Opera Cake

Opera Cake

Opera Cake

One of Patrick’s favourite things to do in the kitchen is make buttercream and decorate cakes – he even has an entire instagram page devoted to his cake decorations (Check it out here: www.instagram.com/pogicakes). So when we decided to bake a cake for a friend, buttercream was at the forefront of our minds. This decadent cake consists of layers of sponge cake, buttercream and chocolate ganache, topped with a layer of chocolate glaze. We chose to serve our cake sliced, decorated with edible gold paint, but traditionally the cake would be served whole, with the word “Opera” piped on top in chocolate ganache. Either way, it’s a decadent hit of chocolate and coffee goodness best to share with friends so you aren’t tempted to go for a second slice!

Joconde Sponge Cake:

  • 85g   almond meal
  • 75g   icing sugar
  • 25g   plain flour
  • 120g eggs (around 2 medium eggs)
  • 80g   egg whites
  • 10g   caster sugar
  • 30g   butter, melted

Preheat oven to 200°C. Mix together the almonds, icing sugar and flour in a bowl. Add the eggs a little at a time and mix well until the batter becomes smooth and pale. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites and sugar together until they form stiff peaks. Gently fold the batter into the whipped egg whites, then fold in the melted butter.

Spread the mixture on a baking sheet lined with baking paper to 5mm thickness, smoothing the mixture to ensure an even layer across the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cake is golden and firm to the touch. Remove form the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack.

Coffee Buttercream:

  • 5g instant coffee
  • 15ml boiling water
  • 250g sugar
  • 60ml water
  • 90g egg yolks
  • 300g butter, softened
  • 4ml vanilla extract
  1. Dissolve the instant coffee in 15ml of boiling water and set aside to cool.
  2. Combine the sugar and 60ml water in a saucepan and place over a medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Continue to boil until the sugar syrup reaches 115°
  3. While the syrup is boiling, beat the egg yolks until they are thick and pale.
  4. As soon as the syrup reaches 115°C, pour it slowly into the egg yolks, continuing to whisk constantly.
  5. Continue to beat until the mixture has completely cooled. The yolks should be very thick and pale.
  6. Continue beating the mixture as you add the butter a little at a time.
  7. Beat in the vanilla and coffee mixture. If the buttercream is too soft to spread, refrigerate until it becomes firmer.

Dessert Syrup

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tsp instant coffee

Combine sugar and water in a saucepan and bring the boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add the coffee and stir well.

Chocolate Ganache

  • 200g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 250g double cream

Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a hot water bath. Heat the cream and add to the chocolate. Mix well and chill.

Opera Glaze

  • 350g dark chocolate couverture
  • 60g peanut oil

Melt chocolate in a bowl set over a hot water bath. Stir in the oil. Allow to cool a little before using. (Makes a thin coating which sets solid but can easily be cut with a hot knife)

To assemble:

  • Joconde Sponge Cake
  • 50g dark chocolate, melted
  • Dessert Syrup
  • Coffee Buttercream
  • Chocolate Ganache
  • Opera Glaze
  1. Cut the sponge into 3 equal rectangular portions. Spread one piece with a think layer of dark chocolate, then refrigerate to set the chocolate
  2. Remove the chocolate coated sponge from the refrigerator, turn chocolate side down and brush with the Dessert Syrup.
  3. Spread a layer of Coffee Buttercream above the sponge rectangle, about 5mm thick.
  4. Place the second sponge rectangle on top. Brush with the syrup and then spread a thin layer of Chocolate Ganache on top.
  5. Top with the third and final layer of sponge. Brush with the syrup and spread with a layer of Coffee Buttercream, about 5mm thick. Smooth the top carefully with a palette knife.
  6. Refrigerate or freeze until firm. The cake must be quite cold so the warm glaze doesn’t melt the buttercream.
  7. Place the cake on a wire rack over a tray and pour over the warm Opera Glaze. Smooth the surface with a palette knife and refrigerate the cake until the glaze has set.
  8. Remove cake from the rack and trim the sides of the cake with a hot knife.

To Serve:

  • ¼ tsp gold powder
  • ½ tsp gin

If you like, cut the cake into rectangular slices approximately 5cm x 10cm. Mix together the gold powder and gin, and using a fine paintbrush, decorate the top of each slice with a triangle of golden glaze. Use a piece of baking paper cut to purpose as a guide to ensure a uniform triangle on each slice of cake.

Alternatively, using chocolate ganache, you could pipe the word “Opera” onto the top of the entire cake and serve whole.

Chicken Asado

Chicken Asado

Chicken Asado

On our recent trip to The Philippines, we spent a week visiting Patrick’s family. As everyone knows, nothing tastes better than your mother’s cooking! We were treated to homemade sinigang, adobo, caldareta and Mommy’s famous Chicken Asado. This recipe is our attempt to replicate the experience of eating your mother’s home cooking, but with modern plating. If you’ve never tried Filipino cuisine, this is a great place to begin. It’s an easy but tasty dish with no challenging ingredients. Let us know if you enjoy it!

This recipe serves 6 people. Serve with rice.

Ingredients:

  • 100ml soy sauce
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • 6 whole chicken legs (Marylands)
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1 large carrot
  • Canola or vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 85g liver spread or chicken paté
  • 300g tomato passata
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 green chillies, whole
  • salt to taste
  • parsley and sorrel leaves, to garnish

Method:

  1. For the marinade, combine soy sauce and lemon juice in a large bowl and add the chicken legs. Rub the marinade all over the chicken, then cover and refrigerate for at least one hour, or overnight.
  2. Cut half of the carrot into matchstick shaped batons approximately 3cm by ½cm. Slice the remaining carrot and the potatoes into ½cm thick slices. Using a 4cm cookie cutter, cut the sliced vegetables into rounds. Then, using a 2.5cm cookie cutter, punch a hole through the middle of the carrot circles, to create a carrot ring and a smaller circle.
  3. In a pan, heat the oil and then shallow fry the potato and carrot until tender and brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. Remove the chicken from the marinade, reserving the liquid. Fry the chicken in the same pan, browning both sides but not cooking all the way through. Remove and set aside. Once the chicken cools a little, french the bone by cutting through the meat around the bone 1 inch from the base of the leg. Remove the skin and flesh by pulling it from the bone. Clean the bone by scraping away any remaining meat with a knife.
  5. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and sauté until slightly brown, then add the liver spread or paté and continue to sauté until this has browned as well.
  6. Add the tomato passata, brown sugar, pepper, water and marinade. Mix together and add the chicken pieces back to the pan. Simmer over a low heat for 15 minutes, or until the sauce is thick. Add the bay leaves and chillies and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Remove the chicken from the sauce and set aside. Strain the sauce through a fine metal sieve into a large bowl, and use a stick blender to emulsify the sauce. Wipe out the pan and return the sauce, then return the pan to a medium heat, reducing the sauce until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.

To Serve:

Swirl 3 tablespoons of sauce in a circular pattern across each plate. Place a chicken leg on one side of the plate, and pour another tablespoon of sauce on top of the chicken. On the opposite side of the plate, arrange the potato and carrot circles and batons according to your preference. Finely chop some of the parsley and use it to garnish the chicken leg. Decorate the plate with some sorrel and parsley leaves. Sarap!

Traditional Asado

If you’re curious to try a more traditional Asado, or just can’t be bothered with fancy plating, simply change a few steps above.

At Step 2, slice all of the potatoes and carrots into 1/2 cm thick slices.

At Step 4, there’s no need to french the bone.

At the end of Step 8, return the chicken, potatoes and carrot to the pan, stir well and serve immediately with rice.

Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara

It’s been a while between posts here on Recipe Road! Since we last posted we’ve been travelling, first to South Korea and Italy, and recently to The Philippines. We plan to bring you recipes from each of the countries we visited, starting with today’s Italian post!

In Italy we indulged in our love of Italian food, visiting the world’s #1 restaurant, Osteria Francescana. We also stayed on a farm in Tuscany, where our hosts cooked dinner each night from the produce in their garden. Another highlight was taking a pasta making class in Rome, which is where we learned today’s recipe. Our host taught us how to prepare fresh pasta, and we made linguine and ravioli. The final recipe we prepared was spaghetti carbonara, and our host insisted this recipe must be made with dried pasta, from a packet. He was also quite insistent that this dish must be made with pork cheek, not speck or bacon, and using pecorino cheese, not parmigiano-reggiano. It is a simple peasant dish, and traditionally uses these cheaper ingredients. However, if you have trouble sourcing pork cheek like we did, we won’t be offended if you use speck or bacon! Many people think carbonara sauce uses cream, but traditionally the amazing creaminess of the carbonara comes just from the egg, cheese and cooking water alone. We hope you enjoy this simple and tasty classic Italian dish.

Ingredients:

  • 30g pork cheek (guanciale) or speck per person
  • 100g dried spaghetti per person
  • 1 egg per person
  • 50g pecorino cheese per person, grated
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1-2 small continental parsley leaves per person (optional)

Method:

  1. Finely dice the pork cheek or speck and place in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the fat has melted and the meat is slightly toasted, then remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and the spaghetti. Take note of the cooking time on the packet, and drain the spaghetti 2 minutes before the cooking time is completed, reserving a cup of the cooking water.
  3. Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl. Add the grated pecorino, reserving a little for garnish. Mix well and add the cooked pork cheek and its fat, then the cooked pasta. Stir and toss the pasta in the egg mixture for a minute or two to cook the egg and melt the cheese. Add some of the reserved cooking water if necessary, continuing to mix until the sauce’s consistency reaches your liking.
  4. To serve, divide the spaghetti between plates, garnish with the reserved grated pecorino, season with freshly ground black pepper and add a final garnish of one or two parsley leaves if you like. Serve immediately!

Cauliflower with Grapes, Almonds and Curry

Cauliflower with Grapes, Almonds and Curry

Cauliflower with Grapes, Almonds and Curry

We’ve been wanting to try another recipe from the Eleven Madison Park cookbook by Daniel Humm and Will Guidara, after we enjoyed the Roasted Pork Rack with Onions and Cherries. The amount of preparation time is daunting however, so it wasn’t until we had a long weekend that we had time to cook this recipe. We’re so glad that we took the time, because it’s the most delicious thing we’ve made so far! The various textures of cauliflower, with the complimentary flavours of raisin, curry and carrot were amazing.Once again, we found the most daunting thing about cooking an Eleven Madison Park dish is the number of elements to be prepared, and flipping backwards and forwards between the main recipe and the sub-recipes in the back of the book. Hopefully our adaptation of the recipe makes the steps a little easier to follow. Individually, each element is fairly straightforward, and delicious! If you don’t feel like making this whole recipe, at least try the cauliflower puree, or the curry oil, or burnt butter, which we’ve been using in just about everything we make this week.

We have adapted this recipe to serve 4 people. You will have some extra brown butter, curry oil, and curried raisins.

Brown Butter:

  • 250g butter
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1 clove garlic

Place the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer slowly for about 40 minutes, until the butter is clear and a light caramel colour. Continue to cook, whisking vigorously until the butter becomes a walnut brown colour. Place the thyme and garlic in a sieve lined with cheesecloth. Strain the Brown Butter over the thyme and garlic, and set aside until needed. Discard the thyme and garlic.

Curry Oil:

  • 2 cups canola oil
  • ½ cup thinly sliced Granny Smith apples
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced white onions
  • ½ stalk lemongrass, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp Madras curry powder
  • 1 kaffir lime leaf

Heat 1 cup of the oil in a medium saucepan over a low heat. Add the apple, onion and lemongrass and sweat until translucent but not caramelised, about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder and toast for 2 minutes. Add the remaining oil and the kaffir lime leaf, and heat the oil to 70°C. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to steep for 20 minutes. Strain through a coffee filter.

Curry Raisin Puree

  • ¾ cup golden raisins
  • 30ml Curry Oil
  • ½ tsp salt

Place the raisins in a bowl. Pour hot water over the raisins and bloom at room temperature for 2 hours, or until they are soft. Drain, discarding the water, and puree in a blender or with a stick blender. Slowly incorporate the Curry Oil, with the blender still running. Add the salt and stir through.

Dehydrated Grapes

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 32 seedless red grapes

Preheat the oven to 65°C or set a dehydrator to 50°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar with 2 cups of water and bring to a simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved. Add the grapes and remove the pan from the heat. Steep for 5 minutes, remove the grapes from the syrup and transfer them to the baking tray. Dehydrate the sugared grapes in the oven for 2 hours or in the dehydrator for 4 hours.

Curried Raisins:

  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 ½ cups thinly sliced Granny Smith apples
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 1 tsp Madras curry powder
  • 1 pod star anise
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1/3 cup white port
  • 1 kaffir lime leaf
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • ¼ cup golden raisins

Place the canola oil in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Add the apple and shallots and sweat without caramelising until pale and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the curry powder, anise and peppercorns and toast for about 1 minute. Deglaze with the port and reduce until the pan is almost dry. Add two cups of water and the kaffir lime leaf and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and allow to steep for 10 minutes, then season with the salt. Place the golden raisins in a heatproof container, then strain the hot liquid over the raisins. Discard the solids and keep the raisins in their liquid at room temperature until ready to serve.

Carrot Curry Sauce:

  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 2 cups thinly sliced carrots
  • 1 cup thinly sliced white onion
  • 1 Tbsp thinly sliced ginger
  • 1 tsp Madras curry powder
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • ½ cup canned whole peeled tomatoes, drained
  • 3 ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 1 ½ tsp salt

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over a medium heat. Add the carrots, onion and ginger and sweat the vegetables for about 15 minutes, until they are tender. Add the curry powder and toast for one minute. Deglaze the saucepan with the white wine and reduce until almost all of the liquid has evaporated. Add the tomatoes, again cooking until almost dry. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, toast the coriander and cumin seeds over a low heat until fragrant. Add the toasted spices and chicken stock to the vegetables. Simmer slowly for 45 minutes, then strain the sauce and discard the solids. Return the liquid to the pan and reduce until you have 1 ½ cups of liquid. Season with the salt and immediately chill over ice.

Cauliflower Cross-Sections:

  • 1 ½ heads cauliflower

Slice 6 cross-sections of the cauliflower, each one measuring 3/8 of an inch thick. Each cross-section should keep the florets intact. Reserve the remainder of the cauliflower for the Cauliflower Puree.

Cauliflower Puree:

  • 1 ½ cups cauliflower trim, diced
  • ½ cup single cream
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 Tbsp Brown Butter
  • 1 tsp salt

Place the cauliflower in a saucepan and cover with the cream and milk. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer the cauliflower until tender, around 25 minutes. Drain the cauliflower, reserving the liquid. Puree in a blender or with a stick blender, adding one tablespoon of the liquid at a time, until the mixture is smooth but not too runny. Blend in the Brown Butter and season with the salt. If your puree is still a little coarse, pass through a fine mesh sieve.

Sous Vide Cauliflower:

  • 2 Cauliflower Cross-Sections
  • 30ml Curry Oil
  • 30ml Brown Butter
  • ½ tsp salt

Use a 1 ¼ inch ring cutter to punch out 8 cauliflower rounds from the Cauliflower Cross-Sections, including some floret and stem in each round. Trim 12 florets from the remaining cauliflower. Save all other trim for the Cauliflower Couscous. Place the rounds, florets, Curry Oil, Brown Butter and salt in a Sous Vide bag and vacuum seal. Simmer the bags in a water bath at 85°C for 20 minutes, until tender. Transfer to a bowl of ice water.

Cauliflower Couscous:

  • 1 cup cauliflower trim
  • ½ Tbsp Brown Butter
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp salt

Finely chop the cauliflower so that it resembles grains of couscous. Place in a small bowl and add the Brown Butter, lemon juice and salt. Stir well and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Roasted Cauliflower

  • 4 Cauliflower Cross-Sections
  • ¼ cup Curry Oil
  • ¼ cup Brown Butter
  • 1 Tbsp salt

Preheat the oven to 150°C. Slice each cross-section in half, so you have 8 pieces. Heat two large oven-proof sauté pans or casseroles over a high heat and divide the Curry Oil and Brown Butter between the pans. Place 4 pieces of cauliflower in each pan and lower the heat to medium. Sear the cauliflower until well browned on each side, basting with the oil and butter. Transfer the pans to the oven and roast until the cauliflower is cooked through and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Season with the salt.

To Serve:

  • 4 Tbsp Cauliflower Puree
  • 4 Tbsp Curry Raisin Puree
  • Carrot Curry Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Curry Oil
  • Sous Vide Cauliflower
  • 1 Tbsp chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • Salt
  • Curried Raisins
  • Dehydrated Grapes
  • 16 Blanched Almonds
  • Cauliflower Couscous
  • Madras Curry Powder
  • 8 sprigs celery leaves
  1. In three small saucepans, reheat the Cauliflower Puree, Curry Raisin Puree and Carrot Curry Sauce over a low heat. Add the Curry Oil to the Carrot Curry Sauce.
  2. Open the bags of the Sous Vide Cauliflower, drain the liquid and reserve it. In a medium sauté pan, heat the chicken stock and the reserved cooking liquid. Bring to a simmer and add the cauliflower discs and florets. Add the butter and reduce to a glaze, about 3 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
  3. Onto each plate, spoon 1 tablespoon of Cauliflower Puree and 1 tablespoon of Curry Raisin Puree. Place two Roasted Cauliflower sections on top. Add 2 cauliflower rounds, 3 cauliflower florets, 3 Curried Raisins, 3 Dehydrated Grapes, 4 Blanched Almonds and a spoonful of Cauliflower Couscous around the Roasted Cauliflower. Finish each plate with 1 tablespoon of Carrot Curry Sauce, a sprinkle of Madras Curry Powder and 2 celery leaves.

Eggplant with Buttermilk Sauce

image1If you’re one of the few people who is yet to discover Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty, you probably think vegetarian food is bland or boring. This book was a revelation for us when we bought a copy many years ago, and we’ve been fans of Ottolenghi ever since. These recipes are deceptive in their simplicity, in that Ottolenghi allows each featured ingredient to shine, but with a subtle complexity of flavor that enlivens the senses and encourages you to reach for a second helping. Try any of these recipes and you won’t be missing the meat.

Ian’s favourite vegetable is eggplant (aubergine), so the eggplant section in our copy of Plenty is well-thumbed and a little sticky, as all good cookbooks should be. Of all the eggplant recipes we know, this is the prettiest! Served with some chunky sourdough or pita bread, this makes a great entrée, or you could serve it as a side dish.

A note about Za’atar: This Middle Eastern term can refer to the herb thyme, or a blend of thyme, sesame, sumac and salt. We enjoy making our own blend and have listed the ingredients below, or you could simply substitute thyme leaves or buy a pre-made za’atar spice mix. If you make the spice mix, you will have much more than you need for this recipe, but it can be used to season anything from bread or potatoes to roasted or grilled chicken.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggplants
  • 80ml olive oil
  • 1 ½ tsp lemon thyme leaves, plus a few whole sprigs
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 1 tss za’atar spice mix
  • sea salt and black pepper

Sauce:

  • 140ml buttermilk
  • 100g Greek yoghurt
  • 1 ½ Tbsp olive oil, plus a little drizzle to finish
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Pinch of sea salt

Za’atar Spice Mix:

  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme leaves, lightly crushed in a mortar and pestle
  • 2 tsp sumac
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
  • ½ tsp salt

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas mark 6.
  2. Cut the eggplants in half lengthways, cutting through the green stalk. Using a sharp knife, make a few incisions in the cut side of each eggplant without cutting through the skin on the other side. Repeat the incisions at a 45-degree angle to create a diamond shaped pattern.
  3. Place the prepared eggplant halves cut-side up on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Brush them with the olive, continuing to brush until all of the oil has been absorbed. Sprinkle over the lemon thyme leaves and some salt and pepper, and garnish with a few of the lemon thyme sprigs.
  4. Roast for 35-40 minutes, or until the flesh is very soft and brown. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the pomegranate and sauce. Cut the pomegranate in half horizontally. Hold one half over a bowl with the cut side against your palm, and bash the skin of the pomegranate with a rolling pin or wooden spoon. The seeds should start falling out through your fingers, continue bashing more forcefully until all the seeds are in the bowl. Sift through the seeds to remove any pieces of white skin or membrane.
  6. For the sauce, whisk together all the ingredients. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
  7. To serve, spoon a generous amount of buttermilk sauce over the eggplant halves without covering the stalks (the stalks look pretty, but do not eat them!) Sprinkle za’atar and pomegranate seeds across the top and drizzle with some olive oil.

Spiced Popcorn Gin Sour

Spiced Popcorn Gin Sour

Spiced Popcorn Gin Sour

One thing you may not know about Patrick is that in a previous life he was a bartender at one of Manila’s coolest cocktail bars, The Blind Pig. We had some leftover Spiced Popcorn from our Popcorn Tacos a few weeks ago (if you haven’t made them yet, do yourself a favour and get some in your belly tonight!), so we were wondering what to do with the leftovers. Patrick thought he could do something pretty amazing with the popcorn if he soaked it in sugar syrup and created a cocktail with it. And so, the Spiced Popcorn Gin Sour was born. It’s a little bit spicy, a little bit sour, a little bit sweet and has a delicious popcorn aroma that makes you want to reach for another glass as soon as you finish the first. Make a batch for your friends and start your next dinner party with a spicy popcorn kick!

For the Spiced Popcorn Sugar Syrup:

  • 300ml water
  • 300g sugar
  • 25g Spiced Popcorn (see recipe here)

Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir occasionally and cook until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the Spiced Popcorn. Allow to steep for 30 minutes, then blend with a stick blender until the popcorn is coarsely chopped. Strain the syrup through a fine mesh sieve and discard the solids. Set the sugar syrup aside.

For the cocktail:

  • 30ml Spiced Popcorn Sugar Syrup
  • 20ml lemon juice
  • 45ml gin (we used Tanqueray)
  • 1 egg white
  • Cayenne pepper powder
  • Spiced Popcorn, to garnish

Place all ingredients in a Boston shaker (cocktail shaker) and shake vigorously for about 10 seconds, until the mixture begins to foam. Add a handful of ice cubes and continue to shake until the ice shatters and you feel the shaker has become cold. Strain the mixture through a Hawthorn strainer into a chilled cocktail glass. Dust the surface of the cocktail with a pinch of cayenne pepper and garnish with 3 small pieces of Spiced Popcorn. Serve immediately.

Louise Cake

20180409_103155Once again we’re adapting a recipe from Ottolenghi and Goh’s Sweet. They in turn have been inspired by the traditional Louise cake from New Zealand, which is a slice with a cake layer topped with raspberry jam and a coconut meringue. Ottolenghi and Goh’s version uses fresh fruit; you could use any stone fruit which is in season, just be sure it’s ripe but not too soft. We love the addition of flaked almonds to the meringue, as it adds a delicious crunch to the fluffy meringue and syrupy fruit. The cake is fairly rich so you could bake it in a square tin and cut into small squares to serve, or bake in a round tin as we did for a more decadent serving.

Ingredients:

  • 125g unslated butter, at room temperature, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 100g caster sugar
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 125g plain flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 20g desiccated coconut
  • 80ml whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 medium plums (450g), ripe but firm (or any stonefruit in season)

For the meringue:

  • 60g flaked almonds
  • 140g egg whites
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 185g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp cornflour

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/Gas mark 3.
  2. Spread the flaked almonds on a baking tray and toast for 10 minutes, or until they are a light brown colour. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. Increase the oven temperature to 185°C/Gas mark 5. Using a 20cm square or 23cm round tin with removable base, line the base and sides with baking paper.
  4. Place the butter, sugar and lemon zest in a bowl and beat together until pale and creamy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating until combined. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together into a separate bowl. Add the coconut and stir to combine. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, beating on a low speed, and alternating with the milk and vanilla. Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and smooth the top. Place in the oven and cook for around 25 minutes. The cake is cooked when a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  5. Slice each plum vertically in half and discard the stones. Slice each half into four segments so you have 8 segments per plum.
  6. Once the cake is cooked, remove from the oven and turn the temperature up to 200°C/Gas mark 6. Place the plum segments on top of the cake, forming a layer of fruit across the surface. Be sure not to overlap the plums though, or the fruit layer will become too watery.
  7. To make the meringue, whisk together the egg whites and salt on a medium-high speed, until soft peaks form. Add the sugar a little at a time, and continue to whisk until the egg whites are stiff and shiny. Add the vanilla, vinegar and cornflour and whisk again until combined. Fold in the toasted almond flakes.
  8. Spoon the meringue into the cake tin, on top of the fruit layer and spread out evenly. Create waves and peaks in the meringue by dabbing a spatula into and out of the mixture. Place in the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 180°C/Gas mark 4. Bake for 35 minutes or until the meringue has formed a hard crust and is just beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and cool the cake in the tin for at least 30 minutes before removing the base of the tin and removing the baking paper to serve.

Popcorn Tacos

20180501_212942One of our favourite cookbook authors is Anna Jones, whose vegetarian recipes are imaginative, tasty and versatile. We have cooked this recipe a few times, and it’s perfect for an easy weeknight dinner, or a relaxed dinner with friends. We love the way corn is used three ways in this recipe; the spiced popcorn, caramelised corn salsa and corn tortillas. The cayenne pepper adds a nice warm glow to the dish without overpowering the flavours, and the crunch factor of the popcorn makes these tacos extra special. It’s also a fun novelty to serve and always impresses our friends, eve though it’s so easy to make.

We have adapted this recipe from Anna Jones’ “A Modern Way To Eat”. It serves 2 hungry people as a main, or 4 people if you’re serving some appetisers as well.

Spiced Popcorn:

  • olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp popcorn kernels
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp honey

Caramelised Corn Salsa:

  • 4 corn on the cob
  • olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • grated zest and juice of 1 lime
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 red or green chilli, finely chopped
  • 100ml natural yoghurt

To Serve:

  • 2 avocados
  • juice of ½ a lime
  • 8 small corn or wheat tortillas, or 4 large tortillas
  • 100g feta cheese, drained and crumbled
  • a bunch of coriander, chopped

Method:

  1. For the popcorn, place a pan on low heat and add a little oil and the popcorn kernels. Put the lid on and shake the pan every now and then to stop the kernels from burning. After a few minutes, the corn will start to pop. Continue shaking the pan every minute or so until the popping stops. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool while you mix together the popcorn spices and honey in a small pan. Warm and mix over a low heat. Toss the honey mixture with the popcorn until it is well coated. Set aside.
  2. Cut the kernels from the corn cobs. Heat a little oil in a frying pan, and fry the kernels over a high heat until they become charred and caramelised. Add the salt and pepper, lime zest and juice, and the cayenne and chilli. Remove from the heat and stir in a tablespoon of the yoghurt. Set aside, covering with aluminium foil to keep the corn warm.
  3. Remove the flesh from the avocados and place in a small bowl. Squeeze over the lime juice and mash together.
  4. Warm your tortillas in a dry frying pan.
  5. To serve, fill each tortilla with some avocado, corn kernels and a dollop of yoghurt. Top with some crumbled feta, a pinch of coriander and a scattering of popcorn. Fold up in your hand and enjoy!

 

 

 

Anzac Biscuits 3 ways

Anzac Biscuit Ice Cream Sandwich

Anzac Biscuits 3 ways

Today is Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand, a day to honour the men and women of the armed forces of our countries. One of the most famous of Australian foods is the humble Anzac biscuit, which had its origins in World War 1. The biscuits were sent to soldiers overseas and were designed to keep well during transit. These biscuits are still very popular today due to their chewy texture and slightly caramel taste.

We decided to bake a batch to celebrate the holiday. Then after watching Chef’s Table on Netflix we were inspired by Momofuku Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi to try infusing the flavour of the biscuit in an ice cream. Then we went one step further and turned the biscuits and ice cream into an ice cream sandwich! These are the resulting recipes, and it’s up to you how far along the journey you travel. You could just make the Anzac biscuits, or continue on to make the ice cream, or the ice cream sandwiches.

The biscuit recipe makes about 28 biscuits and you only need 10 of these for the ice cream recipe, so you’ll have plenty of delicious Anzac biscuits to share with friends and family (or make two batches and take some to work!)

Anzac Biscuits:

  • 150g plain flour
  • 165g caster sugar
  • 100g rolled oats
  • 90g desiccated coconut
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 90g golden syrup
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 1 Tbsp boiling water
  1. Preheat the oven to 180° Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Sift the flour into a large bowl, and stir in the other dry ingredients. Make a well in the centre of the mixture.
  3. Place the butter and golden syrup in a small saucepan over a low heat, stirring until the butter has melted and the mixture is well combined. Remove from the heat. Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in the boiling water and immediately add to the butter mixture. Add the mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon.
  4. Roll level tablespoons of the mixture into balls and place on the prepared trays, leaving room for each to spread as it cooks. Flatten each ball slightly with the bottom of a glass or your fingers.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. The biscuits will still be soft to the touch. Leave on the tray for 5 minutes to crisp up before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Anzac Biscuit Ice Cream:

  • 10 Anzac biscuits
  • 250ml (1 cup) full cream milk
  • 3 Tbsp (60 ml) golden syrup
  • 5 egg yolks, lightly whisked
  • 375ml thickened (whipping) cream
  1. Using a mortar and pestle or a food processor, break the biscuits apart into crumbs. Place half of the crumbs into a mixing bowl and set the other half aside.
  2. Warm the milk in a saucepan until just simmering. Pour the milk into the mixing bowl with the biscuit crumbs and stir well. Allow to steep for an hour. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve back into the saucepan, wringing out all the liquid from the crumbs. Discard the solids. Add the golden syrup to the saucepan and bring the milk mixture back to a simmer, stirring well to combine.
  3. Place the egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Pour the warm milk mixture in a steady stream into the yolks, whisking continuously so the eggs don’t curdle. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan, stirring continuously, and cook over a low heat until the mixture thickens. The mixture is ready once it is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  4. Churn the mixture in an ice cream maker to the manufacturer’s instructions. Just before the ice cream is set, add half of the remaining biscuit crumbs and stir through the ice cream. Keep the other half for garnishing when serving.
  5. Transfer the ice cream to a container, cover and freeze for at least an hour to set.
  6. Serve a few scoops of the ice cream in a small bowl, covered with a dusting of the reserved biscuit crumbs.

Anzac Biscuit Ice Cream Sandwich:

  • 2 Anzac biscuits
  • 1 scoop Anzac Biscuit Ice Cream

Take a scoop of ice cream and place on the flat side of an Anzac biscuit. Add another biscuit to the top, flat side against the ice cream and gently press together. Smooth out the edges of the ice cream filling with the flat side of a knife and serve immediately.

Salmon Ankake

20180328_200521When we began Recipe Road, we listed our favourite cuisines that we hoped to explore. We’ve presented some French dishes, and plan to explore Italian cuisine after our travels in Italy later this year. Japanese is our other love, and we know we’re not alone here! Who can resist the delicacy of finely sliced sashimi or sushi with a side of soy sauce, wasabi and some pickled ginger? For us it’s using the flavours of sake, mirin, soy sauce and rice vinegar in various combinations that keeps us inspired; whether it’s creating a simple teriyaki dish or something a little more complex like this salmon dish. The joy of this dish is the beautiful sauce, which enhances the natural flavour of the salmon fillet and vegetables.

We have adapted this recipe from Adam Liaw’s wonderful book The Zen Kitchen.

Serves two people.

Ingredients:

  • 2 small salmon fillets, skin removed
  • ¼ cup cornflour
  • 2 cups vegetable oil, for shallow-frying
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 10g bonito flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and cut into batons
  • 4 spring onions, sliced diagonally
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sake
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • ½ tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cornflour, mixed with 2 Tbsp cold water
  • 100g enoki mushrooms, trimmed and broken into clumps
  • 2 spinach plants, washed and cut into 5cm lengths
  • ¼ tsp chilli oil

Method:

  1. Dust the salmon in cornflour and shake off any excess. Pour the oil into a wok or pan to a depth of 2cm, and heat to 180°C. Shallow-fry the salmon for about 2 minutes each side, until barely cooked and just beginning to colour. Keep warm in a very low oven until ready to serve.
  2. Bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan and remove from the heat. Add the bonito flakes and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Strain the stock through a fine sieve, discarding the solids, and set aside.
  3. In another saucepan, heat 2 tsp oil over a high heat. Add the garlic, carrot and half of the spring onion and fry for about 2 minutes, until the vegetables start to soften. Add the ginger and cook for another minute. Add the bonito stock, soy sauce, sake, rice vinegar, sesame oil and sugar, and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes, then add the cornflour mixture in a thin stream, stirring constantly. Add the remaining spring onions, enoki mushrooms and spinach and cook for one more minute, until the sauce thickens to a silky consistency and the vegetables wilt slightly. (We prefer the vegetables just slightly wilted, if you’d like the mushrooms and spinach more cooked, add them to the saucepan with the ginger and before the liquids are added.)
  4. Place each salmon fillet in a serving dish and arrange the vegetables across the fillet. Spoon the sauce into the bowl around the fillet. Finish with a few drops of chilli oil, if you like.