 ml orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Beat the butter until creamy and gradually beat in the sugar, then the salt. Beat in the orange juice and then beat hard until it is creamy, smooth and fluffy. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Ice the cake patiently, scooping on a glop at a timer, then spreading with a wet table knife. Stop and re-wet every time the icing starts to lift. You may want to cut a few very thin slices of orange and cure them in sugar for a few hours, but if you know a few days in advance, it would be even nicer to candy some orange peel for decoration. Just make it and dry it, then cut into threadlike strands for décor.
This is a cake so moist you could call it wet, so the surface is very tender. Handle only when cold and leave the paper on the bottom until assembling it. When icing it, really do spread only with a wet knife.
If your kitchen is cold you may have to do as I do and put the bowl in which you are working the butter into a bowl holding warm tap water until the butter starts to soften. Remove it quickly so it doesn’t melt, however.