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Creamy cauliflower and chestnut soup

1st attempt at an Autumn soup, and glad to say it was a success!

Ingredients:
Serves 4 – 6

1 cauliflower head – roughly chopped into large pieces
1 medium potato – cubed
1/2 yellow onion – roughly chopped
200g chestnuts boiled, shell and skin removed
Olive oil
Grated nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste

Optional:
Rind of parmesan

Method:
1. pierce a hole in every chestnut and boil with plenty of water for 30 to 40min.
2. In a large saucepan heat up about 2 Tablespoons of olive oil.
3. Sauteed the onions till soft
4. Add the potatoes and stir, leave to cook for 3 -4 min.
5. Add cauliflower, mix to coat with oil. Add enough water to just cover the ingredients. Cook with the rind of parmesan if available.
6. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer till the cauliflower and potatoes are soft.
7. In the meantime, peel the chestnuts.
8. Add the chestnuts to the soup, add salt and pepper and grated nutmeg to taste.
9. Continue to simmer until the chestnuts are soft.
10. Blend to achieve a creamy texture.

Note:

The original recipe was from bbcgoodfood and uses milk and cream instead of potato.

Don’t let the colour put you off! The soup gets a ugly brownish colour because of the chestnuts but are really tasty.

 

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Spelt flour orange coconut raisin muffins

Ingredients
Makes 12 regular size muffins

2 cups Waitrose spelt flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 teaspoons sugar (original recipe called for 3/4 cup white sugar)
1 medium egg
1/2 cup milk + ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons orange zest
1/2 cup dessicated coconut

1/2 cup raisins – soaked in water before use

Directions

 

  • Preheat oven to 400oF (200oC).
  • In a large bowl, stir flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  • In a small bowl, beat eggs, stir in oil and milk. Pour into the flour mixture. Fold the mixture quickly and lightly with a balloon whisk until almost combined, do not beat. The batter will be lumpy.
  • Add in the dessicated coconut and raisin. Mix just a few more times.
  • Pour the batter into greased muffin pan cups or paper lined.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden.

 

Verdict: very good, minimal sweetness with a hint of coconut fragrance, perfectly healthy for breakfast, tea or supper! And as usual something to give my boyfriend for his journey home 🙂

spelt flour orange coconut muffin

Notes:  I actually used ½ milk ½ coconut milk, didn’t seem to affect the taste, if anything this enhances the coconut flavour.

 

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Coffee Chiffon Cake

Ingredients:

4 medium eggs yolks
about 40g corn oil
about 60g hot water – dissolve in 1 sachet instant nescafe coffee (not the 3-in-1 type), 2 teaspoons milk powder and 1 teaspoon sugar
about 70g plain flour

Meringue:
4 egg whites
40g caster sugar

Method:

Preheat oven to 170deg C.

1. Beat the egg yolks with the oil and dissolved coffee
2. Sift in the flour and stir till well combined
3. Using an electric hand beater, beat the egg whites at low speed until foamy. This took me about 3 min.
4. Add the caster sugar into the egg white in 3 batches, without stopping the beater.
5. Increase to medium high speed and beat until stiff peaks are formed (about 2 minutes).
6. Using a spatula or big spoon, add 1/3 of the meringue to the egg yolk batter. Fold using balloon whisk or spatula until all combined – no more meringue streak
7. Add in the next 1/3 of meringue to the egg yolk batter and fold.
8. Transfer the egg yolk batter to the remaining meringue and fold until all combined.
9. Carefully pour into a chiffon cake tin – I only had a 17cm or 23cm. The 17cm wasn’t big enough so I had some left, the 23cm is probably too big so you wont have such a high cake. I think probably a 18 or 20cm tin would be just right.
10. Bang the tin on the table top firmly twice.
11. Bake in the pre-heated oven (fan off) for 35min. Check the top isn’t too brown around 20min. If the top starts to get too brown, cover loosely with aluminium foil.
12. Once the cake is baked, remove from oven and bang 2x on kitchen top.
13. Invert over a funnel and let the cake cool completely before removing from the tin.

Verdict: I think I got it! I can make chiffon cakes – the soft fluffy airy chiffon cakes!
Like almost all the cakes I make, it isn’t too sweet. Anyone with a sweet tooth can probably increase the sugar amount by another tsp. But I like it this way actually, perfect for afternoon tea, or breakfast, or supper.

Next time I’ll use freshly brewed italian espresso — I think the coffee aroma can be improved.

  

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Guacamole

Ingredients:
1 large ripe avocado
1/2 lime – juice
3-4 cherry tomatoes
1/2 onion – roughly chopped
1 red bird’s eye chilli – fresh or dried will be fine
about 8 – 10 coriander leaves roughly chopped
Extra virgin olive oil

Method:

1. Scoop the flesh of the avocado into a bowl and immediately squeeze the lime juice over it.
2. Roughly slice the chilli and add to the avocado.
3. Blitz in a food processor till broken up – probably 5-8 seconds will be sufficient.
4. Roughly chop the tomatoes and onions.
5. Add to the food processor and pulse blitz. If a smoother texture is preferred then blitz a few more times.
6. Add the coriander leaves and drizzle over with the olive oil.
7. Season with some black pepper or sesame seed if desired.

Serve with crackers, bread sticks, crispbreads, foccacia whatever you wish!
The guacamole does turn a ‘uglier’ shade of green very quickly so I try to squeeze of the lime juice as quickly as possible, and also avoid using an overly ripe avocado. The one in the picture has changed colour slightly, I made this as well a week ago and it stayed a lovely green even overnight. A friend also suggested storing it with the stone so that’s what I did then…that might have helped keep it a nice green.

I didn’t need to this time though because it was almost all finished at dinner!guacamole-2.jpeg

Guacamole with Crispbread

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Coconut and cranberries loaf cake

One of my first successes in making a loaf cake! It really paid to attend the baking course earlier this year @ Palate Sensations in Singapore. The chef/instructor was really good, very willing to share little tips and tricks. I can’t remember her name, I am ashamed to admit.

This is a recipe modified from Waitrose (UK) supermarket food magazine, but I now know what steps are needed to make these kinds of cake.

Recipe:
Makes 1 regular loaf

Ingredients:
175g unsalted butter – take out from fridge and let it warm up to room temperature
175g caster sugar
175g self raising flour
3 medium eggs
80 to 90g dessicated coconut
Dried cranberries (original recipe called for 150g fresh raspberries – roughly torn)

1. Preheat oven to 180 degree celsius. Lightly grease a loaf tin and line with baking paper.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar till pale and creamy.
3. Whilst still beating, add eggs one at a time. Ensure that each addition in fully incorporated before adding the next. If the mixture separates, add a tablespoon of flour and continue to beat.
4. When all the eggs have been incorporated, turn off the beater. Add the flour and foil till just combined.
5. Add the dessicated coconut and cranberries, foil to combine.
6. Pour batter into the prepared loaf tin. Tap the tin firmly on the kitchen top to remove any large air bubbles.
7. Bake in the preheated oven for 55- 65 minutes. After around 40 minutes, check that top is not too browned. Cover with a piece of foil to prevent the top from burning.
8. When baked, remove from the tin and allow the cake to cool before serving.

My friends liked it and I have to say, I liked it very much!

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Orange Chiffon Cake

Another chiffon cake…I am still only 90% there, not yet got the perfect chiffon cake but I am very happy with this.

Original recipe from Wendyinkk.

Ingredients:
4 medium egg yolks
100g sugar – will reduce to 80g
150g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Orange zest from 2 oranges
115ml fresh orange juice
75ml corn oil (or vegetable oil)

4 egg whites
90g sugar

Method:
1. Beat egg yolks with the oil, orange juice and sugar.
2. Sift the flour with baking powder, and add to egg yolk.
3. Stir till well combined
4. Add orange zest and combine.

5. Beat egg whites at low speed till foamy.
6. Increase speed and add sugar in 3 intervals.
7. Beat till stiff peaks formed.

8. Add 1/4 of egg whites to the egg yolk batter and mix.
9. Repeat step 8.
10. Add the mixed batter to the remaining egg whites and fold till all combined.
11. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 175oC for about 45min.
Cover the cake with aluminium fold if the top starts to get too brown.

 

Looks good, soft and fluffy but I think it could do with another 5 min. I find it too sweet so in future I will reduce the amount of sugar.

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Grilled pork loin with apple sauce

Late post of dinner from 2 weeks ago, prepared without planning or preparation. The result was pretty satisfying, the pork turned out very soft and tasty.

Ingredients:
2 pieces of pork loin
Fresh sage leaves (about 10) chopped (half for the apple sauce)
salt and pepper to taste
lemon zest from half a lemon

Apple sauce:
3 granny smith green apples, cored and cubed.
1 tablespoon of demerera sugar
cinnamon powder
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of water

Method:
1. Place pork loin in baking tray, sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides. Sprinkle over 1/2 of chopped sage and the lemon zest.

2. Set oven temperature to 180deg C and place tray in the upper section of oven. Grill till the surface of the pork starts to brown lightly.
3. Remove from oven and turn the pork to the other side.
4. COntinue to grill until the pork is a light brown colour.

To make the apple sauce:
1. Place the chopped apples in a saucepan. Add the sugar and water and bring to a boil, giving the apples a good mix.
2. sprinkle cinnamon powder according to your taste and add the remaining chopped sage.
3. Let the apples simmer until soft, about 8 – 10 minutes.
4. Transfer to a food processor and pulse for a few times.

Serve the pork loin with the applesauce and preferred side vegetables!

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