Sep 15, 2011

Fig and Port jam

Long time no see, but I'm back! Hopefully for a long time now. Trying to catch up with latest stuff and I find out that can't read food blogs now, because I'm so jealous! Figs are in season everywhere except New Zealand, but accidentally I haven't posted this recipe in April (when the figs are in season here), so lucky you! This jam has an interesting Port accent which makes it such a great pair to a cheeses or for rich red meats such as duck. Use this jam to make great sauces for roasted duck... delicious! And it's really easy to make.

1 kg black mission figs
800 grams sugar
50 ml Port
3 tbsp lemon juice.

Cut the figs into quarters, put in a heavy bottom pan, cover the figs with sugar and leave for a day at room temperature.

Put the pan on the stove and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to minimum and cook for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Process cooled jam in a blender or food processor and pass through a sieve to discard the skin pieces (

Return the pan to a heat, add lemon juice and simmer until desired consistency, then add the Port and simmer for another couple of minutes. Pour into sterilized jars.


Jul 17, 2011

Old fashioned blueberry semolina cake with blueberry vanilla glaze

Old fashioned blueberry semolina cake

Simple cake for a cosy weekend tea time :) This a hard combination to resist - juicy blueberries in a moist yoghurt cake. Well... just try it yourself!

80 grams plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
200 grams fine semolina
160 grams caster sugar
150 grams yoghurt
3 eggs
⅔ cup melted butter, cooled
half of vanilla pod (keep the rest for the glaze)
300 grams fresh blueberries

Sift the flour, baking powder, semolina and caster sugar together and place in a bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla and yoghurt.

Pour the eggs mixture along with the melted butter into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Add the blueberries and fold through very gently.

Pour the mixture into the cake mould and bake in a pre-heated 170°C oven until golden and cooked through - about 40-50 minutes. Also you can bake it in a muffin pan or individual cake pans. If so adjust the baking time to 20-30 min. 

Remove from the oven and let the cake sit in the mould for about 5 minutes then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool.

For the blueberry glaze:
2 tsp blueberry juice (from fresh or frozen blueberries),
half of vanilla pod,
1 tsp lemon juice,
icing sugar to the right consistency (about 3/4 cup)

To make blueberry juice mash the blueberries in a medium sized bowl releasing lots of dark blue juice. Remove the blueberry skins from the juice and discard.  Add lemon juice and vanilla seeds, then add icing sugar until right consistency. Pour the glaze over cake.

Jul 8, 2011

My first wedding cake

My first wedding cake

No recipe today sorry. Just wanna show you my first ever wedding cake. It was such a mission from start to finish, but finally it's ready and I hope bride will love it. 
What's inside? I decided to make it simple - classic chocolate cake with swiss meringue buttercream all covered with fondant. I made about 60 sugar gum roses! It was my first experience with sugar gum as well.
And... I have a new order for a wedding cake in August.

Jun 26, 2011

Tiramisu cake

Tiramisu cake

I made this cake as a present for a house-warming party. It was a first time I made tiramisu in a cake form, so I modified my classic recipe a little bit to make it work. I added gelatine to keep it stay and for the stronger texture.

2 ready made round sponges (21cm diameter and about 3-4cm thick)
1,5 package lady-fingers biscuits
1 tbsp good quality cocoa powder (I used Dutch-processed)

Tiramisu cream:
250g mascarpone,
250ml heavy cream,
3 eggs,
100ml Kahlua (any coffee liqueur or Irish Cream would work well)
1 leaf gelatine (you can add 1 more leaf for stronger texture or for the summer time),
1/2 cup caster sugar,
1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla essence,

Soak gelatine leaf in cold water. Set aside.
Put the mascarpone in a small bowl and gently fold in the liqueur and vanilla seeds (or vanilla essence). Set aside.
Put the egg yolks and 1/4 cup of sugar on a double boiler and whisk until sugar dissolved and mixture is hot on touch. Remove from heat and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy then gently fold in the mascarpone mixture.
Whip the cream until soft peaks and fold in the mascarpone mixture.
Drain the water from the gelatine and dissolve it in microwave or over a double boiler.
Whip the egg whites until soft peaks, continuing whipping slowly add the dissolved gelatine and whip until glossy. Slowly fold in the mascarpone mixture.


100ml strong espresso,
4 tbsp sugar,
50ml Kahlua.

Mix all ingredients and stir until sugar dissolved. Allow to cool.

To assemble:
Put one circle of sponge on the bottom of 23cm spring-form cake pan. Arrange lady-finger biscuits around the sides of the pan. Moist the sponge with prepared syrup then cover with the half of mascarpone cream. Cover with second sponge, moist it with the syrup then cover with the remaining mascarpone cream. Dust over with the cocoa powder. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

Tiramisu cake to selebrate

May 16, 2011

Red lentil and carrot soup

Red lentil soup

It's almost winter here in New Zealand - time for hearty, filling and comforting food. This healthy and low fat soup is perfect for a cold winter's evening. For vegan version replace butter with olive oil.

Ingredients (Serves 4-5)
50g/2oz unsalted butter (olive oil for vegan version)
1½ tbsp grated fresh ginger
¼ tsp each ground allspice, ground cumin, and chilli powder
½ tsp each curry powder and ground coriander
2 onions finely chopped
1 parsnip, chopped
3 carrots, sliced
85g/3oz split red lentils, rinsed
25g/1oz long-grain rice
1.7 litres/3 pints vegetable stock or water
400ml/14fl oz tin coconut milk
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
3 tbsp chopped coriander

Melt the butter in a heavy-based pan and add the ginger, allspice, cumin, chilli powder, curry powder, and ground coriander.

Cook over a low heat for three minutes, stirring continuously. Add the vegetables, stir to combine, and cook for a further eight minutes. Stir in the lentils and rice before adding the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the lentils have started to break down.

Blend the soup in a liquidiser or food processor until smooth. Return to the heat and add the coconut milk, lime juice, and coriander. Heat through but do not let it boil again. Serve immediately.

Apr 14, 2011

Chocolate Feijoa and Banana Bundt Cake

Chocolate cake with feijoa and banana

We have a crazy amount of feijoas this year. I'm making different jams, salads and of course cakes. I adapted this recipe for feijoas. The result is a velvety not too sweet cake with a delicate feijoa tang.

1 ¾  cup flour 
1 cup sugar
¾ cup cocoa powder 
1½ tsp baking powder
1½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt 
1 cup buttermilk
1½ cup peeled and mashed feijoas
1 mashed ripe banana
¾ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract

For glaze:
100 g melted chocolate

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).  Coat bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, mix buttermilk, feijoas, banana and brown sugar.  Add egg, then stir in oil and vanilla extract.

Gently add flour mixture to liquid, mixing until just combined.  Some lumps are good, but make sure to fully incorporate.  Pour into bundt pan and bake about 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool on wire racks for 20 minutes and then remove from pan.  Let cool fully on wire racks.   

For the chocolate glaze:  Melt the chocolate in microwave or over a double boiler then pour it on cake.

Apr 4, 2011

Chocolate mousse cake


The fudgy consistency of this cake and the silken texture of the tofu mousse are delicious combination.

250 g good quality chocolate,
200 g butter,
1 tbsp coffee powder, dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water
6 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cup caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
1 1/2 cup gluten-free flour mix (or normal flour)

Preheat oven to 180C. Spray 2 23 cm spring-form cake tins with baking spray and line with baker paper.

Melt chocolate and butter over a gentle heat until melted but not too hot. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until pale and fluffy. Slow add egg whites in 4 lots. This process takes about 10 minutes but it is worth it. Add vanilla, coffee and flour on a very low speed then gradually beat in the chocolate mixture.

Carefully pour into the prepared tins and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cover tins with a damp tea towel to trap the steam and keep the crust soft. Cool in the tins.

For the mousse:
300 g chocolate,
640 g silken tofu (must be silken)
1/2 cup simple sugar syrup (or 50 ml maple syrup, or 50ml liquid honey, or 50 ml agave nectar )
1 leaf gelatin (optional)

Simple sugar syrup is made up of 2 parts of sugar and 1 part of water. Bring the water to boil, dissolve the sugar into the boiling water, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat once sugar is dissolved completely. Allow to cool before use.

To make the mousse, melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in microwave. Place silken tofu and sugar syrup in the blender or food processor. Blend until smooth add the melted chocolate and blend again. I also added 1 leaf gelatin dissolved in 2 tbsp of water.

To assemble, slice the top of the cakes to form even surface. Line the original spring-form with cling film, allowing a good overhang. Place one cake into the bottom, covet with a thick layer of mousse, add the second cake and finish with remaining mousse . Fold the cling film over or cover with a dinner plate and refrigerate for 4 hour or overnight.

To serve, remove from the tin, transfer to serving platter and smooth the sides of the cake with a palette knife. Decorate with fresh seasonal fruit or berries, ganache or topping of your choice.

Chocolate mousse cake

Apr 2, 2011

Burgers with Roasted Eggplant & Red Capsicum & Minted Yoghurt

Burgers with roasted eggplant & capsicum & minted yoghurt

This is a flash Mediterranean-style hamburger, without the bun. I have served the burger on a bed of crushed chickpeas for texture, but you could use hummus for a similar flavour. This makes great picnic or barbecue food and goes well with a full-bodied Shiraz. Recipe adapted from Cuisine magazine.

1 cup yoghurt
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
salt and freshly ground black pepper
400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
2 tablespoons tahini
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
750g minced beef
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 large (350g) eggplant, cut into 2cm pieces
2 red onions, cut into 2cm pieces
2 red capsicums, cored and cut into 2cm pieces
¼ cup olive oil, plus extra for brushing
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 cups wild rocket leaves
grilled flatbread to serve

Combine the yoghurt, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and the mint. Season to taste. Refrigerate until serving. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Crush the chickpeas coarsely with a potato masher, leaving some whole. Stir in the tahini, garlic, remaining lemon juice and the oil, and season to taste. Set aside.

Combine the mince, onion and allspice, season to taste and mix well. Shape the mixture into 6 burgers. Place the eggplant, onion and red capsicum in a roasting pan, toss with ¼ cup oil and roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove from the oven and stir in the balsamic vinegar.

Brush the burgers with oil and grill, panfry or barbecue on both sides until browned and cooked to your liking (3-4 minutes each side for medium).

Spoon the chickpea mixture on to plates, top each with a burger and some rocket, and serve the eggplant mixture on the side. Smear minted yoghurt around the plates and drizzle the whole dish with a little extra oil. Serve with grilled flatbread. Serves 6.

Mar 26, 2011

Roast chicken with herbed mushrooms and potatoes

Roasted chicken with mushrooms

One of the best roasted chickens I've ever made. It was so moist and tender. Recipe adapted from Tyler Florence.

    1 (1.3 kg (3 pound) organic free-range chicken
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1/2 red onion, quartered
    1/2 lemon, cut into 4 pieces
    1/2 head garlic, about 6 cloves, smashed
    1 bunch fresh thyme
    1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
    220g (1/2 pound) sliced bacon, cut in 1/2
    500g (1 pounds) whole cremini mushrooms, wiped clean with a damp towel
    500g (1 pound) roasting potatoes, cut on pieces


Heat the oven to 200C (400F).

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season the cavity with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl combine the onion, lemon, garlic, half the thyme, and 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil; season with salt and pepper and mix it well. Stuff the bird with the mixture. Using 2 (3-foot) pieces of kitchen twine, tie up the chicken: Tuck the wing tips between the wings and the body. Put the midpoint of the twine under the chicken, bring the ends up and around the wings, and pull them tight against the body. Bring the ends of the twine up underneath the legs, wrap the string around them, pull the legs together, and tie them tightly. Place the chicken, breast side up in a roasting pan on top of the potatoes, and layer the strips of bacon up breast until covered. Scatter over the remaining thyme, drizzle over some more olive oil and season everything with salt and pepper.

Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours; arrange the mushrooms around the chicken 45 minutes after roasting. Baste with the pan juices every 20 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the pan, cover with foil, and let stand for 10 minutes to rest. Serve the chicken with the roasted potatoes, mushrooms and pan juices.

Mar 19, 2011

Cashew fish fingers with mushy minted peas

Cashew fish fingers with mushy minted peas

1 kg firm white fish fillets, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic, quartered
1/2 cup (75 g) flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup (70 g) breadcrumbs
2/3 cup (90 g) finely chopped roasted cashews
vegetable oil for frying
2 cups (250g) frozen peas,
20 g butter,
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint

1. Grease 19 cm x 29cm slice pan.
2. process fish, parsley, rind, juice and garlic until smooth. Using spatula, press mixture evenly into the pan. Turn onto baking-paper-lined-tray. Cut into 8 slices. Cut each slice in half crossways to make 16 fingers. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Pat fish fingers with flour, shake off excess. Dip in egg, then in combined breadcrumbs and nuts.
4. Heat oil in large frying pan; shallow-fry the fingers until browned lightly and cooked through. Drain on absorbent paper.
5. Meanwhile, boil, steam or microwave peas until tender; drain. Coarsely crush peas with butter then add mint.
6. Serve fish fingers with mushy peas, and mayonnaise and lemon wedges, if you like. 

Cashew fish fingers with mushy minted peas

Mar 16, 2011

St. Patrick's Day White Chocolate lollipops

Yep, I made those cutties too. Thats really easy so no recipe here.

You'll need:
White chocolate,
Green colouring for chocolate,
You can add some nuts or dried fruits, so I added a bit of chopped almonds to the green lollies,
Lollipop sticks,
Shamrock mould.

Melt you chocolate, add food colouring, then pour chocolate to the moulds. Let it cool. Decorate if desired.

St. Patrick's Day Cupcakes and Cake

I made those cupcakes for our St. Patrick's Day lunch which we have every year in our company. I always bring something sweet. So this year I decided to make green cupcakes. Yum!

Orange and almond cupcakes:
100 gr. butter at room temperature,
1 egg,
5 egg yolks (keep egg whites for butter cream),
1 1/2 cups sugar,
grated zest of 1/2 orange,
1 tsp orange essence,
100 ml cream,
100 ml milk,
2 cups plain flour,
1 cup ground almonds,
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tbsp green food colouring.

Preheat oven to 170C. Prepare a muffin pan and cases.

Whip the butter until light and fluffy, add sugar and beat until pale. Add egg and egg yolks one at the time beating well after each addition.

Mix cream, milk, orange essence, food colouring and orange zest. In a different bowl mix almonds, flour and baking powder.

Add liquid and flour mixtures to the butter and eggs each in three batches starting and finishing with the flour.

Divide the butter between muffin cases and bake for about 20 min.

Swiss meringue butter cream (Recipe by Martha Stewart):  
1 1/4 cups sugar
5 large egg whites
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Place sugar and egg whites in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, and whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers; it should feel completely smooth.

2.Transfer bowl to mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 10 minutes.

3. Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated after each addition. Don't worry if the buttercream appears curdled after all the butter has been added; it will become smooth again with continued beating. Add vanilla, and beat just until combined.

4. Switch to the paddle attachment, and beat on the lowest speed to eliminate any air pockets, about 5 minutes. If using buttercream within several hours, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature in a cool environment. Or transfer to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. Before using, bring buttercream to room temperature, and beat on the lowest speed with the paddle attachment until smooth, about 5 minutes.

And finally, the cake! 
Made from the same butter and the same butter cream. Just covered with fondant and decorated with shamrocks. I'm not really good in this sort of cake decorations, but I think it's still cute. No?

Mar 12, 2011

Iced honey mascarpone and almond cake with fig salad

This is my new favourite - awesome almond cake with figs - absolute divine.  To be honest I'm not a big fun of mascarpone and also I don't like honey, but in this cake I love them. Try it with a glass of a sherbety, grapey Moscato.
You’ll need to start this recipe at least a day ahead. Recipe adapted from Gourmet Traveller Magazine.

12       figs, quartered
125 gm       raspberries (optional)
1 tbsp       amaretto
To serve:       honey

Almond dacquoise
200 gm       unblanched almonds
6       eggwhites
110 gm (½ cup)       caster sugar
60 gm       icing sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
50 gm       plain flour

Honey mascarpone
3       egg yolks
110 gm       honey (I used 50 gm honey and 60 gm brown sugar)
750 gm       mascarpone (I used 400 gm mascarpone and 500 ml whipped cream)
60 ml (¼ cup)       amaretto

1     For dacquoise, preheat oven to 150C. Process almonds in a food processor until finely ground. Whisk eggwhites in an electric mixer until soft peaks form, add caster sugar and whisk until thick and glossy. Fold in icing sugar, then almonds and flour and spoon into a piping bag. Trace three 18cm circles onto baking paper-lined oven trays. Pipe dacquoise within template into circles, bake for 15 minutes or until just golden, cool on trays for 5 minutes, then turn onto baking paper sprinkled with icing sugar and cool completely.

2     For mascarpone, combine egg yolks and honey in a heat-proof bowl and whisk over simmering water for 7-8 minutes or until pale and thick. Transfer to an electric mixer and whisk until cold. In a bowl, gently mix amaretto and mascarpone, then fold in egg yolk mixture.

3     To assemble, place a dacquoise circle, trimming edges to fit, into a baking paper-lined 20cm springform pan, spread with one third of mascarpone all the way to the edges and down the sides, then top with another circle. Repeat with remaining mascarpone and dacquoise, finishing with a layer of mascarpone and freeze overnight.

4     Fifteen minutes before serving, remove cake from freezer and place in refrigerator. Combine figs and raspberries in a bowl, drizzle with amaretto and stand for 10 minutes. To serve, remove cake from pan, arrange fig salad on top and drizzle with honey.

Smoked salmon and cashew pate

150 g cold smoked salmon  
200 g cream cheese at room temperature  
2 tablespoons sour cream  
2 tablespoons lemon juice  
2 tablespoons dill, finely chopped   
good pinch of ground dried ginger 
 50 g cashew nuts  freshly ground black pepper. 

Put the cashew nuts in a blender and process until finely chopped. Set aside.

Put the fish, sour cream, lemon juice and cream cheese in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Add the cashew nuts and dill, mix until combined. Season with ginger and freshly ground pepper. Fold in the container and store in refrigerator up to 3 days.

Feb 26, 2011

Melon salad with honey and ginger

Melon salad with ginger & honey

Last days of summer. I can even feel the autumn breath and this feeling inspires me. I love autumn - no more crazy hot days, plenty of fruits and veges, my figs in the garden are almost ready and sky at night is full of stars ...
Melons are in season now too. I'm not a big fan of ginger and I don't like honey at all, but in this salad they make quite a beautiful composition. Recipe adapted from Gourmet traveller magazine.

(Serves 6)
175 gm (½ cup)  honey
2 tbsp finely chopped glacé ginger
1 vanilla bean, split
500 gm watermelon
500 gm  rockmelon
500 gm  honeydew melon
To serve: vanilla ice-cream

1. Combine honey, ginger and vanilla bean and ½ cup water in a small saucepan and simmer over low heat for 8 minutes or until reduced by half. Cool to room temperature.
2. Peel melons and remove seeds, then cut into 3cm cubes. Combine melon and syrup and stand for 30 minutes to marinate. Serve melon salad with scoops of vanilla ice-cream.

Melon salad with ginger & honey

Feb 18, 2011

Beetroot rosti with horseradish cream and smoked salmon

I love the combination of beetroot and salmon. It reminds me about my childhood. This recipe is really good for a weekend breakfast, then you are not on a hurry. So forget about your cereals and make something different.

Ingredients (serves 4)
1 x 450g tin baby beetroot, drained
4 medium (about 600g) pontiac potatoes, peeled
50g butter, melted
2 tbs olive oil
250g ctn creme fraiche
1 tbs grated horseradish, drained
2 tsp Dijon mustard
200g smoked salmon slices
1 Lebanese cucumber, thinly sliced lengthways
 Dill sprigs, to serve

Coarsely grate the beetroot and potato and place in a bowl. Use your hands to squeeze as much liquid from the potato and beetroot as possible. Transfer to a clean bowl. Add the melted butter and stir to combine. Season well with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 100°C. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Spoon three 1/4-cup portions of beetroot mixture into the pan. Use a spatula to flatten each portion to an 8cm disc. Cook for 2 minutes each side or until golden brown and cooked though. Use the spatula to transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Place in a warm oven. Continue in 3 more batches with remaining beetroot mixture, adding and reheating more oil if necessary.

Combine the creme fraiche, horseradish and mustard in a small bowl. Arrange three rosti on each serving plate. Top with salmon, cucumber and a dollop of creme fraiche mixture. Sprinkle with dill to serve.

Feb 13, 2011

Beetroot, avocado & goats cheese salad with pine nuts

Beetroot, avocado & goats cheese salad with pine nuts

Easy and really tasty salad. You can roast the beetroot ahead or use cooked from supermarket. Just quickly put all the ingredients together before serving.

Serves 4
4 medium sized beetroot
2 avocados, peeled
50 g pine nuts
200g goats cheese, crumbled
50g rocket leaves
2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp of balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
Half a clove of garlic, minced
A good pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper

To cook the beetroot wrap them in tinfoil, place on an oven tray and bake for about an hour at 190C or until tender.  Remove from the oven, allow to cool, then peel and slice.

Toast the pine nuts over a medium heat, until golden brown.

In a large bowl whisk together the Dijon mustard, oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper and set aside.

When you are ready to serve the salad, arrange the beetroot and avocado slices over the rocket leaves, drizzle with dressing, then add the goats cheese crumbles. Finally scatter each plate with the toasted pine nuts and serve immediately.

Feb 6, 2011

Warm beetroot, orange & haloumi salad

Beetroot, orange and grilled halloumi salad

This vegetarian salad mixes salty haloumi with the sweetness of beetroot and orange.

Ingredients (serves 4)
3 medium beetroot, ends trimmed
3 oranges, peeled, white pith removed
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
150g baby spinach leaves
1 x 250g pkt haloumi, drained, thinly sliced crossways

Preheat oven to 200°C. Wrap each beetroot in foil. Place in a roasting pan. Roast for 1 hour or until the beetroot is tender when pierced with a skewer. Set aside for 15 minutes to cool. Wearing gloves to avoid staining your hands, peel the beetroot and cut into wedges.

Meanwhile, holding the oranges over a bowl to catch any juice, use a sharp knife to cut along either side of the white membrane to remove the segments. Use your hands to squeeze the remaining juice from the flesh into the bowl (you will need 80ml/1/3 cup juice). Add the oil and whisk until combined. Season with salt and pepper.

Combine the beetroot, orange segments and spinach in a large bowl. Divide among serving plates.

Cook the haloumi in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes each side or until golden.

Top the salad with the haloumi. Drizzle over the dressing to serve.

Feb 5, 2011

Beetroot, chocolate and orange loaf

Beetroot, chocolate & orange loaf

Beetroot is actually very sweet and keeps this rich chocolate loaf wonderfully moist. Make it for your friends, then ask them to guess the mystery ingredient. This loaf has a surprisingly smooth velvety texture and rich chocolate taste. Really good with yoghurt.

Ingredients (Makes 8 slices)
1 large cooked beetroot, about 180 gr,
225 gr flour,
100 gr cocoa,
1 Tbsp baking powder,
225 gr sugar
3 eggs,
juice and grated zest of a half large orange (reserve zest from the other half for decoration)
2 tsp vanilla essence,
200 ml sunflower oil,
100 gr dark chocolate (not too bitter), chopped into pieces
2 tbsp orange liqueur (optional)
Chocolate for frosting  (optional)
Crème fraiche or yoghurt, to serve

1. Heat the oven to 190C, Line a 900gr loaf tin with baking paper.

2. Tip the beetroot into a food processor and blitz until finely chopped. Add a pinch of salt, sugar, eggs, orange juice, zest, vanilla and liqueur. Mix well.

3. Mix together flour, cocoa and baking powder, then add it to the liquid mixture, stir well.

4. Add the oil in a steady stream, while whizzing, as if you were making a mayonnaise.

5. When all the oil has been added, stir in the chocolate, then tip the mix into prepared loaf tin. Bake for about 1 hour until an inserted skewer comes out practically clean. Leave the loaf to cool on a rack.

6. Cover the loaf with a melted chocolate and decorate with orange zest if desired. Serve with a dollop of crème fraiche or thick yoghurt.

Beetroot, chocolate & orange loaf


Jan 31, 2011

Blueberry sorbet

Blueberry sorbet

1-1/4 cups water
1 / 2 cup sugar
3 cups frozen blueberries
juice of 1 large lemon
2 tablespoons Creme de Cassis or Limoncello.

Dissolve sugar in boiling water and boil for 5 minutes. Allow it to cool, then add lemon juice and liqueur.

Put the blueberries and sugar syrup to the blender and process until smooth. For the smooth consistency put the mixture through a strainer.

Put the mixture into a deep dish and freeze, whisking with a fork every 20 minutes. Or use the ice-cream machine according to instructions. Transfer sorbet to a container you plan to store it in (or simply cover the bowl you've frozen it in) and freeze.

Blueberry sorbet

Decorate with berries and mint if desired and serve immediately. It melts so quickly!

Jan 27, 2011

Poached Cherry Zuccotto

cherry zucotto

Zuccotto is a traditional Italian desert with origins in Florence. Some say the cupola shape was inspired by the Duomo in Florence, Italy; others speculate that zuccotto is a play on zucca, which is the Italian word for pumpkin. Zuccotto is a wonderful dessert for a festive occasion. Make it up to three days in advance – it improves with time. It's not too sweet inside and I like it, but if you like it sweet feel free to add  more sugar. Also, I recommend to add a little bit of pink food colouring into the central part of the filling.


4 medium eggs
150g caster sugar
pinch of salt
100g flour
30g cocoa
½ teaspoon baking powder
25g butter, melted
500g cherries, stones removed
1/3 cup sugar
juice of 1 orange
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur or brandy
200g ricotta
4 tablespoons icing sugar
¼ cup finely chopped candied orange peel
300ml double cream
food colouring (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Butter a 30cm x 20cm Swiss roll tin and a 20 cm round tin, then line the base with baking paper.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and salt until thick and pale. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder together over the mixture and gently fold in then fold in the butter. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tins and bake for 15 minutes. Turn out and cool on a rack.

Put the cherries in a saucepan with the sugar and orange juice. Cover and simmer over a very low heat for 10 minutes until tender. Strain the cherries and set aside, reserving the juice. When the juice is cool, add 2 tablespoons of the Grand Marnier and set aside.

Line a 6-7 cup pudding basin or bowl with plenty of plastic wrap. Cut the sponge into long triangular pieces and use to line the inside of the basin. Moisten the sponge, including the piece for the top, with the reserved cherry juice.

Place the ricotta and 3 tablespoons of the icing sugar and the remaining tablespoon of Grand Marnier in a bowl and beat until smooth. Fold in the orange peel and half the poached cherries. Whisk the cream to just beyond soft peaks (it should be firm but not overwhipped). Add 1/3 of the whipped cream to the ricotta mixture and fold in gently. Spread this mixture over the sponge.

Place the remaining cherries, food colouring and icing sugar in a food processor and blend to a purée. Place the cherry purée in a bowl and fold in the remaining whipped cream. Fill the centre of the sponge with this mixture. Place the remaining piece of sponge on the top then cover with plastic wrap and chill for up to 3 days.

Turn out on to a plate to serve.

Serves 8-10

Poached cherry zucotto

Jan 15, 2011

Three milk cake with pomegranate & pistachio

Beautiful and light cake with fantastic marshmallow topping and bright crystals of  pomegranate & pistachio. Perfect treat for summer time. Yes, it's a summer here in New Zealand. 
Start with recipe at least 1 day ahead. This is an original recipe from Cuisine magazine, but I usually divide the cake dough between two equal tins to make a two not too high cakes. Also I like to double the marshmallow topping.

For the cake:
225 gr flour,
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 large eggs, separated
225 gr caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup full-cream milk

Preheat the oven to 180C. Butter a 21x21 loaf or cake tin and line with baking paper.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Place egg whites in a large bowl and whisk to firm peaks with a mixer. While still whisking, gradually add the sugar.
Turn the motor to the lowest speed and whisk in the egg yolks, vanilla and lemon juice.
Fold in the flour mix and the milk. Spoon into the tin and bake for 40 minutes until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

For the three milks
200 ml condenced milk
150 ml cream
150 ml full-cream milk

Combine all the ingredients in a jug. Turn the baked cake on to a wire rack and cool for about 10 minutes. Cut off the dark sides and discard. Place the cake in a dish slightly bigger than the cake and poke holes in the top with a skewer. Pour half oh the milk mix over, reserving the remainder. Cool overnight to soak up the milks.

For the marshmallow topping:
2 egg whites,
125 gr caster sugar,
1 tsp lemon juice,
1/2 tsp rose water,
2 sheets leaf gelatine (or 1,5 teaspoons powdered)
125 ml boiling water

Whisk the egg whites to firm peaks then gradually whisk in the sugar and finally the lemon juice and rose water. Soak the leaf gelatine in a dish of cold water for 2 minutes. Squeeze out the excess moisture then dissolve the gelatine (or add powdered here) in the boiling water. Slowly pour the gelatine into the agg mixture while whisking. Continue whisking until the mix is cool and firm (about 8 minutes).
Pile the marshmallow mixture on top of the cake. It doesn't matter if the sides are uneven as you can tide these up after it has set. Chill for at least 1 hour or for up to a day.

To serve:
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds,
1/2 cup pistachios, lightly roasted and chopped.

Remove the cake from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. Using a knife dipped in hot water, tidy up the sides oh the marshmallow if desired then cut the cake into 6-8 pieces. Place each in a bowl and pour a little extra three-milk mix. Sprinkle with pomegranate and pistachios.


Jan 13, 2011

Simple & delicious: Figs, goats cheese & honey

Recently, I was really surprised, when I found a few ripe figs in our garden. That's a quite unusual for this time, but what a pleasure to enjoy this simple light salad for lunch!

So, there's no recipe, just a couple figs drizzled with liquid honey and 3-4 tablespoons of fresh goats cheese on top of it. So simple, so good!

I'm desperately waiting for rest of our fig harvest. So many ideas in my head.

Jan 11, 2011

Banana and chocolate cakes with creamy banana frosting

Banana and chocolate cakes:
2 very ripe bananas,
2 eggs,
180 gr flour,
70 gr fine coconut,
50 ml vegetable oil (I used grape seed oil)
4 tbsp sour cream or buttermilk,
100 gr brown sugar,
pinch of salt,
1 tsp baking powder,
2 tbsp banana liqueur (orange liqueur or use a few drops of banana essence),
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder.

Preheat oven to 200C

Combine flour, salt, baking powder and coconut.

Mash bananas with a potato masher, add sour cream and liqueur, stir well and set aside.

Beat eggs with sugar until fluffy, add oil and beat again. Add egg mixture to bananas, stir until combined, then add flour and stir.

Put 1/3 of the dough in a different bowl, add cocoa powder, stir.

Spoon the mixture into medium greased muffin pans leaving space for chocolate mixture. Spoon the chocolate mixture in the centre of each muffin. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Creamy banana frosting
80 gr cream cheese at room temperature,
150 ml cream,
3 tbsp brown sugar,
3 tbsp instant banana pudding,
2 tbsp banana liqueur,
few drops of yellow food colouring (optional).

Beat cream cheese with sugar until fluffy, add cream and pudding, beat until soft peaks, then add liqueur and food coloring.

Use frosting to decorate completely cooled cakes.

Jan 8, 2011

Almond and blueberry cookies

100 g butter, softened
1 egg
100 ml sugar
100 ml  almond flour
200 ml flour
1 tsp baking powder
1tsp grated lemon zest
few drops of almond extract or 1 tbsp amaretto
100 ml dried blueberries
pinch of salt

Cream together butter, sugar, zest and almond extract. Then incorporate the egg, followed by almond flour and flour with baking powder and pinch of salt. When the dough is done, gently mix in the blueberries.

Roll the dough into a log, wrap up in plastic and refrigerate for several hours or freeze.

Slice the dough into slices about 1/8" thick and place them on the sheets about an inch apart.

Bake in a pre-heated oven (175°C/350°F) for about 10-15 minutes or until slightly golden.
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