Sago pudding with mango and lime

We are hurtling officially towards summer down here (ie tomorrow) and to be frank I am not pleased. I do not do hot weather and even moreso, humidity. I was truly born in the wrong country although Tasmania would probably do quite nicely. Beautiful countryside, lower temps, less humidity and a great food culture. Let’s sit with that for a moment shall we?

The only redeeming feature for me in these hotter months, apart from washing drying on the line in an hour rather than a day, is the food. Stone fruits, mangos, papaya, crisp Asian salads loaded with lime, mint, coriander and chilli and cooking outside.

Actually Sydney’s climate means I could/should use the BBQ year round but I always tend to forget it’s there once the heater is in action. The main reason I like cooking outside is I don’t have to clean down the cooktop. Yes, I am that lazy.

This dessert is fairly and squarely placed in my summer repertoire and all the boys love it. Along with the black sticky rice it sits in relatively high rotation, topped with mango or other summer fruits, drizzled with a palm sugar syrup, extra coconut cream and lime to give it zing.

Some people call it sago, some call it tapioca, we call it frogs eggs. There are myriad recipes for its use but this is my go-to.

Frog's eggs with coconut, palm sugar syrup, mango and lime. Giddyup #everyfuckingnight
Frog’s eggs with coconut, palm sugar syrup, mango and lime. Giddyup #everyfuckingnight

Tapioca pudding with mango and lime
 
The perfect summer dessert served with fresh tropical fruit
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 cups sago
  • 200 ml coconut cream
  • 200 g palm sugar
  • 400 ml water
  • Mango, cut into slices or cubes
  • Lime wedges
Instructions
  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and stir in the tapioca
  2. Cook for 15 minutes or until the beads are basically see-through, stirring regularly (this is important as they are pesky little things that like sticking to the bottom of the saucepan)
  3. Strain in a fine-holed sieve and rinse well under cold water (you'll still lose some but don't fret)
  4. Place in a bowl and stir through half the coconut cream and half the palm sugar syrup (see below)
  5. Chill for an hour or more
  6. To make the palm sugar syrup combine the palm sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil
  7. Simmer until it is thick and syrupy
  8. To serve, spoon into a bowl, top with fruit, drizzle over some of the remaining coconut cream and sugar syrup and finish with a squeeze of fresh lime.
  9. For complete show-pony status you can initially pour them into moulds and then turn out when serving, fancy like.

 

Blueberry Crumble Slice

So I finally recently bought Smitten Kitchen‘s cookbook which is as good as I had hoped. I have followed her blog for as long as I can remember and have never ever had a recipe of hers fail. In the cookbook is a version of this using cranberries for the festive season.

This slice is divine, plain and simple. A basic shortbread base that is also scattered over the top of the blueberries. I’ve made this with apple and rhubarb (that I’d stewed previously) and blackberries and every time it turns out a treat.

This is @smittenkitchen's blueberry crumble slice.
This is @smittenkitchen’s blueberry crumble slice.

Blueberry Crumble Slice
 
Blueberries encased in a shortbread biscuity base and top
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 225 g butter
  • 1 egg
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 cups blueberries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 tsp cornflour
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C and line a 20x30cm pan
  2. Using a pastry cutter (or your fingers) blend the sugar, baking powder, plain flour, lemon zest with the butter
  3. Then add the egg
  4. Mix the juice, sugar and cornflour together in a bowl then toss through the blueberries
  5. Press half the dough into the baking tin
  6. Top with the blueberries
  7. Scatter over the remaining dough
  8. Bake for 45 - 60 minutes, until the top is nice and golden and the blueberries are bubbling.

 

onward!

Wholemeal apple and cinnamon muffins

School’s back today. We’re on the homestretch to Christmas people. We’re in for a scorching couple of days which somehow seems appropriate.

But let’s take a moment to talk about lunchboxes. There are parts of the world where you don’t need to pack your kids a lunch. CAN YOU IMAGINE!? I hate it with the heat of a thousand suns.

The worst part is trying to not become pray to food brand marketing but once you say no to the snack packs, back off to the muesli bars and no way jose to anything with sugar you’re basically sending your kids to school with twigs and bark.

I know more virtuous people than I who make up batches of things on the weekend, freeze them then pop them in lunchboxes but whenever I’ve done that the kids never eat it. WHAT IS WITH THAT?

Anyway, I made this Smitten Kitchen recipe the other day and three of the four of them ate them. Into high rotation they go!

Go well my friends, Term 4 awaits!

Wholemeal apple and cinnamon muffins.
Wholemeal apple and cinnamon muffins.
Wholemeal apple and cinnamon muffins
 
Fantastic muffins full of apple and cinnamon
Author:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1 cup wholemeal flour
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 115g butter
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • ¼ cup brown sugar - extra, for topping
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 220C and line a 12 cup muffin tray
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together
  3. Cream the butter and the sugar
  4. Add the egg
  5. Add the buttermilk - it will probably curdle so don't fret
  6. Fold in the dry ingredients and then the apple until it's all just combined (it's a chunky batter)
  7. Put big heaping spoonfuls into the twelve muffin cups
  8. Sprinkle the extra brown sugar over the top
  9. Bake for 10 minutes then turn the heat down to 200C for a further 10 minutes
  10. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes or so and then turn out onto a cooling rack.
The inner workings. They have wholemeal flour in them, they're practically a health food.
The inner workings. They have wholemeal flour in them, they’re practically a health food.

Mocha Meringue Cake

A divine mocha mousse sandwiched between two meringue discs.

Ok, something fancy for a change.

It’s been so invigorating having my cooking mojo back but let’s face it, cooking dinners tends to focus on the functional in this house and I just had a hankering to make something requiring a bit of technical skill and that was a little bit fancy.

I was rearranging my cookbook bookshelf and the June July copy of Donna Hay fell out with this on the cover. I basically had to make it immediately. I swapped out the white chocolate for milk because it was all I had and the mousse probably didn’t set as well as it should have because I didn’t have enough whipped cream. I also used almond meal instead of hazelnut meal because it was what i had in the cupboard. But guess what, it was BLOODY DELICIOUS.

It’s not technically challenging, but there are steps and waiting/cooling times so go in with that knowledge.

Mocha meringue cake
Mocha meringue cake

Mocha Meringue Cake
 
Total show pony dessert
Author:
Serves: 8-10 slices
Ingredients
The meringue
  • 2 tsp strong instant coffee granules
  • ½ tsp boiling water
  • 1 tblsp cornflour
  • 1 cup almond meal (any nut meal will work a treat)
  • 4 eggwhites
  • 1½ cups icing sugar
The mousse
  • ½ cup pouring cream
  • ¼ cup strong instant coffee granules (yes, ¼ cup)
  • 400g milk chocolate (original recipe is 300g white choc, 100g dark choc)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1½ cups thickened cream, whipped
Instructions
For the meringue
  1. Preheat the oven to 120C and draw 2 x 20cm circles on baking paper
  2. Dissolve the coffee in the water
  3. Combine the cornflour with the almond meal
  4. Whisk the egg whites in an electric mixer until stiff peaks form
  5. Add the sugar in spoonfuls and beat until thick and glossy
  6. Scrape down the sides then add the almond meal mix and whisk until just combined
  7. Turn the baking paper upside-down (so the pencil doesn't transfer onto the meringue) and place on two baking trays
  8. Spoon the meringue onto the two circles and smooth with a pallet knife or spatula
  9. Bake for 1hr, then turn off the oven and leave in there for 2 hours or overnight
For the mousse
  1. Put the ½ cup of cream and the coffee in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water
  2. Once the coffee starts dissolving add the chocolate and stir every now and then until it's all melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly (I basically waited until it was blood warm)
  3. Whisk the eggwhites until soft peaks
  4. Mix the egg yolks into the chocolate then fold through the eggwhites
  5. Refrigerate for 15 minutes (or in my case a few hours because I made it all out of order!)
To assemble
  1. Grease and line a 24cm springform tin
  2. Place one of the meringue discs into the bottom of the cake pan, top with mousse and then the remaining meringue
  3. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours
  4. Dust with icing sugar

 

Pecan Shortbread (pecan puffs)

A pecan shortbread recipe which just dissolves on your tongue.

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Let it be known the pecan is the king of nuts. I won’t hear any battle cries from cashews or pistachios, the pecan has it. This recipe is based on an almond kilfi recipe but I had pecans and needed them in my guts in a baked form.

I do this all in the food processor which I view as a good thing because I’ll often avoid the processor if it’s for just one step of a recipe because it’s a bastard to wash up. See also: lazy.

Don’t over mix it, just until it all comes together. And don’t make them too big – this recipe should make 60, yes SIXTY, little crescents. Basically work with a little ball of dough about as big as your thumb to the first knuckle. If you make them too big they clag in your mouth rather than just dissolving on your tongue.

Pecan shortbread
A pecan shortbread recipe which just dissolves on your tongue

 

Pecan Shortbread (pecan puffs)
 
Delightful little shortbreads that just dissolve on your tongue
Author:
Ingredients
  • 125g pecans
  • 250g butter
  • 350g (2⅓ cups) plain flour
  • 1 tblsp caster sugar
  • 1 cup (or so) icing sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 160C and have two baking trays ready to go
  2. Blitz the pecans in a food processor
  3. Add all the other ingredients except the icing sugar and blitz until it all comes together
  4. Roll little half-thumb sized balls of dough into a little log then press in the middle to make into a crescent. Don't be precious about this, mine always end up looking more like little logs than crescents
  5. Place on baking trays, they don't spread so you can put them quite close to each other
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes until they're light brown
  7. When cool roll in the icing sugar (to be honest I never measure the icing sugar)
  8. Store in a container and pour over a bit more icing sugar.
  9. Try not to eat 10 at a time.

 

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