Monday, April 27, 2015

Mango and macadamia cake

One of my favourite things to do when I go home to visit my mother is to read all of the women's mags that she has accumulated since my last visit.  As she is a reader of a weekly magazine, this usually ends up being quite a lot of magazines.  I catch up on all the latest celebrity baby names, who's dating who and who is having a rocky marital time.

I also love looking at the recipes in mum's magazines.  There is usually something that takes my fancy, even if I never end up making it.

Back in March, I saw a recipe for Mango and Macadamia Cake in one of mum's magazines:

Delicious - I am sold!  I was a very bad person and tore the page out of the magazine to make the cake.  It was worth it - the cake was a delicious light spongy confection full of mangoes and macadamia nuts, and topped with even more macadamias (I skipped the extra mango on top).

The recipe is from a February-March 2015 edition of Woman's Day magazine (no idea which one - the pages unhelpfully don't contain that information), but it is from p61, and the recipe is as follows:

1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cream
2 lightly beaten eggs
1/4 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
 grated zest of 1 lime
1 small mango, peeled and diced
2/3 cup chopped toasted macadamia nuts

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Grease and line a 20cm springform pan.

Combine the flour and sugar in a large bowl. Stir in the cream, eggs, water, vanilla and lime zest.  Fold in the mango and half of the macadamias.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50-55 minutes or until cooked through.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

To ice the cake, combine 1 1/2 cups sifted icing sugar, 1 tablespoon of lime juice and one teaspoon of vanilla essence, drizzle over the cake and top with the remaining macadamias.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Wine Bank on View, Bendigo

On our recent trip to Bendigo, Tim and I had lunch at Wine Bank on View, a wine bar and wine merchant which also serves food.  It is situated in the very opulent former ANZ Bank Building - the building is a wonder to behold.

Being at a wine bar, we started off with a glass of wine each - in our case, a glass of Harcourt Valley Vineyard 2014 Rose each, a local drop:

For lunch, we decided to share a number of entrees.  First up was the spicy chicken quesadilla with tomato salsa, sour cream and guacamole ($16): 

This was a light, tasty choice.

Next came the homemade sausage rolls with tomato chutney (3 for $12):

These sausage rolls were flavoursome and beautifully spiced - definitely not your standard bakeshop offering.

Our final dish was the duck, pork and rabbit rillettes with pear chutney and sour dough toast ($17.50):

Yummo - all of the elements  combined on toast made for the perfect light meal.

Afterwards, you can stroll around Wine Bank to check out their magnificent wines:

Wine Bank is a cool, soothing, atmospheric place to escape from the madding crowd for a bite to eat.

45 View Street, Bendigo VIC 3550
Ph: 03 5444 4655

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Anzac Biscuits for the 100th Anniversary of ANZAC Day

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

For the Fallen, Laurence Binyon
This year is the centenary of ANZAC Day.  ANZAC Day falls on 25 April every year, and honours Australians and New Zealanders who have participated in wars and peacekeeping operations around the world.
ANZAC is an acronym for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps, who landed at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 in World War I.  Anzac biscuits were supposedly sent to the troops in World War I because of their keeping qualities.
Although Anzac biscuits are "keepers", they are delicious - they are made from rolled oats, sugar, coconut and golden syrup, and smell like heaven.
In honour of the centenary of Anzac Day, I made these Anzac biscuits from  a recipe on p84 of the April 2015 edition of Taste magazine.  I was not that happy with it - it uses caster sugar instead of brown sugar, the latter of which I feel gives the biscuits a lovely caramel flavour, and the butter stated was not near enough to roll the batter into balls.  Looking at other recipes, it seems that the ratio of dry ingredients to butter was slightly off.  The recipe makes crunchy Anzacs - I like mine chewy.  They tasted fine, but were just not what I am used to.
If crunchy Anzacs are your thing, here is the recipe with the quantity of butter adjusted - you could even add a little more butter, because I still struggled a little to make balls from the batter:
150g plain flour
155g caster sugar
140g rolled oats
80g coconut (I used dessicated, they used flakes)
150g melted butter
60ml golden syrup
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon boiling water
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, oats and coconut.  Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the melted butter and golden syrup, and stir the mixture to combine.
In a small cup, combine the bicarbonate of soda and water, then pour it into the biscuit batter and stir to combine.
Roll tablespoons of mixture into balls, place 2cm or so apart on the baking trays, and bake for around 15 minutes or until golden brown. 
Remove the Anzacs from the oven and allow them to cool on the baking trays.
The recipe says you should get 26 Anzacs - I got 18.
Lest we forget.

Friday, April 24, 2015

FFWD - Sardine Escabeche


Life is rather like a tin of sardines - we're all of us looking for the key.
Alan Bennett

This week is our second last French Fridays with Dorie seafood dish.  Unfortunately, it comprises a rather oily fish concoction called Sardine Escabeche.

This challenge required us to use fresh sardines, so I dutifully went to the Queen Vic Market to find some (knowing that my suburban fish shop would not stock such a thing).  Fresh sardines were only $6.50 a kilo.  When I asked the fishmonger to fillet my sardines, he flatly refused, but was keen to sell me a 500g tray of frozen sardine fillets for $13!  Ahem - no.  (For the record, my 12 fresh sardines cost the princely sum of $2.55.)

Accordingly, on the night I made this dish, I set about filleting these little guys a la Karen Martini's video:

I have to say that it is quite a gory process.  I was prepared for it from the video, and wore food gloves to limit the mess.  Still, filleting 12 little fish with all of their organs still intact was not exactly a pleasant task.
Once the filleting was done, the rest of the process (flouring and shallow frying the sardine fillets, frying up some veges, adding a large quantity of oil to the veges and simmering,  then pouring over the fish before chilling for 6 hours or so) was quite easy.
Unfortunately, I do not understand the European love of putting large quantities of oil on fish.  I can understand that back in the day, it was a means of preserving them, but in the era of modern refrigeration, I just don't get it.  But then, I guess, some people really like oil-covered fish (see Salmon in a Jar). 
Thankfully, although this is definitely not a repeat dish for me, it tasted way better than salmon in a jar.  It was pleasant enough for cold oily fish with vegetables - at least everything was pre-cooked.  However, it still doesn't grab me.
To see what the other Doristas made of this dish, visit the LYL section of the FFWD website. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

EwE - Asian Chicken and Vegetables in Foil

Margaret is giving us a touch of Asia with this week's Eating with Ellie, choosing Ellie's Asian Chicken and Vegetables in Foil.

This dish comprises chicken breast fillets steamed with carrots, capsicum and shallots with an Asian inspired sauce, steamed in the oven in a foil packet, then topped with toasted sesame seeds and more shallots (oops, I put those in the foil packet).

Unlike many of the other Ellie dishes, this one took more like 45 minutes to prepare and cook because of all the vegetable chopping involved.  However, it is quite simple to prepare.

I liked this dish, but it definitely needs more veges and some rice for a complete meal.

To see what the others thought of this dish, visit the LYL section of the EwE website.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

WWDH - Green Olive Baked Chicken

Peggy chose Green Olive Baked Chicken from Off the Shelf for this week's Wednesday with Donna Hay.  It is the perfect comfort food now that autumn has well and truly kicked in, as evidenced by the leaves on the trees in my neighbourhood:

I liked this dish because it was quick, simple and unfussy to make -  a one pot wonder.  I think it tasted best the next day when all of the flavours had had some time to meld.

To see what the other WWDH cooks thought of tis dish, visit the LYL section of the website.  Or if you want to try this dish yourself, the recipe is online here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Raspberry Ripple Cake for Stacey

Monday last week was my last Pilates class with our instructor, Stacey.  She is a trained exercise physiologist, and found a full time job in her field, hence her reason for leaving.  I am very happy for her and very sad for me - she is one of the best instructors we have had, and a very nice lady to boot. 

As you will know, I love baking cakes, so I couldn't let Stacey leave without baking her a cake.  I chose Edd Kimber's Raspberry Ripple Cake from The Boy Who Bakes.  That book has been around for a while, but I only acquired it late last year, and this was the first time that I had used it.  If you don't have the book, a few people have published the recipe online, including here.  

I made a few adjustments to the recipe.  Instead of three layers, I cut the cake batter recipe in half and made only two layers, which seemed quite substantial anyway.  I also swapped out the Italian meringue buttercream (I personally hate Italian meringue buttercream!) for my favourite Primrose Bakery buttercream, but incorporated the same raspberry and white chocolate flavours that Edd used.

When I tried swirling white chocolate buttercream through the raspberry buttercream, I didn't get the ripple effect suggested by Edd, and I just messed up the smoothness of my frosting job.  I also tried to pipe little swirls on top for decoration using supermarket bought frosting in a tube, and the swirls unfortunately looked as though they could use some Viagra:

Oh well.  I hope Stacey enjoyed eating this cake - it certainly smelled amazing.