Mar 30, 2010

Skate wings with caper butter sauce

Skate wings with Caper sause

I never cook skate wings before. This recipe is from classic French cooking book. I love tender "fish" meat with reach caper sauce and simple boiled potato. Surprisingly, skate wing are very cheap in New Zealand, so I will cook them more often now.

Serves 4
4 small wings of skate (or 2 big)
300 ml (1/2 pt) water
15 ml (1 tbsp) vinegar
1 small onion, peeled and sliced
bay leaf
salt and freshly ground pepper

1 shallot, thinly chopped
30 g (1 oz) butter
15 g (1/2 oz) flour
1 tsp lemon juice,
30 g (3 tbsp) capers, chopped
15 g (2 tbsp) fresh parsley, chopped

Put the skate wings in a baking dish and pour over the water, vinegar, sliced onion and bay Leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Bake, covered at 180°C (350°F) Gas 4 for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove skin from the wings and keep them warm until sauce is ready.

In a saucepan melt the butter, then add shallots and cook them for 2-3 minutes. Add flour stirring well and make up to a sauce with 300 ml (1/2 pt) of the fish liquor, strained from the skate.

Add the chopped capers, lemon juice and parsley.

Pour the sauce over the fish and serve with boiled potatoes and a crisp green vegetable.

Skate wings with Caper sause

Mar 27, 2010

Ricotta cheesecake with moscato figs

ricotta cheesecake and moscato figs

Recipe adapted from Donna Hay Magazine 

350g ricotta
500g cream cheese
1 cup caster (superfine) sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
6 green figs
½ cup (125ml) moscato

Preheat oven to 160°C (320°F).
Place the ricotta and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 5–6 minutes or until smooth. Add the sugar and beat for 3–4 minutes or until the sugar is dissolved.
Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition.
Add the vanilla and lemon rind and beat until well combined.

Pour mixture into a lightly greased 22cm-round tin lined on the base and sides with non-stick baking paper. Place into a deep baking dish and pour in enough hot water to come half way up the sides of the tin. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes or until firm to touch.

Remove cheesecake from dish and allow to cool in the tin. Place the figs and moscato in a bowl and toss to coat, refrigerate until needed. Remove cheesecake from tin and refrigerate for a least 2 hours.

Spoon over figs to serve. Serves 6–8.

ricotta cheesecake and moscato figs


Mar 25, 2010

Cake Pops Again: Pumpkin & White Chocolate Easter Chickens

I made them from leftovers of my favorite pumpkin cake. It's so easy to make them and also a lot of fun for kids to decorate them. Use ready pumpkin cake and instructions from this cake balls recipe.

Mar 21, 2010

Marinated figs with brie

marinated figs and brie

Recipe adapted from Donna Hay

6 figs, halved
1 cup mint leaves
1 tablespoon white balsamic or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
sea salt and cracked pepper
200g brie or camembert at room temperature
honey and crispy flatbread, to serve

Place figs, mint, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl and toss to combine. Top the cheese with fig mixture, drizzel with honey and serve with flatbread.

marinated figs and brie

Mar 16, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Cake Balls

St. Patrick's Day Cake Balls

I made those cute cake balls for our St. Patrick's Day lunch, which we have every year in our company. 

Ingredients (make about 25-30 cake balls):
4 eggs,
1/2 cup cake flour,
1/2 cup starch,
4 tbsp vegetable oil,
1 cup sugar,
pinch of salt,
1 tbsp liquid green food coloring,
1 tsp coconut essence (or vanilla essence),
1 tsp baking powder.

Cream filling:
200 ml double cream,
4 tbsp condensed milk (or 4 tbsp sugar).

about 400 gr. white chocolate.

Preheat oven to 180C. Lay a baking sheet with a parchment paper.

Whip egg whites with a pinch of salt to soft peaks. Separately, beat egg yolks with sugar until white, then add vegetable oil, food coloring and coconut essence, stir until smooth.

Mix starch, flour and baking powder and add to the yolks and stir well. Then add beaten egg whites and stir carefully.

Spread the mixture on the baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes. Cool the cake for 10 minutes, then cool completely on the rack. Discard browned crust from the cake surface.

Cut the cake on pieces, then put them in food processor and make crumbles.

For assemble: 
Whip the cream with 4 tbsp of condensed milk  until soft peaks and mix thoroughly with cake crumbles.

Roll mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet. (Should make 25-30)

Chill for several hours. (You can speed this up by putting in the freezer.)

Melt chocolate in microwave or on stove per directions on package.

Put each ball on a stick, then roll balls in chocolate.(I made double chocolate covering).

St. Patrick's Day Cake Balls

St. Patrick's Day Cake Balls

Mar 14, 2010

Butternut squash cakes with chocolate mousse

Butternut squash cakes with chocolate mousse

For the cakes:
1/2 cup Butternut squash puree (dry roasted in oven and pureed in blender) (u can use pumpkin puree),
1 cup brown sugar,
6 eggs,
2 tbsp melted butter,
1/2 cup cake flour,
1/2 cup starch,
1 tsp baking powder,
1/2 vanilla pod,
pinch of salt.

For the chocolate mousse:
400 ml double cream,
2 egg whites,
4 tbsp cocoa powder (dutch processed),
2 tbsp Irish cream liquor,
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of cream of tartar,
1 tbsp gelatin powder.

Preheat oven to 180C. Lay a baking sheet with parchment.

Beat egg yolks with sugar until white. Separately, whip whites with a pinch of salt to soft peaks. Add butternut squash puree to the egg yolks and stir, when add a melted butter and seeds from vanilla pod, stir until smooth.

Mix starch, flour and baking powder and add to the yolks and stir well. Then add beaten egg white and stir carefully.

Spread the mixture on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Cool the cake for 10 minutes, then cool completely on the rack.

Using mold rings cut 8 round bases, then cut each base in half with a very sharp bread knife. You should get 8 bases and 8 tops (or 10 depending on the diameter of your rings). Put mold rings on the parchment, then place one cake base in each ring.

Soak gelatin in 1 tablespoon of water.

Beat egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar and 2 tbsp of sugar until soft peaks, set aside. Melt the gelatin 10 seconds in the microwave and stir well until completely dissolved. Add to the beaten egg whites and stir thoroughly.

Whip cream with remaining sugar to hard peaks, add to the mixture and stir carefully but quickly.

Fill the prepared forms with mousse, leaving a bit of room for cake tops. Cover with the remaining cake tops and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Decorate your cakes with grated butternut squash and mint or with melted chocolate.


Mar 13, 2010

Whole fig jam

whole fig jam

Absolutely delicious jam, especially with good cheese and glass of wine!  

500 g ripe figs (without damage on the surface)
500 g fine sugar
100 ml Armagnac (brandy, rum)
50 ml lemon juice (1 / 3 tsp. Citric acid)

Wash and dry figs on a paper towels.
Make a needle punctures on the surface (about 1 cm distance between the punctures).

Put figs into a bowl (preferably in one layer) and cover with sugar.
Cover and leave for 3 days. Do not stir!

Put figs on the heat, add the brandy and lemon juice.
When the jam starts to boil, immediately reduce heat to a minimum, and cook for 40 minutes (jam must boil, but foam wouldn't formed on the surface).

Remove jam from heat, cover with a towel and leave until the next day. DO NOT STIR!

On the next day bring jam to boil and cook for another 30 minutes on a minimum heat. Cool and pour into clean jars.


Thanks Carina for this amazing recipe!

Mar 11, 2010

Spinach, pumpkin and feta salad

Simply, delicious and easy to made salad for pumpkin lovers. Light lunch just in 5 minutes.  It's really handy if your have some leftovers of roasted pumpkin. I don't have the exact proportions,  so just add pumpkin and feta to your taste.

For 1 serving:
Handful of fresh baby spinach,
100 gr. roasted butternut pumpkin,
100 gr. feta cheese (or  fresh mild goat cheese),
1/4 of small red onion,
1 tbsp olive oil,
1 tbsp orange juice.

Cut pumpkin and feta on cubes and put them over the spinach leaves, add onion rings and finish with olive oil and orange juice before serving.


Mar 9, 2010

Beetroot cheesecakes with goat cheese and salmon

I love combination of beetroot and smoked or salted salmon. In this recipe all components are perfectly balanced. An interesting light lunch or good accompaniment for boiled potatoes.

For 4 small cheesecakes:
4 slices of Pampernikel bread (any dense rye bread),
125 gr. cream cheese at room temperature,
60 gr. fresh goat cheese,
5 tablespoons sour cream,
1 tablespoon gelatin,
2 tbsp orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tbsp chopped dill,
1 tsp grated orange zest,
125 gr. boiled beetroot pureed in blender,
150 ml. double cream
160 gr. salted salmon.

Soak gelatin in 2 tablespoons of water.

Cut out circles of bread using mold rings. Place mold rings on the tray laid with parchment paper and put bread circle in each mold ring.

Mix cream cheese and goat cheese and whip in a blender at low speed until smooth, add sour cream and beat again slightly. Add lemon and orange juice, zest and dill.

Heat the gelatin in the microwave for 20-30 seconds and stir until completely dissolved. Pour the gelatin in the beetroot puree. Mix beetroot with cheese mixture, add salt and pepper to taste.

Whip the cream until soft peaks and add to the beetroot mass. Fill prepared mold rings with cheese mixture.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Remove cheesecakes from the molds, top with chopped salted salmon, garnish with dill or chives.


Mar 3, 2010

Aromatic Lamb-Stuffed Pasta with Apricots & Spinach

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
large pinch of hot chilli flakes
1 tablespoon toasted ground coriander seeds
finely grated zest and juice of ½ orange
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
650g minced lamb
salt and freshly ground black pepper
18 precooked cannelloni shells
6 dried apricots, thinly sliced
250ml water
500ml beef stock
2 large handfuls spinach leaves, wilted in boiling water, cooled in cold water and squeezed dry
250ml plain unsweetened yoghurt
½ cup toasted pine nuts
mint leaves for serving

Heat the oil in a frying pan over moderate heat. Add the onion, garlic, chilli flakes, coriander seeds and orange zest. Fry gently for about 10 minutes until the onion is soft and golden. Set aside to cool a little then put in a bowl, add the cinnamon and lamb, season and mix well. Stuff the cannelloni shells with this mixture, pushing it in from each end with your fingers.

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Place the stuffed cannelloni side by side in a shallow metal roasting dish. Sprinkle the apricots in between and pour the orange juice, water and stock over the top. Cover and place in the oven for 40 minutes until the cannelloni are tender. Remove from the oven and carefully lift the cannelloni on to a warm serving platter.

Place the roasting dish on the heat and bring the liquid to the boil. Add the spinach, teasing it out as it heats through. Taste and season. Pour the spinach mixture over the cannelloni. Drizzle some yoghurt on top and serve sprinkled with pine nuts and mint leaves. Serves 6


Mar 1, 2010

Duck Breasts with Dry-Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Watercress & Balsamic Prunes & Onions

6 tablespoons olive oil
4 onions, thinly sliced
1½ cups pitted prunes
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 purple-skinned sweet potatoes, well scrubbed
4 duck breasts, skin cut almost down to the flesh in a criss-cross pattern
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 handfuls watercress sprigs

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan over moderate heat, add the onions and prunes, and fry gently, without browning, for about 20 minutes until the onions and prunes are very soft. Remove from the heat, stir in the balsamic vinegar, taste and season with salt and pepper. Reserve.

Place the whole sweet potatoes in a roasting dish and roast in the oven for 1 hour until tender.

Meanwhile, put the duck in a bowl with the garlic and remaining oil. Heat a frying pan over moderate heat and add the duck breasts, skin side down. Gently panfry for 7 minutes until well browned. Turn over and fry for 4 minutes on the flesh side.

Remove from the pan and rest the duck in a warm place. Slice each breast thinly across the grain of the meat.

Slice the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise and serve the sliced duck on the hot sweet potatoes with some of the onion and prune mixture, and some watercress on the side.

Serves 4-6.
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