Friday, December 13, 2013

Chocolate Pretzel Beer Toffee

I stumbled upon this recipe for Chocolate Pretzel Beer Toffee by The Beeroness.

I'm telling you now that if you want to make a homemade gift for that beer lovin' guy or gal in your life then this is the recipe.

In fact I don't even like beer but this toffee is incredible, the balance of flavours with the sugar, beer and butter just works.

The toffee is made with just that - beer (amber ale), butter and sugar (I used raw).
Its thick and glossy, then sets hard but not too hard.

The chocolate (70%) is melted with hot beer tipped over it. Mine did seize but I managed to rescue it with more beer!

Then top the chocolate with smashed pretzels.

Set in the fridge then cut into generous sized chunks.

I'm hoping the recipients are happy!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Duck, Lychee & Watermelon Salad , Kambrook Christmas Cooking Class and Chai Banana Blitz2Go Smoothie

Recently I was invited by Kambrook to a Christmas cooking course at The Hospitality Establishment.

It was a fun afternoon filled with food, cooking and eating, learning some new 'perfect for Christmas' recipes, and witnessing how Kambrook appliances can make it all go so smoothly.

Our hosts Tony and Garth were very knowledgeable and added so much to making the afternoon enjoyable.  
It was a very relaxed class where you could sit back and relax, or get involved in the cooking (like me!).

We cooked a four course meal: 

- beautiful fresh scallops cooked in the Kambrook electric frypan with a delicious thai dressing wizzed in a Kambrook Blender

- salad of duck, lychee and watermelon with the duck cooked in the Kambrook electric frypan and the dressing made in a Kambrook Processor

- tender roast pork cooked in the Kambrook Turbo Convection oven served with an amazing cauliflower puree made using Kambrook stick blender

- Christmas pudding cooked in the Kambrook Pressure cooker with brandy custard 

- and Christmas Inspired macarons made using the Kambrook electric mixer.

So the first of the recipes I have recreated at home is the duck, lychee and watermelon salad.
It is such a beautiful recipe using fresh ingredients, and can be done in a short period of time.
I'm not so sure how well received it would be if I cooked it for my family at Christmas as they don't usually eat duck, but if I could convince them to would be love at first bite.
Would your family like duck for christmas?

What I particularly like about this recipe is the addition of palm sugar praline, you smash into the dressing after you puree the base ingredients (garlic, ginger, eschallot, coriander roots, and chilli).
It took the dressing to another level, along with much lime juice balanced with fish sauce.

The duck component is breast simply seasoned with pepper and fish sauce, then pan fried skin side down for crispiness and then cooked on the other side. The resting of the duck after cooking is so important.

All the beautiful fresh salad ingredients of mint, coriander, lychees, and watermelon are tossed together, top with the sliced duck and pour over the dressing. 

Another great surprise on the day was the gift of a Kambrook Blitz2Go Blender.
I couldn't believe it!
It is a clever little thing too, where you add your ingredients directly to the bottle, screw on the blade then flip it upside down to blend in seconds.
Simply remove your bottle, swap the blade for a lid, and your ready to go.

This is my little Chai Banana smoothie recipe - blend a frozen banana with 1 cup chilled soy chai tea, a teaspoon of honey and a spoonful of natural yohgurt.
A perfect pick me up on a hot day.

I am so thankful to Kambrook for inviting me, and being so generous with the gift. 
Please do go check their facebook page, they share great stuff and have giveaways too.

I also wanted to thank The Hospitality Establishment for the great afternoon and the generosity of them allowing me to share their recipe.
They run many cooking classes, I would love to go back and do one if anyone is interested in joining me?

Duck and Watermelon Salad
(I have written it as on the recipe sheet provided)

4 duck breasts
8 lychees, peeled, halved, deseeded
1/4 cup coriander leaves
1/4 cup mint leaves
100 g watermelon
1 large red chilli
2 eshallots
1 tbs crushed peanuts
20 ml fish sauce
pinch of black pepper

Slice duck skin, just to meaty part.
Marinate duck in pepper and fish sauce, sit for 10 mins.
Heat Kambrook frypan up until just smoking, lay duck breasts skin side down and cook for 8 mins. Turn over and cook for 6 mins. Remove from pan and rest for 6 mins uncovered.
Slice duck into small pieces.
In a large bowl mix lychees, mint and coriander leaves.
Slice watermelon into small pieces, slice eschallots and julienne red chillli.
Mix all ingredients together and sprinkle with crushed peanuts.

Ingredients - Dressing
4 red chillies
1 knob ginger
2 eschallots
2 cloves of garlic
20 ml fish sauce
3 coriander roots
50g palm sugar
pinch white pepper
Juice of 8 limes

Method - Dressing
In the Kambrook food processor wizz chilli, garlic, pepper, ginger, eschallots and coriander root until a fine paste has formed.
Add palm sugar and wizz until sugar has dissolved.
Add lime juice.
Season with fish sauce, add small amounts and taste until desired balance is achieved.

Note: I added cucumber to my salad, and I used the palm sugar and peanuts to make a praline that was incorporated into the dressing, a method shown to us with the scallop dressing.