Monday, December 24, 2012

Chicken Spring Rolls

In between the stuff I bake, I do enjoy frying different foods. We actually have a deep fryer at home, but its just easier to use a pot full of oil as it is easier to clean afterwards. So for dinner one night, I suggested spring rolls; wrapping them wouldn't take long, and it would be interesting to see the difference between home-made and store bought spring rolls.

Basically, for the filling, you can use whatever ingredients you like (or have at home), I used 60g Chinese mushrooms, 1/4 cabbage and 400g chicken.

Cook your chicken (cut into slices) with garlic. The chicken was actually seasoned before with a random concoction of sauces on the bench, if I remember correctly, it was soy sauce, sesame oil plus salt and pepper.

Set chicken aside, and then cook mushrooms, before adding in the cabbage. When the cabbage is almost cooked, add in the chicken from before.

Afterwards, set aside the above ingredients into a bowl to cool; if the ingredients are too hot, it could break your spring roll pastries.

When your fillings have cooled, arrange in a small bunch in the bottom half of a spring roll pastry sheet.

Bring the bottom corner over your fillings, roll tightly until you get to the two corners on the sides.

Fold in the excess pastry (on the two sides) towards the centre.

Continue to roll tightly until you have a little triangle tab sticking out at the top.

Spread cornflour and water mixture (approximately 3 teaspoons of cornflour with enough water to have glue-like consistency), on the triangle (use as much as you want) and fold over so the spring roll stays intact.

Ready to be fried.

There was actually a bit of left over filling in the bowl in the background, which was quickly eaten by me.

There are actually quite a few more spring rolls beneath the ones at the top. Fry for approximately 8 minutes minutes, until the spring rolls have a beautiful golden skin.

Ready to eat- and super nice with sweet chilli sauce.

I'll admit, it took a bit of effort to make these in comparison to just pouring rice into the rice cooker, but it was worth it in the end, they were crunchy on the outside, and, as I ended up putting more and more filling into each spring roll towards the end of making them, they were super tasty when there was a mass of hot filling inside the casing. If you do have a go at making spring rolls, do tell me what other fillings you used, I'm eager to use new ingredients! Also, these would be great to bring to Christmas parties if you are thinking of bringing something that's not crazily hard to make.

Merry Christmas everybody!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Adriano Zumbo's Happy Birthday! Cake

After a rather filling lunch (see previous post), we had cake. YAY!!! This was the Happy Birthday! Cake which prompted many to take out their phones/cameras (me included) to take photos of this good looking cake. The website describes the cake as consisting of: Flourless chocolate biscuit, chocolate sabayon mousse, ultimate chocolate brownie, caramel mou, milk chocolate chantilly and cocoa nib nougatine with a White chocolate and Passionfruit glaze.

Inside the cake- the chocolate brownie and the caramel that oozed out were my favourite parts of the cake, but the yellow topping was really nice too!

It was a really fun afternoon with lots of food, and despite wanting to go for a second piece of cake, I was just too full. In comparison to the Rose V8, I think I actually like this one better, although both are very, very good, and you honestly can't go wrong with either. 

Happy Birthday Jenny! Hope you had an awesome day and liked the brownies :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Pizzeria Locale, Meadowbank

We came here for lunch on a super hot day to celebrate Jenny's birthday, and after wandering around at the Aldi nearby to wait for people to come (and to hover near the fridges to overcome the heat), we were seated in the rather warm alfresco area.. The wooden patterns on the table were really nice though :)

Tomato Bruschetta (2 slices per serving). The bread was crunchy, and the tomatoes didn't overpower the other ingredients, which was definitely a plus- for me anyway.

Garlic Bread (3 slices per serving). When this came to the table, the paste-like texture of the garlic on the bread caused some discussion; I'm not sure about the others, but I quite liked the taste of this, despite it being a bit different to the garlic bread you might have elsewhere.

Prawn Pizza. You might be thinking that the photo doesn't make the pizza look very appealing, (when I looked at the photo, it reminded me of the green smoke emitting from the plates in Sims 2 when you left them out for too long- I obviously have a life...) Getting back to the pizza, I'm pretty sure it was just the camera acting up in response to the green plate; this was one of my favourite pizzas from the selection that we ordered. The prawns were fresh, and the base was crisp. 

Locale Salad- which consisted of tomatoes, olives, artichokes, bocconcini, balsamic dressing and mixed greens. This was the coldest dish we had on the table, a relief given how hot it was that day. Towards the end of the meal, I enjoyed eating the olives from this- I could eat olives all day!

Penne Arrabbiata- the chilli in this surprised me when I first had this, but tasted really good with the 'tomato-ness' of the sauce.

Fettuccine Boscaiola- I actually didn't have any of this (I already had way too much dairy foods for one day), but everyone else said that this was the best pasta out of the ones we had.

Italian Sausage Pizza- there was a generous supply of meaty deliciousness on this pizza. Also, I know my photos don't show it, but having the plates on metal stands made it easier for people to reach for the food, and also saved room on the table!

Spaghetti Locale- consisted of pippies, prawns, tomato, chilli and wild rocket.

Prawn and Scallops in Padella- this was on the Chef's Specials menu as an entree. I must say this again, the seafood is really fresh!

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza- an 11 inch round, 1 inch deep pizza pie, consisting of Italian sausage, tomato, ham, pepperoni, mozzarela, and parmesan. The menu stated that there was a 35 minute wait for this one and that it is 'worth it'. It was definitely unique to see such a different looking pizza, and it definitely tasted great. The appearance of this deep dish pizza reminded me of a quiche, while the Italian sausage in this reminded me of the pizza that we had before, except this was in a more special shape of pizza. 

Carpricciosa Pie- our end of the table didn't have any of this, I just went over to take a photo. However, it had olives, so I'm sure it was good LOL

The waitresses were attentive throughout lunch, and overall, the food was delicious. So despite the very hot weather- (we were sitting with out legs wide apart and moving around the table to avoid the sun), it was a very enjoyable lunch.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mrs D's Brownies

Going through my food tech folder once again to look for easier things to cook, I came across this brownie recipe, which I had most ingredients to in my pantry! I recently found out that brownies can be either gooey or floury in texture, but the one I made confused me a bit, it was quite chewy but definitely not gooey.

I'm complaining about my oven again; I know each oven is different, but once again, I had issues with temperature and timing (more on that later), hopefully your brownies turn out a bit better!

Preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius. The recipe says it makes two 20cm x 20cm tins, but I only had one tin (which was definitely not 20 x 20). Like many people, I find that using melted butter to stick the baking paper to the tin to be quite helpful as well, baking paper on its own annoys me to a great extent when it pops out every 3 seconds.

Melt 200g cooking chocolate and 125g butter. Looking at other recipes, many used dark chocolate, so I was wary of the brownie being too sweet. Also, in hindsight, the smart thing to do would have been to cut the chocolate and butter up into smaller pieces so it would melt quicker...

I was worried that the eggs would cook if I mixed them in when the chocolate/butter was still hot, so I waited quite a while for it to cool before adding in the other ingredients. In the meantime, I measured out the other ingredients: 2 eggs, 2 tsp vanilla essence, 1 cup self raising flour, and 1 cup brown sugar. 

After gaming a bit to pass the time, stir in the ingredients listed above. I'm not sure if the order matters, but just in case it does, the order was sugar, vanilla, eggs and flour on the recipe.

Pour into the tray

I had it in the oven for 45 minutes, when I pulled it out, it literally collapsed and was so liquid-like in texture that it could not have even been considered as the 'fudgy' type of brownie. So, back in the oven it goes for an extra 20 minutes at 180 degrees celsius. 

After the brownies cooled, I cut out the two nicest looking pieces (very hard to find) and put it in a box for Jenny. Tasting these myself, I found the brownies to be very rich, so it definitely feels better to cut them up into smaller pieces and eat them one at a time, very slowly, until the tray is empty :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bacon and Cheese Wheels

With some diced bacon left over from making a quiche, and being inspired by Crystal's Pizza Wheel Pastries (see 1st photo), I decided to make these pastry rolls to clear the freezer of some meat- my parents buy lots of meat and then put it in the freezer; it ends up being a drawer full of frozen red blocks, only they can tell what type of meat each one is!

Like a number of things I make spontaneously, there was no recipe for this, I just combined ingredients together and hoped for the best! Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius, and evenly sprinkle your diced bacon or ham on a defrosted sheet of puff pastry.

Put shredded cheese on top- in my case, I put cheese on a part of the pastry because some people are lactose intolerant.

Roll it up as tightly as possible- if it is too loose, all your ingredients will fall out when you cut it into slices- from previous experience :)

I'm pretty sure this wasn't necessary considering how soft the pastry had become, but I used the egg wash (1 egg + 1 tsp of water) as a glue to seal the pastry together.

I put the roll in the fridge for 30 minutes so it would harden up and become easier to cut into slices. Arrange on baking tray, and brush egg wash on top for a shiny look when it comes out of the oven.

To be honest, I did not know how long this was in the oven for, I basically took it out when it looked golden.

As you can see, I ended up with 16 pieces (8 cheese and 8 non-cheese). There was enough saltiness in this- from the cheese and bacon, and the egg wash really makes a difference in the appearance of the pastries, so it is worth it to quickly make your egg mixture- if you have leftovers, you could cook the egg :)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Peach Upside Down Cake

Upside down cakes are quite different to your normal cakes, mainly because they sometimes have a deliciously sweet layer on top of them (well, the bottom layer when you put it in the oven... now I'm confusing myself). This recipe was from the Woolworths app, but I ended up typing and printing the recipe out for convenience in the kitchen. A quick search of the internet as I type this now shows me that the recipe is also on their website.

Preheat oven to 160 degrees celcius. (I ended up increasing this to 180, see below) The cake tin I used had a removable base, but the surface on the base piece began to peel, so I flipped it over. Looking back, this was really rather stupid, the melted butter from the cake started dripping through when it was in the oven, leaving a terrifying puddle of ooze on the oven floor. 

Anyways, pour 50g melted butter into a 20cm round tin (make sure it doesn't leak!) and evenly sprinkle 1/4 cup brown sugar over it. Remember to butter the sides of your cake tin as well- I nearly forgot.

The recipe says to use 3 peaches, but I used a can of peaches instead (Homebrand Peaches 825g), with only a few pieces left over to eat  later when you wait for the cake to cook. Arrange the slices of peaches on top of your layer of super healthy butter and sugar. Side note: does anyone think this peach arrangement is slightly reminiscent of the wheel cover of the Toyota Corolla Ascent? (The one on the most left- A.) No one? Ok, moving on...

(Photo taken from Toyota Australia website)

Beat 125g butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar together 'until light and creamy'. 

Add 2 eggs (I added them after they were beaten) and 1 tsp vanilla essence, and continue to beat until it is super smooth. I basically ended up with a rather unsightly bowl of liquidness, but don't fear! Your dry ingredients come next haha

Add in 1/2 cup self raising flour, 1/4 cup almond meal and 2 tbs of milk and stir until your mixture is not so frighteningly sloppy. 

Afterwards, spoon the mixture over the peaches you arranged before. By then, a little bit of my melted butter in the tin had leaked onto the bench, while the remaining butter started to solidify. The cake batter is just enough to cover the peaches.

The recipe states to bake for 35-40 minutes. Something must have been wrong with my oven; after 40 minutes, the cake was barely cooked. After increasing the temperature to 180, progress was to be made, although I can't remember exactly how long the cake took to properly cook. After sticking the skewer into the cake and then taking over a minute to stare at it under the kitchen light, I took the cake out of the oven (I'm quite paranoid when it comes to raw cakes as you might have gathered by now)

Afterwards, place a big plate over the top of the cake, and turn. 

The inside of the cake.

Despite losing quite a lot of liquid butter to the oven, the cake still managed to taste very buttery, but was actually reasonably light considering all the brown sugar that went into the cake. Now, to clean the mess I made...