Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Strawberry and Rhubarb Spiral Shortbread

This year I joined the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.
Not only did I get to bake a dozen cookies for three of my fellow food bloggers (Manu's Menu, Sweetly Baked, Cookie Queen Kitsch'nbut I also received three sets of delicious cookies in the mail. Win win.
Christmas Biscotti from Cut the Cookie.
Roasted Almond, Chocolate and Honeycomb cookies from ChewTown.
Peanut butter cup and pretzel cookies from Modest Munchies.
They were sooooooo good!

So for my contribution I chose to cook these spiral shortbread cookies.
Simply combine plain flour, rice flour, butter and caster sugar.

Earlier I chopped up rhubarb and strawberries, cooked in a saucepan with a little water until soft, then cooled and pureed.

Separate a third of your dough and mix in the pureed strawberry and rhubarb.

The remainder of the dough was rolled out and refrigerated for about five minutes. 
Carefully spread the fruity mix on top and refrigerate for about fifteen minutes.

Carefully roll up.
 If it cracks, stop and let it soften slightly first.

Refrigerate for an hour.
 I turn it slightly every ten minutes to try and keep it round and avoid a flat side.

Now its ready to slice and bake in a preheated oven for 25 minutes at 160 degrees celcius.

Cool on a rack.

Wrapped up ready to post.

Melt in your mouth shortbread.
 The fruitiness is on the subtle side but is made up for by the prettiness!

Strawberry and Rhubarb Spiral Shortbread
(makes three dozen)

2 cups plain flour
2 tbsp rice flour
250g butter
1/2 cup caster sugar
couple of sticks of rhubarb 
handful strawberries

Cut up the rhubarb and strawberries and place in a small saucepan. 
Add a tablespoon of water and place on a gentle heat until soft.
Set aside to cool then puree.
Combine the flours, butter and sugar until a dough forms.
Divide a third of the dough and set aside.
Roll out the remaining dough between grease proof paper until about 5 mm thick.
Place in the fridge for 5 minutes.
Combine the puree with the dough you set aside.
Carefully spread out in an even layer on the rolled out dough.
Place in fridge for about 15 minutes.
Carefully roll up. 
(NB. if it cracks you will need to let it sit at room temperature and soften a bit)
Place in fridge for an hour turning often to try and avoid a flat side.
Preheat oven to 160 degrees celcius.
Cut into slices (about 8mm) and place on lined baking tray.
Bake for 25 minutes or until just golden around the edges.
Cool on a cooling rack.

If you want to be reminded about the cookie swap to join in next year please click here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Green Pea Soup - Cooking with Evie

Recently my miss Evie won Charlie's Cookies competition on facebook for her delicious shoe shaped cookies she made for her birthday.

Part of her magnificent prize was this recipe book Roald Dahl's Completely Revolting Recipes, along with a gorgeous apron, cooking utensils and oh, not to mention a years supply of cookies!!!!

This recipe for Green Pea Soup was her first choice to cook.
Firstly she chopped up the spring onion.

Then the garlic.

She peeled the potatoes, and chopped them up.

And I am pleased to announce all fingers were still perfectly intact.

After sweating the onion, garlic and potato with some butter the peas and chicken stock are added, simmering slowly for fifteen minutes.

The bacon was chopped and cooked until nice and crispy.

And what better to serve with then some home baked sourdough.

The bread is coated with some seasoned oil.

Then cooked in the griddle pan, yum.

Meanwhile the soup is pureed.

Topped with bacon and devoured.

It was actually fantastic, such a simple recipe that results in great flavour and very satisfying.

Thank you Charlie's Cookies :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sourdough & a Brasserie Bread class

Wholemeal sourdough (made by me!)

Recently I attended a 'Start your Starter' class at Brasserie Bread, an Artisan Bakery in a suburb far far away from mine.

You know its going to be good when you are greeted with this, fresh croissants warm out of the oven, absolutely delicious.

You realise quite quickly how passionate they are about bread, as we are introduced to artisan baking by Matt.

Here is everything you need to make a loaf of sourdough - starter, water, flour and salt.

A sticky mess to begin with.

Slowly as you work through the kneading process you really begin to feel the dough develop (though mine not as quickly as Matt's in the background!).

Happy resting away in one of the many steps.

Meanwhile we were able to use dough preprepared to learn to shape and bake beautiful bread.

Not surprisingly after all that work we were famished, but not for long as we were presented with samples from every bread they bake to eat with local produce.

And of course we made our own starter, using honey, flour and water.

I took it home and left it until it bubbled before starting a feeding process every eight hours.
After one week I baked my first loaf and I was amazed, beautiful.

Every loaf so far has been delicious in flavour and texture.

Want to bake your own? 
You can learn all about the starter and recipes at Brasserie Bread

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mexican Pulled Pork

Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to be seated near Detective Chow from Food Scene Investigation at a bloggers dinner. An amazing opportunity arose where he could share some free range pig raised with love on the south coast. It feels so good to eat meat from an animal you know has lived in a natural environment, the way that it should be.

I was delighted with this beautiful piece of pork for braising, and what better dish to create then a slow cooked melt in your mouth one.
 I used Sammy and Bella's recipe for Mexican Pulled Pork.

The meat is seasoned and seared.

The onions, garlic, cumin and oregano (can you already smell the aroma of mexico?!) are cooked until translucent.

How beautiful are these spices, paprika and chipotle.

Into the pot they go along with tomatoes,vinegar and coriander (roots and stems).

Then the pork and enough water to cover. 

The pork is covered and baked in a slow oven for four hours turning every hour.

After resting for ten minutes it is gently pulled apart with two forks.

The sauce is reduced down until thick.

And combined with the pork.

Done, easy. 
Then you can serve however you wish, so many options with this tasty dish.

The first night I served it in some crunchy tortilla bowls.

It was very much enjoyed. 
Not to forget the next night when we served it with corn chips, yum!