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.

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