Category Archives: Desserts

Coconut Chilli Crab Curry – Super easy!


I love curries in winter and this is one of my favourites! Coconut creamy with a punch. Delicious! Just add some steamed rice to it and you have a comfort, almost fine dining, dish!
If you can’t handle really spicy food just add a little bit to your taste.

Give it a try! This recipe serves 4 people
• 2 big Mud Crabs or 4 blue swimmer crabs (uncooked). I highly recommend the Mud Crabs but if you can’t find them or they are more expensive just add some scallops to the curry to have more meat to eat.
• 2 tablespoons oil
• 4 garlic cloves, crushed
• 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
• 3 red chilies, chopped
• 1⁄3 cup lime juice
• 1⁄4 cup water
• 2 tablespoons chili sauce (sweet Thai if you don’t like it too spicy)
• 1 tablespoon fish sauce
• 1 tablespoon tomato paste
• 400 ml coconut cream
• 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
• 3 green onions, sliced
• steamed rice, to serve

Method:
1. Lift top hard shell from crabs and use fingers to scrape insides. Wash, then split in half.
2. Heat the oil in a large wok over high heat then stir-fry the crab pieces in batches until they turn pinky red. Remove and set aside.
3. In the same wok, stir fry garlic, ginger and chili for 1 minute.
4. Add the juice, waer, sauces and paste and simmer for 2 minutes.
5. Blend in the coconut cream.
6. Bring to the boil then return the crab to the wok.
7. Simmer covered, for 4-5 minutes, adding a little water if the sauce reduces too much.
8. Stir in the coriander and onions, then serve at once over steamed rice.

Divine!! You will definitely impress your guests or your husband for that matter!
Enjoy it and please leave your comments below. Happy eating!!

Advertisements

Blueberry Crostata

blueberry-crostataIn Italy “crostata” (an Italian baked tart or pie) is very popular and I grew up eating so many of them, typically made with jam or fruit preserves such as apricot, cherry, peach or berries. These are the most traditional ones but I like to change it and include fresh fruit. You can use any kind of fruit, ricotta or even just Nutella for the kids. The best part is the mouth-watering shortcrust pastry!

It’s perfect with a cup of tea or coffee. So what are you waiting for? Give it a try and bake this one with blueberries, you won’t regret it!

Shortcrust pastry:

270 gm softened butter
60 gm pure icing sugar, sieved
3 egg yolks
370 gm plain flour
Scraped seeds from ½ vanilla bean

Inside the tart:

600 gm blueberries (You can even use frozen blueberries or raspberries if you prefer)
55 gm (¼ cup) caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
2 tbsp plain flour
Finely grated rind of ½ lemon
Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean
For brushing: eggwash

1- To make the shortcrust pastry, beat butter in an electric mixer until pale, add icing sugar and yolks and beat to combine, then add flour and vanilla seeds and stir to combine. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest (30 minutes).

2- Roll out two-thirds of pastry to 5mm thick on a lightly floured surface, line a 24cm tart ring, trim edges, then refrigerate to rest (30 minutes). Roll out remaining pastry to 5mm thick and cut into 3cm strips with a serrated cutter. Refrigerate until required.

3- Preheat oven to 170C. Combine blueberries, sugar, flour, lemon rind and vanilla seeds in a bowl, toss to combine and place in tart base, then arrange strips of remaining pastry to create a lattice pattern on top. Brush with eggwash, scatter with extra sugar and bake until golden and bubbling (1-1¼ hours).

Serve warm or at room temperature with hazelnut ice-cream if you have some or any other ice cream will be perfect!

Coconut and Lime Tart

coconut-lime-tartExperience a totally tropical taste with this lime and coconut tart – complete with toasted coconut. This recipe is simple to make but the flavours will certainly impress your dinner party guests.

INGREDIENTS
• 250g digestive biscuits
• 50g desiccated coconut
• 140g butter, melted
• 160ml coconut milk
• 397g tin condensed milk
• 250ml carton coconut cream
• 140ml lime juice (around 9 limes)
• 2 large free-range eggs and 5 yolks
• Toasted coconut shavings and lime zest shreds to serve
METHOD
1. Heat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Whizz the biscuits and coconut in a food processor until they form fine crumbs. Pour in the butter and, with the motor still running, whizz until the mixture has the texture of wet sand. Tip into a 23cm x 5cm deep fluted tart tin with a removable base and press firmly into the base and up the sides to form the tart case (it needs to be well packed to hold together). Chill in the freezer for 10 minutes or in the fridge for 20.
2. Remove from the fridge or freezer, then put on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until evenly golden and smelling toasted. Don’t worry if a little butter escapes from the base. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely. Turn the oven down to 130°C/fan110°C/gas ¾.
3. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, whisk the coconut milk, condensed milk, coconut cream, lime juice, eggs and yolks together with a balloon whisk until smooth (don’t worry about the odd small lump of coconut). Leave to infuse while the tart case cooks and cools, then sieve into the cooled tart case and return to the oven.
4. Bake for 50-60 minutes until the filling is set but still with a slight wobble in the middle. Remove from the oven and cool completely, then put in the fridge and chill overnight. Serve sprinkled with shavings of toasted coconut and fine strips of lime zest.

This gorgeous tart will actually benefit from a night in the fridge as it will firm up the texture and make it easier to cut. Take out of the fridge 40-60 minutes before serving, so it can come back to room temperature.

Lightly whisk leftover egg whites, then put in a sealable plastic bag (marked with the number of whites and the date) and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge, then use for meringues. Alternatively, use them to make chocolate mousse.

Make the tart and keep it chilled in the fridge for up to 24 hours before serving.

ENJOY IT!!

Chocolate and Almond Marzipan Cake

Marzipan cake

I love to be invited for lunch or dinner and I’m sure you do too right? Well, not long ago a friend of mine invited my family and I for lunch and she asked me to bring one of my yummy cakes. I looked at my pantry and I found Marzipan (almond paste very popular in Germany and Austria) and decided to make this delicious cake.

It was such a great success with her husband that a few months after she called me asking me for the recipe to surprise her husband on his birthday.

She found it easy to make and very delicious. Now it’s your turn, give it a try, you won’t regret it.

Ingredients:
380 gm marzipan For dusting
Pure icing sugar
110 gm softened butter
110 gm (½ cup) brown sugar
1 vanilla bean (scraped seeds only)
3 eggs
150 gm (1 cup) plain flour
1 tsp each ground cinnamon and finely grated nutmeg
100 gm dark chocolate (at least 65% cocoa solids, the more the better), coarsely chopped 100 gm each dried cherries and muscatels (I used dried cherries)
50 gm currants or sultanas
50 gm candied orange peel

To make the chocolate glaze you will need:
90 ml pouring cream
125 gm dark chocolate (at least 65% cocoa solids) coarsely chopped
20 gm butter

To decorate the cake you can use: almonds and Dutch-process cocoa for dusting

This is how you do it:

1 – Knead marzipan on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar until smooth and pliable (1 minute), then halve and roll out each piece to 4mm-thick. Cut an 18cm-diameter circle from each, place on a tray lined with baking paper and set aside.

2 – Preheat oven to 140C. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla seeds in an electric mixer until pale and creamy (3-4 minutes), then add eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping down sides of bowl after each addition. Sift in flour, spices and a pinch of salt, fold to combine, then add chocolate, dried fruit and candied peel (or even just some orange rind peel). Stir to combine, then spoon half the batter into a buttered and floured 18cm-diameter cake tin. Smooth top, place one marzipan circle on top, then spoon over remaining cake batter. Smooth top, make an indentation in centre (to prevent cake from doming), bake until an inserted skewer withdraws clean (1-1¼ hours). Cool in tin, then turn out onto a wire rack.

3 – Place remaining marzipan circle on top of cake, set aside.

4 – For chocolate glaze, bring cream just to the boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add chocolate, remove from heat, stir until smooth, stir in butter to combine. Pour over cake, allowing chocolate to spill down sides.

5 – Arrange almonds on top, stand until set (1-1½ hours). Dust with cocoa and serve, cut into wedges.

Cake will keep, stored in an airtight container, for 3 days, but is best glazed on the day of making.

I hope you enjoy it as much as my friends did!

A perfect winter dish: Coq au Vin!

Coq au vin

Main on a plate

My husband and I travelled through France for almost a month drinking stunning wine, visiting Chateaux, wineries and beautiful Medieval cities such as Carcassonne and Avignon, my two absolute favourites!

Loved the food and was amazed to see how kind and nice French people were when you did your absolute best to speak to them in French. They knew we were trying hard and they appreciated which made our holiday even more enjoyable. Some of the wine makers took us out for lunch and introduced us to their delicious and traditional food such as Cassoulet, Beef Bourguignon, Escargot, Rocquefort S1 oalad and many more. But one of my favourites was in the wonderful wine region of Burgundy – the Coq Au Vin. It was so delicious I can still remember it and I wish I were back there eating it instead of being at home cooking it!

Unfortunately living in Australia is not that easy to jump on an airplane and get there to enjoy it, so here you go the recipe. Not the same as eating it in Burgundy but this will do for you to entertain your guests with a delicious comfort food perfect for winter!

COQ AU VIN

If you want this dish to taste sublime I highly recommend to start this the day before you wish to serve it.

1.5 litres red wine
1 carrot, sliced
1 onion, sliced
4 springs thyme
2 small fresh bay leaves
10 black peppercorns
6 cloves garlic, 3 crushed and 3 finely chopped
6 chicken Marylands (leg and thigh joints, about 375g each)
1/2 cup (80ml) olive oil
1/2 cup (125ml) brandy
60g unsalted butter
1 x 200g piece of speck or bacon, cut into 3x1cm strips
12 pearl onions or spring onions with bulbs, peeled
3 eschalots (These are small brown French onions), thinly sliced
500g small button mushrooms, wiped clean and trimmed
75g plain flour
1 bouquet garni (A bundle of herbs – usually thyme, bay leaf, parsley and lemon rind)
coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley, to serve
Mashed potatoes and steamed green beans to serve

1. Place the wine, carrot, onion, crushed garlic, peppercorn, thyme springs, bay leaf and chicken in a large bowl. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate for 2 hours, or overnight if time permits.

2. Drain the chicken, reserving the wine and discarding the vegetables, peppercorns and herbs. Pat the chicken dry with paper towel. Heat half the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium heat, then, working in batches, cook the chicken, turning once, for 6-7 minutes or until golden. Return all the chicken to the pan, add the brandy and carefully light it with a long match, then, when the flames die down, remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

3. Heat the butter and remaining oil in an enamelled cast-iron casserole over medium heat. Add the speck and onions and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the onions are light golden. Add the eschalot, finely chopped garlic and mushrooms and cook, stirring, over medium heat for 6-7 minutes or until light golden. Add the flour and stir to combine Well, then cook, stirring, over medium heat for 2 minutes. Gradually add the reserved wine, stirring continuously to prevent lumps forming. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then add the bouquet garni and the browned chicken pieces and any pan juices. Cover the chicken and cook over low heat for 1 1/4 hours or until tender.

4. Scatter the chicken with parsley, then serve with mashed potatoes and steamed green beans.

Yumm!!! Enjoy it and stay warm!

Almond and Lemon Semifreddo with Summer Mix Berries

Lemon semifreddoHow hot was yesterday afternoon?! There is nothing better to cool down as a Semifreddo (a part from GELATO of course!)
Semifreddo (pronounced [semiˈfreddo]), is an Italian word that means half cold. It refers to a variety of chilled or half-frozen desserts including custard and icecream. So this weekend I made a delicious Almond and Lemon Semifreddo with Summer Mix Berries. You can make different types of Semifreddo such as hazelnut and coffee, white chocolate and pistacchios, raspberry and coconut and so on but a I do like this for something really refreshing and a light dessert to end a long meal.

Here it is the recipe, it’s easy and absolutely delicious!!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 3/4 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
7 large egg yolks
1/2 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice or regular lemon juice
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons finely grated Meyer lemon peel or regular lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups mixed fresh berries (such as raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and quartered hulled strawberries)

Preparation

Line 9x5x3-inch metal loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving generous overhang. Sprinkle almonds evenly over bottom of pan. Using electric mixer, beat whipping cream in large bowl until soft peaks form. Refrigerate whipped cream while making custard.

Whisk 1 1/4 cups sugar, egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon peel, and salt in large metal bowl to blend. Set bowl over large saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly until yolk mixture is thick and fluffy and instant-read thermometer inserted into mixture registers 170°F, about 4 minutes. Remove bowl from over simmering water. Using electric mixer, beat mixture until cool, thick, and doubled in volume, about 6 minutes.

Fold in chilled whipped cream. Transfer mixture to prepared loaf pan and smooth top. Tap loaf pan lightly on work surface to remove air pockets. Fold plastic wrap overhang over top to cover. Freeze semifreddo until firm, at least 8 hours or overnight.

DO AHEAD: Semifreddo can be made 3 days ahead. Keep frozen.

Gently mix all berries and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in large bowl. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Unfold plastic wrap from top of semifreddo and invert dessert onto platter; remove plastic wrap. Dip heavy large knife into hot water; cut semifreddo crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices. Transfer to plates; spoon berries alongside and serve.

YUMMM!!! So refreshing! Perfect for a very hot day and to end a heavy meal!! I hope you do well in making it and ENJOY!!

Lemon Lime Tart with Toasted Almonds and Strawberries

dessert
cake whole

Who doesn’t like lemons? Did you know that lemons are an excellent source of vitamin C? The juice from one lemon has about 40mg of vitamin C, which is almost 100 percent of the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for adults.
This lemon lime tart is so refreshing, light and perfect for summer!

Here it’s the recipe, you will definitely like it! This recipe serves 6-8 people

Ingredients for the shortcrust pastry
140 g unsalted butter
100 g icing sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g plain all purpose flour, sifted
2 tbsp ground almonds
pinch of salt

Ingredients for the filling
6 free-range eggs
4 free-range egg yolks
370g caster sugar
300mls of double cream
Juice of 4 lemons
Juice of 2 limes
Very fine zest of 1 lime
Icing sugar for dusting
Toasted flaked almonds
Fresh strawberries and double cream for serving

Using a mixer with a paddle beater, beat the butter and the icing sugar together until light and fluffy. Add one egg at the time while continuing to whip, then add the vanilla.

Turn the mixer to the slowest speed and add the flour, ground almonds and salt and mix until everything is well combined.

Divide into two equal-sized balls, wrap in cling wrap and chill or freeze until ready to use (I do recommend to do it the night before or to keep it in the fridge for several hours).

Once ready to bake the tart preheat the oven to 170C (340F).

Roll the pastry out on a bench dusted with flour to an even 5-7mm thickness and place into a greased tart tin or ring. Press tightly into the tin, trimming off any excess. Chill the pastry case for at least 30 minutes before baking.

Remove pastry ring from the refrigerator or freezer and line with greaseproof paper. Fill with some raw rice, pasta or dried beans. This will prevent the pastry from lifting or getting air bubbles during cooking.

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and rice/beans and continue to bake the pastry case for another 2 minutes to ensure the centre of the base is cooked.

Remove from oven.

For the filling, whisk the whole eggs, yolks and sugar in a large bowl until well combine, then whisk in the cream. Stir in the lemon and lime juice and zests, mix well, then pour into a pouring jug.

Place the empty tart shell back into the oven. Carefully, pour the lemon-lime filling into the empty tart shell, just to the top, being careful not to allow any to spill over the edge, as this will make the tart stick to the ring.

Bake at 160C (320F) for 30-40 minutes or until the filling is set.

Remove from oven and cool. Cut into wedges, dust with icing sugar and serve with toasted almonds, fresh strawberries and a good dollop of double cream. YUMMM!!

Please give it a try and leave your comments!

HAPPY BAKING!

Strawberry Christmas Tree

xmas tree photoDo you want to knock your guests socks off at the annual Christmas party? Bring this. Made this a two years ago and it’s not that hard, but looks spectacular! Give it a try!

You need a Styrofoam tree that you can easily find at Spotlight or at any craft shop (I bought mine in Spotlight).
You will also need a round cardboard cake round for stability and a doily for disguise if you like but not necessary.
I also bought 3 packages of strawberries and 2 packages of chocolate melts.

Cover the tree with strawberries with baking paper. Tuck in the ends and tape to secure it to the cone. Use melted chocolate (I microwaved it) to stick the tree to the base. Cut the hole in the doily and slip it over the tree.

Separate the strawberries by size and remove the greenery. Dip the large ends of the biggest berries in the chocolate and place the on the bottom of the tree. Add the next layers with the medium sized strawberries, saving the small ones for the top.

Spread chocolate on the top of the tree and scoop the melted chocolate into a small plastic bag, snip the tiniest hole in one corner, pipe a few stars on a piece of baking paper and pop them in the fridge until they hardened.

Using a bit more melted chocolate, add a couple of stars onto the top of the tree and Voila!!

Enjoy it and have all a MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Chocolate and Bailey’s Cheesecake

chocolate cheese cake
This is one of my favourites!!! It’s to die for!! Bake it and you won’t regret it!

Preparation time: 1 hour 30 minutes + chilling
Total cooking time: 50 minutes
Serves: 8-10 people

Base:

200g plain chocolate biscuits, crushed
70g unsalted butter, melted

Filling
500g cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
300g sour cream
250g good-quality dark chocolate, melted
1/3 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream

Collar
50g white chocolate melted
150g good-quality dark chocolate melted
1 1/4 cup cream, whipped
cocoa powder and icing sugar, to dust

1- Brush a 23 cm round springform tin with melted butter or oil and line the base and side with baking paper. Mix together the biscuit crumbs and butter, press firmly into the base of the tin and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to moderate 180C.

2- Beat the cream cheese and sugar with electric beaters until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the cocoa and sour cream until smooth. Beat in the cooled melted dark chocolate. Beat in the liqueur and pour over the base. Smooth the surface and bake for 45 minutes. The cheesecake may not be fully set, but will firm up. Refrigerate, overnight if possible, until cold.

3- Remove the cheesecake from the tin and put it on a board. Measure the height and add 5mm (1/4 inch). Cut a strip of baking paper this wide and 75 cm (30 inches) long. Pipe or drizzle the melted white chocolate in a figure eight pattern along the paper (or just use your imagination). When just set, spread the dark chocolate over the entire strip of paper. Allow the chocolate to set a little, but you need to be able to bend the paper without it cracking.

4- Wrap the paper around the cheesecake with the chocolate inside. Seal the ends and hold the paper in place until the chocolate is completely set. Peel away the paper. Spread the top with cream. Dust with cocoa powder and icing sugar.

I promise you this cake will definitely impress your guest!! HAPPY BAKING AND POST YOUR COMMENTS!

Hazelnut & Strawberry Millefoglie

Millefoglie

I must confess I do have a huge sweet tooth.. I love any kind of dessert but I would never go past any dessert that has hazelnuts on it and I cannot resit to crema pasticcera!! If you are like me you will love this recipe!

This recipe serves 6 people

You will need the following to make it:

3 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 punnet (250g) strawberries, hulled, quartered.
1/4-1/3 cup (60-80ml) Strega liqueur (you can find it in any bottle shop just ask for it) or grappa, to taste
18cm square (3cm deep) plain sponge cake, sliced horizontally into three 1cm-thick slices.
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
200ml thickened cream
1/3 cup (50g) pure icing sugar, sifted, plus extra to dust
2 cups (250g) roasted hazelnuts, rubbed with a tea towel to remove skins, finely chopped

To make my favourite Crema pasticcera (Italian for pastry cream) you will need the following:

1 cup (250ml) milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar
2 tbs plain flour, sifted

Lightly grease 2 large baking sheets and line with baking paper. Place pastry on a floured surface and roll out a little thinner, until 2-3mm thick. Place on the baking sheets and rest at room temperature for 1 hour.

While the pastry rests, prepare strawberries and crema. Leave berries to macerate in 1-2 tbs Strega or grappa.

For crema, place milk, vanilla pod and seeds in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to just below boiling point. Remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, place egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk by hand until well combined, then gradually whisk in flour. Slowly whisk hot milk mixture into egg mixture, then strain through a sieve into the cleaned pan, discarding vanilla pod. Return to medium heat and whisk constantly for 5 minutes or until the mixture becomes a very thick custard.

Pour into a bowl, cover surface closely with plastic wrap to prevent a skin forming, then cool.

Preheat the oven to 180c. Prick pastry all over with a fork, then cover with baking paper ad weigh down with 2 more baking sheets. Bake pastry for 20-25 minutes until crisp and golden. Cool, then use an 8cm round cutter to cut 12 circles from pastry. Cut 2 circles from each slice of sponge.

Place caster sugar in a pan with 100ml water over medium-low heat, stir to dissolve, then increase heat to high. Boil for 2 minutes until slightly syrupy, cool, then stir in 1-2 tbs Strega or grappa to taste. Set aside. Whip cream and icing sugar to firm peaks and set aside.

To assemble, place 6 pastry circles on a tray. Spread 1 tbs of crema on each using a piping bag or spoon. Top each with a sponge and brush with syrup. Top with another 1 tbs crema, then gently press in 6 strawberry pieces. Cover with final layer of pastry. Using a spatula, cover sides with cream, then press nuts into sides. Dust with icing sugar, then serve with remaining strawberries.

Enjoy and let me know if you find it hard to make… Happy eating!!:-)