Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Honey joys and holidays

I was never one for chocolate crackles.

When I was a child, at birthday parties, kids went crazy for them, but I didn't touch them. For my birthday parties, I always asked Mum to make me honey joys.

I love to make these for my own children now, using my Mum's original recipe that had been clipped from the side of a Kelloggs Cornflakes box, sometime during the mid seventies. I like to make them on my kids birthday's or over the school holidays, when there is usually plenty of kids around to enjoy the treat. I have a feeling I will be whipping up some honey joys these holidays, as we are going to visit our cousins.

We are going to be away for 3 weeks. Our family's first road trip. I will not be blogging here during my time away, but I am sure to be back with lots of new food inspiration.

Until then.... enjoy your own school holidays (if you are a mum) and happy cooking.

Honey Joys

makes 24

• 90 grams butter
• 1/3 cup caster sugar
• 1 tablespoon honey
• 4 cups cornflakes

Preheat oven to 150 degrees. Set out the paper patty cases onto a tray. In a saucepan, heat the butter, sugar and honey until the butter has melted and the mixture is frothy. Add the cornflakes and mix well. Spoon into the patty cases and bake for 10 minutes.

Oh.... and another thing, totally unrelated.....

Since changing my template a few weeks ago, I have noticed quiet a few posts with spacing problems, both in the recipes and between the pictures. I don't like to leave this space this way, but I haven't had the time to fix the problem. If you are visiting or cooking from this space, I apologise in advance for some higgledy piggledy posts that you might find.

It is the first thing on my 'to do' list when I return from holidays. We should be back to normal in no time.

Monday, September 17, 2012

More Cake!

I have been meaning to make this cake forever. I usually make a lemon pound cake, but wanted to try this one for my daughters birthday barbecue in the park on the weekend. Pound cakes are perfect for transporting.

Served with lashings of whipped cream and piles of sweet, local strawberries, this was a hit. It happily fed the 25 people at the party, a few of the big boys (a.k.a Dad's) were seen going back for seconds.

I only had half a piece and I am going to make it again. I wonder if I could put a little less sugar in it next time? The raw mixture had tasted like pure ice-cream, very sweet ice-cream. But when served with the unsweetened whipped cream, there was a good balance. I have written the recipe here, just as Paula Dean's grandmother would have made it.

I have also added some 'bundt cake tin' secrets.

This was my first bundt cake that came out perfectly. Perhaps it was my 'new tips' or perhaps it was just the non stick tin, I'm not sure. Earlier on in the year, I bought a smaller, German made, bundt tin from the op shop. It is so cute, but it is old and doesn't have a modern non-stick surface. When I used it, the cake got stuck (the tin is deep and narrow). It was not pretty.

Do you have trouble with Bundt tins?

Sour Cream Pound Cake

makes 1 large bundt cake

• 225 grams butter (softened)
• 3 cups caster sugar
• 6 eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 cup sour cream
• 3 cups plain flour
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 160 degrees. Grease and flour a 25cm diameter Bundt tin*. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix until well combined. Add the vanilla and then the sour cream. Mix well. Sift in the flour and baking powder and spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when tested.

* How to remove a cake from a Bundt tin

• It is important to grease the tin properly before baking the cake. Using a pastry brush, coat the Bundt tin with solid vegetable shortening. (I used butter) Make sure that you have greased the entire tin thoroughly, including all of the nooks and crannies.

• Dust the tin lightly with flour. Tap the tin with the palms of your hand to distribute the flour evenly throughout the Bundt tin. Turn the tin over to remove any excess flour. Regrease and reflour any areas of the tin where the flour did not stick.

• Just before the cake is finished baking, place a folded bathroom towel in the kitchen sink. Soak the towel with boiling water. When the cake comes out of the oven, place the tin on top of the towel and let it sit for 10 seconds.

• To unmold the cake, immediately invert the cake onto a cooling rack. Use care as the cake will be very hot.

• If the cake starts to break apart before it's out of the tin, allow the cake to cool in the tin for an additional 10 minutes. Loosen the sides with a rubber spatula or plastic knife. Try to unmold the cake again, using the same steam-removal method.

I used this 'steam-removal method' and my cake came out perfectly. I'm now digging out all of those European cake recipes that use a Bundt tin. Honestly, I had avoided making them, for fear of disaster.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Lemon and Blueberry Cake

I never did get back to the computer yesterday afternoon to write up this recipe. I have been wanting to post this all week.

I first discovered this cake at the beginning of the lemon season and have made it a few times over the last couple of months. I made it again last week when a friend came for morning tea. It's a good cake to make when friends come over because it is quick and dead easy. It's as easy to make as any simple loaf cake, but very impressive, as if you have gone to a lot of trouble.

I guess my secret is out now, here is the recipe.

Lemon and Blueberry Cake

make 1 loaf

• 225 grams butter (softened)
• 1 cup caster sugar
• 3 eggs
• 2/3 cup plain flour
• 1 cup ground almonds
• 2/3 cup polenta
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• zest and juice of 1 lemon
• zest and juice of 1 lime
• 1 cup blueberries

for the lemon syrup

• juice of 1 lemon
• 1/2 cup icing sugar

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Grease and flour a standard 11x21cm loaf tin. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix until well combined. Fold in the flour, almonds, polenta, baking powder and the lemon and lime zest and juice. Gently fold in the blueberries. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 40 minutes. Cover with foil and bake for a further 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when tested. Allow to sit in the tin for 5 minutes. 

Mix the lemon juice and icing sugar together in a small bowl. Poke the cake all over with a skewer and pour the syrup over the cake. Leave it to soak into the cake, before turning it out to cool on a wire rack.

This recipe is from "Bills Basics"

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Summer Couscous Salad

Before you read this: This is an old post. I have been going through and enlarging my photos on old posts this morning. Do not ask me why this one was published here!? Instead of back in 2011 where it belongs! Oh Blogger! Time for a cup of tea I think.

In any case, if you are a new reader you might be happy to discover this recipe, perfect for the weather we are having now. I will be posting a new recipe later today. Stay tuned.

Yes, I know it is not summer, but I have decided to share this recipe anyway. It was, however, a very summery day here on Sunday when I made it for a picnic by the river. The cherry tomatoes were so delicious and sweet they were like little lollies bursting in your mouth.

I have been making this basic recipe for a long time. I often add different ingredients, depending on what it is being served with, the season or what's in the fridge. I love to add roasted vegetables, feta, nuts or different herbs. This salad also keeps well if you make it the day before.

Summer Couscous Salad

serves 4-6

• 1 1/2 cups of instant couscous
• 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
• 1/2 tables. ground cumin
• 1/2 cup lemon juice
• 1 x 250 gram punnet of cherry tomatoes (halved)
• 1/2 continental cucumber (diced)
• 1/2 red onion (diced)
• 4 shallots (sliced)
• 1 x 400 gram tin chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
• 1 handful flat-leaf parsely (torn)
• 1 handful mint leaves (torn)
• zest of 1 lemon
• salt and pepper

Bring the chicken stock to the boil. place the couscous into a heatproof bowl and pour over 1 cup of the chicken stock. Fluff the couscous with a fork as the stock is absorbed. Add the remaining stock if required, all couscous brand will soak up the stock differently. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small pan and gently saute eh garlic. Stir in the cumin and fry for half a minute. Stir in the lemon juice. Pour this mixture over the couscous. Mix through the other ingredients and serve.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

I've been doing it all wrong!

During the week I cleaned out (organised) our freezer. We have a large stand alone freezer in the garage that I could not live without. Down in it's depths I found the remains (leftover bones) of 7 chicken roast dinners and 4 lamb roasts. So needless to say, I have been making pots and pots of stock this week.

I also found a million little bags of bread ends. Since I left home at 17, I have been keeping the stale ends of good bread and putting it into the freezer to be made into breadcrumbs. However about a month ago I was watching the a River Cottage DVD and realised that I've been doing it all wrong.

Thanks Hugh for the great tip: dry out the bread in the oven before blitzing them in the food processor!

Such a simple thing.

I used to defrost the bread, process it into breadcrumbs, then return the breadcrumbs to the freezer, ready to use. Hugh's way, means that there is no moisture left in the bread, so they can be stored in an airtight container in the pantry instead and not take up precious freezer space. Brilliant.

You never do stop learning.

Homemade Breadcrumbs

• leftover pieces of stale bread (defrosted if necessary and broken up)

Preheat oven to 100 degrees. Put the broken up pieces of bread on to a flat baking tray and bake for 2 hours. Leave the bread to cool completely before processing in a food processor to fine breadcrumbs. Store in an airtight container.
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