Tuesday 29 July 2014

Brown bread, walnut and golden syrup steamed pudding

 For a recent dinner party I received a special request to make a golden syrup steamed pudding. I found this Ray McVinnie recipe after a search on the Cuisine website. It is just the ticket to cheer you up on a cold winters night. Trust me, they are divine! So easy to make if you have a kitchen whizz, some stale brown bread and a cup of walnuts on hand.
  As suggested, I used my (almost) redundant electric fry pan. (You can also use a bamboo dumpling steamer for the job). Using the fry pan, I had to keep a close eye on the water level and temperature in the pan. And I cooked my puddings a little longer than his 45 minutes. When checking with a skewer they were not quite done so I replaced the foil tightly and cooked them for about 10-15 minutes until I got that 'doneness'. (Is there such a word?).
  This recipe is fine for one large pudding. Steam for about 1 1/2 hours in a well covered bowl in a large saucepan with enough water to come 3/4 of the way up the bowl.
Making individual ones is a bit more of a fiddle. But when you serve these hot little gems onto a plate, they look gorgeous with all that lovely golden syrup ooooooozing over them. And they smell wonderful!
  I made the Chantilly cream to accompany my puddings, and in spite of serving six people I had a large bowl of cream left over. The good news is, the cream seems to go with anything remotely like a dessert!! Picture a banana smeared with Chantilly cream, so simple, and so lovely as a morning tea treat. Be great on a scone with raspberry jam too. Nothing gets wasted in this house!
 You can make the puddings beforehand. Leave the foil on the puddings and when required place them in a roasting dish with hot water (about half way up) and heat them in the oven for about 20 minutes on 160C.
Please try this recipe, it will take you back and remind you of your childhood and family winter puddings.
This was a pudding left over, and reheated the syrup has soaked in a bit
Ready to dig in, mmmmmmm......

Brown bread, walnuts and golden syrup steamed pudding – Ray McVinnie –Cuisine 
1 cup golden syrup
180g butter
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 cup coarsely chopped New Zealand walnut pieces
1 ½  cups fresh brown breadcrumbs, made by blitzing good-quality day-old brown sourdough in a food processor
175ml milk

Butter 6 x 250ml-capacity bowls or tea cups. Divide the golden syrup evenly among the bowls. Set aside.
Beat the butter and brown sugar together until pale and creamy. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
Stir the zest, flour, baking powder, walnuts, breadcrumbs and milk into the butter mix. Spoon this mixture evenly into the bowls, on top of the golden syrup.
Cover each bowl tightly with a double layer of foil then place in a large steamer or side by side in a large frying pan with a lid.
Fill the frying pan with hot water until it comes three-quarters of the way up the sides of the bowls. Cover and bring to the boil then simmer for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of a pudding comes out clean.
Remove the puddings from the steamer then unmould on to serving plates. Serve with Chantilly cream.
Chantilly cream
200ml cream
150g mascarpone
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Put the cream, mascarpone, sugar and vanilla in a bowl then beat until the mixture holds soft peaks. Serve with the puddings.

Monday 21 July 2014

Chocolate Anzac cookies

  Sometimes you have to give into something, and I am not talking about these delicious biscuits. I am referring to the fact that I have not been very well over the last week or so. It started with a sore throat that went away, came back and morphed into a thick throat and a voice that made me sound I was on my last legs!
  It was probably the sleep deprivation that really got to me in the end. On going to bed I couldn't decide if I was hot or cold. Or if I wanted to lie down or sit up. Or creep out of bed so as to not disturb the man. Or stand beside the bed wailing (to wake the man up, with the aim of getting some sympathetic, soothing words!). The only upside to all of this night time activity was that I finished two books in record time.
  I did not have time to be sick. I had a couple of events I wanted to attend during the week, so I 'soldiered' on, swallowing Panadol, immune boosters, lemon drinks etc etc. (You get the picture). Which actually ended up making me feel a bit queezy in the tummy as well. Honestly, give me a break!
  In the end I just gave up, and succumbed to it all!
  I stayed in my dressing gown most of the day, and went to bed for nice Nana naps in the afternoon when I felt a little drowsy. For some reason I rose early most mornings. Perhaps because I decided it felt better standing up, with all the 'toxins' draining downwards my feet. It is now a week later, and I am feeling a lot better. With more energy and enthusiasm for life.....
  During this awful time, I turned to my batch of Chocolate Anzac cookies I had made a few days before all of the above started. They tasted pretty good, no matter what the hour!
  I have posted my best Anzac biscuit recipe before, but this one is lovely with chunks of chocolate and a nice texture. You would have heard of Alice Arndell, she appeared in the NZ Hottest Home Baker series last year. She has since published a cookbook called 'Alice in Baking Land'. Her recipe appeared in the 'Life' supplement of the Dom Post a few weeks ago.
Note: I didn't have the orange infused oil on hand so I just used the zest of an orange stirred into my oil. I also topped up the dark chocolate (I had already eaten over half of it!), with chocolate bits.
My mixture was a little dry and didn't form balls very well, not sure why. But I just added a little more oil to the mixture and they turned out well.
Early morning, nice cuppa and Anzac biscuits (not one but two) while reading the paper

Orange olive oil and chocolate Anzac biscuits 
 Makes about 24
1 ½ c self-raising flour
1 c brown sugar (firmly packed)
2 c rolled oats
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp golden syrup
125g butter
1 tsp Baking Soda
250g dark chocolate (Whittaker’s is best) roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 180°C and line baking trays with baking paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together, flour. Sugar, oats and salt. Set aside.
In a microwave-safe bowl, heat golden syrup and butter until butter is melted.
Stir well, stir in baking soda.
Make well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in melted butter and orange oil.
Stir until combined, stir in chocolate pieces.
Take a generous spoonful and roll into a ball.
Flatten slightly onto prepared trays, leaving about 3cm of space between biscuits.
Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden.
Cool on trays for 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container.

Monday 14 July 2014

Armenian Nutmeg Cake

 I had a quick trip to the dentist a month or so back, and while waiting I flicked through a magazine and found this lovely cake recipe. Actually it was the photo that caught my eye. It was such a lovely shot,with the cake in a dark setting (with candlelight I think), with beautiful pink rose petals scattered across the top. That did it for me, so romantic and so clever. I really aspire to being a decent sort of photographer but I am a true novice when I see shots like that!
 I used my phone to take a photo of the recipe. And I am sorry I didn't note down the name of the magazine  (or the name of the recipe creator) - it may have been an overseas magazine. I got called into the dentist before I had finished uploading what I needed.
 The cake is gorgeous. It is quite different in its construction. Looking 'on line' there are lots of variations of Armenian Nutmeg cake. Some use walnuts or pecans. From the magazine article I seem to recall you can use orange blossom water instead of the orange zest, or rosewater to add a different flavour (hence the rose petal decoration I suppose). And in spite of having a full box of nutmeg spice in my pantry, I stuck to the recipe and bought whole nutmegs for this cake.
 The pistachio nuts had to be shelled and of course were a little salty. The cooks assistant remarked that might not work, but it did, thankfully. In fact I liked the slight salty, sweet taste of the topping and so did my friends.
 I am not sure if this is a 'traditional' cake. But it is obviously a great cake to finish off any Middle Eastern meal. I would definitely bake again.

Armenian Nutmeg Cake
1 ½ c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 ¼ c brown sugar, firmly packed
½ ground almonds
125g butter
1 tsp baking soda
½ c milk
½ c natural unsweetened yoghurt
1 egg
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
½ c pistachio nuts, chopped
Heat oven to 180°C.
Grease and line the base of a 20cm round spring-form or loose bottomed cake tin.
Sift flour and baking powder into a large bowl and mix in brown sugar and ground almonds.
Using fingers, rub in the butter until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Press a third of the mixture firmly into the base of the prepared cake tin.
In a separate bowl, mix baking soda with milk. Add egg, nutmeg and orange zest, and beat to combine.
Fold into the remaining flour mixture, combining thoroughly.
Pour batter over base in tin. Sprinkle chopped pistachios over the top, and bake 40-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
(Watch the topping does not burn, cover with tinfoil to protect if necessary)
Allow cake to cool at least 30 minutes before removing from tin.

Serve with a little yoghurt or cream
My friendly Tui kept me company while taking shots!