Tuesday, April 17, 2007

YoYo Biscuits

This recipe is from Thursday January 25, 2007 edition of The West Australian Newspaper. I first made this recipe a week ago for a special birthday morning tea. It was my mother-in-law's 85th birthday. The morning tea was made even more special by her twin brother being with us to celebrate his birthday also. The biscuits were a winner.

250 grams butter, room temperature
1/3 cup icing sugar mixture
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup cornflour

60 grams butter, room temperature
1/2 cup pure icing sugar
3 teaspoon passionfruit pulp with or without seeds or freshly squeezed orange juice

- preheat oven to 160C (150C fan force)
- cream butter and sugar until light in colour
- add sifted flours and stir to a stiff dough
- pipe or spoon on to a tray covered with baking paper ( may press slightly with the back of a fork to create lines on top of biscuits)
- bake for 10-12 minutes don't allow to colour too much

Icing method
- beat butter until it is soft and light in colour
- add sifted icing sugar and juice.

- makes 16 joined biscuits
- cool

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Wild Hogs - A Movie Review


(John Travolta, Tim Allen, William H Macy, Martin Lawrence)

Hey, what not to love about this movie. Four middle aged guys look to 'prove' they haven't lost it by undertaking a road trip on their motorcycles. Four very funny actors, some genuine laugh out loud scenes, and a movie with its heart in the right spot.

Get out of my way I'm joining the wild hogs!

The Lives of Others - A Movie Review


This movie won the director the Oscar for the best foreign film last year and after seeing it I can understand why.

Set in 1984 in East Germany it follows the plight of a playwright who comes under surveillance by the state secret police - the Stasi. The film showcases a system rotten to the core where to quote George Orwell "all people are equal, but some are more equal than others". Despite the overbearing State prying on its citizens, some people manage to display goodwill to others, even those who are part of the Stasi. And what a great ending to the movie.

I came out of the movie thankful for the freedoms that we all enjoy in our society, and an admiration for those who were able to bring down the Berlin wall and disrobe the rotten communist system. Yes, a movie can sometime get you thinking like that!

To delve more into the Stasi read Anne Funders book ' Stasiland'. I remember reading ,I think in this book, that it was estimated that one in three persons in East Germany was involved in some way with spying on their fellow citizens. There are no 'good old days' in East Germany.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Muesli bars - homemade

When one of your children does not eat cereal or toast for breakfast, but instead prefers leftover green thai curry from last night's dinner, breakfast food can become tricky. Freshly made fruit salad is enjoyed on the weekends but on a school day when there is limited time, a suggestion was me to make muesli bars.
I am still trying out different recipes. Muesli bars although high in fibre tend to have a high fat (butter or oil) and sugar (sugar, honey or golden syrup) content.

This recipe was found on the Internet and the source is Super Foods Ideas - February 205, page 82.

Makes 16 squares

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup sunflower kernels
1/2 pumpkin seeds (pepitas) ( I used chopped dried apricots)
1 cup sultanas ( I used raisins instead)
125 grams butter
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar

- grease and line a 3cm deep, 16cm x 28 cm (base) baking tray with baking paper
- cook oats, coconut wheatgerm, sesame seeds, sunflower kernels and pumpkin seeds in a frying pan over medium heat, stirring for 8 - 10 minutes or until golden then transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool. stir in sultanas ( raisins and apricots)
- cook butter, honey and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring , for 3-4 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil the reduce heat to low. Simmer without stirring for 7 minutes or until mixture forms a soft ball when a little is dropped into ice-cold water.
- add to dry ingredients and stir until combined
- spoon mixture into pan and press down firmly
- all to cool and then cut into 16 squares
- store in a foil lined airtight container for up to 7 days

Monday, April 2, 2007

Chocolate cinnamon crumble cake

Recipe is found in belinda jeffery's tried-and-true recipes book page 150. I had to make a special cake for a special friend as I forgot to phone her on the day of her birthday. I was given for my birthday a silicone kugelhopf cake mould as a gift and decided to give it a try out. the cake cooked beautifully in the mould and was easily removed from the mould when cooked.Forgot to camera to her home to photograph the cake with the ganache poured over the cake.

1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1/2 plain yoghurt, at room temperature 9 I used low fat yoghurt)
1 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
3 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups castor sugar
250 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon cool strong coffee or coffee liqueur
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

cinnamon crumble
1/2 cup brown sugar
70 grams toasted pecans
1 tablespoon cocoa powder - preferably Dutch processed
3 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee granules
90 grams dark chocolate, roughly chopped

chocolate ganache icing (optional)
125 grams dark chocolate, in chunks
65 grams unsalted butter
25 mls water

- oven 180C
- butter and flour a large kugelhopf tin
- mix together sour cream and yoghurt then stir in bicarb soda and leave to stand for 15 minutes so the mixture puffs up to about double in size
- while this is happening make the crumble
- put all the crumble ingredients into a food processor and pulse until the chocolate and nuts are coarsely chopped. Put this into a small bowl and set it aside
- now put flour, baking powder and salt in the processor and whiz to combine then tip this into another bowl and set it aside
- next put eggs and sugar in the processor and whiz them for 1 minute then add the butter and process everything for another minute
- stir coffee or liqueur and vanilla into the sour cream mixture then add this to the egg mixture in the processor and blend it all together in a few quick bursts.
-scrape the mixture into a large bowl and stir in the flour mixture until the batter is just combined (if you have a large food processor, you can use it for this step as well)
- spread quarter of the cake batter into the bottom of the prepared tin and smooth out the surface, then sprinkle a third of the crumble mixture over the top and shake the tin gently to even it out
- repeat the layering twice and cover the final layer of crumble with the remaining quarter of the cake batter (this layer will be quite thin)
- bake cake 55-60 minutes, or until a fine skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let it cool in the tin on a rack for 15 minutes then invert onto a cake rake and allow to cool completely
- if making the chocolate icing , make it at this stage and let it cool to a thick pouring consistency then drizzle over cake and leave it to set
- otherwise dust cake lightly with icing sugar
- cake keeps well uniced for up to 3 days in an airtight container
chocolate ganache icing
- put all ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat
- stir until the chocolate and butter have melted and are smooth
- allow to cool to a thick pouring consistency, about 20 minutes, before using
- makes about 3/4 cup