February 28, 2011

Mini Hot Cakes with Cinnamon Butter

When I was little, I used to make pikelets on a regular basis - I would get up early Sunday morning and make a big batch for the family.  I swore by the Women’s Weekly cookbook recipe, and by around 18 years old, I knew the recipe off by heart.  Then one day, something happened and they turned out awful.  I wasn’t sure what it was but the pikelets didn’t taste the same (sorry if this sounds like a children’s book).  At that point I stopped making them fresh and used ‘shake-a-pancake’ style batter instead (these are actually quite good so I don’t discourage using them).  I still to this day make pikelets for the family (when on holidays in Dunsborough) and every so often Sunday mornings for my other half, Colin.

Flipping through Donna Hay’s Seasons, I came across Mini Hot Cakes with Cinnamon Butter.  They looked so adorable, and memories of making pikelets from scratch came back.  Game on.  I was to make them once again. 

This recipe is very different from the Women’s Weekly one, but still great.  They are fluffy and full of flavour, and the cinnamon butter works perfectly - I found I didn’t need to use any other condiments on them.  If you don’t have the biggest sweet tooth, I recommend holding back on the honey in the butter.  I didn't use buttermilk as I never see the point in buy 1 litre for a recipe that calls for 1 cup.  So for this recipe I just used plain milk.

1 cup buttermilk
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
25g butter, melted
¼ cup honey
1 ¼ cups plain flour
1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
2 egg whites, beaten
25g butter, extra
Cinnamon butter
100g butter, softened
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup honey

Cinnamon butter
Use a electric mixer to beat the butter, cinnamon and honey until light and creamy.  Set aside in a cool place.

In a bowl, combine the milk, egg yolks, lemon rind, vanilla, melted butter and honey and mix.  Sift in the flour and baking podwer and combine well.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.  Gently fold into the batter.

Heat a non-stick frying pan on a medium heat.  Add some of the extra butter and when melted, spoon heaped tablespoons of the batter into the pan.  Cook on each side for 2 minutes or until golden.

Make 20.

February 23, 2011

Lemony Peach Cake

I’ve had a slight obsession with peaches this season.  I think it’s because in the past I was never a big consumer of fruit, and in the last 12 months I’ve rediscovered all of it!  I've also taken a strong liking to nectarines and apricots.  Actually pretty much all stone fruit, to the exception of plums - they are still too sour for me. 

I also have a slight obsession with Donna Hay’s new book Seasons.  It’s just so lovely!  I bought this book a couple of months ago, lent it to my mum, then had to buy another copy for her.  All the recipes have photos (a big plus), and they all look delicious, rustic, and comforting. 

So here’s another recipe from the book, Lemony Peach Cake.  This cake, like the Peach & Raspberry Tart, is simple and delicious.  I could have eaten the batter itself it was that good - who am I kidding, I ate a decent amount of the batter.  It was light and fluffy, but moist, and stayed good for three days, up until I ate the last piece!

Only side note is that I used 2 peaches instead of 3, as my peaches were very large.


175g butter, softened and chopped
¾ cup caster sugar
2 tbsp lemon rind, finely grated
3 eggs
1 cup plain flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder, sifted
¼ cup natural yoghurt
3 peaches, sliced
Icing sugar, for dusting
Double (thick) cream, to serve

Preheat the oven to 160C.  Line a 25cm round cake tin with baking paper.

In a bowl, add the butter sugar and lemon rind and beat with an electric mixer until light and creamy.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating in between.  Add the flour, baking powder and yogurt and continue beating until combined. 

Pour the mixture into the baking tin, and top with the sliced peaches.  Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean.

Allow to cool before turning onto a wire rack.  Dust with icing sugar and serve with cream.

February 21, 2011

Simple Bolognese Ragu

I mentioned in my first pasta post that I would soon include a simple and delicious pasta sauce that I cook on a regular basis.  Well here it is.  This is a much simpler recipe than most of the Bolognese recipes out there, so it makes it ideal as a mid week meal.  It's also a great one to freeze.  I have a more complex Bolognese recipe on file which I am eager to cook soon too.

This recipe comes from my mum, and something that I remember learning at a young age.  Most of the time when I cook this recipe I don’t use the carrot and celery, purely because I can’t be bothered.  But in this instance I thought I would go back to how it should be made.

You can use any pasta with this as well.  My brother’s favourite is penne, my mum and dad's is spaghetti or fettuccini, and mine is linguine.  For this meal, I decided to go with pappardelle.

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ large onion, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
1 small carrot, finely diced
2 bay leaves
400g mince beef
1 tin diced tomatoes (400g)
750ml tomato passata
¼ cup olive oil
Salt & pepper to season

In a large pot, cook the garlic, onion, carrot and celery in the oil until they become slightly translucent.  Add the bay leaves and mince.  Using a wooden spoon, break up the mince until there are no big chunks and it becomes completely mixed with the vegetables.  When the meat is no longer pink, add the tin tomatoes and the passata.  Fill the tin half way with water, making sure you get all the tomato off the tin, and pour into the pot.  Give the sauce a good stir and add in salt and pepper to season.

Bring the sauce to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and place the lid on.  The sauce will take around 1  - 1 ½ hours to cook.  Time may vary depending on the size of the pot.  Give it a stir every now and then and taste for seasoning.  It will be ready when it becomes a nice thick consistency and the acidity of the tomatos is gone.

Bring a pot of water to boil, add salt, and then add the pasta (usually 100g per person).  Cook the pasta as per the instructions on the packet.  When al dente, drain the pasta and return to the pot.  Add the sauce and combine well.  Serve with parmesan.

Serves 4 – 6.

February 14, 2011

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Icing

When I first started this blog, I said I would put up the successes and failures of the recipes I cooked.  Well here’s the first kind-of-fail.  It’s not so much a fail as the cupcakes were still quite nice, but there are a couple of things that the recipe called for that needed to be adjusted.  I got the vanilla cupcake recipe from Martha Stewart's website, and the whipped chocolate buttercream recipe from Donna Hay's book Off the Shelf. 
The errors were very obvious – there was too much flour in the cake which made it dense and dry, and there was too much dark chocolate in the icing which made it bitter.  The style of icing was a new one for me.  At one stage I was about to give up and throw it away as it was lumpy and curdled and just awful, but I kept going, and after a couple of minutes beating on high, the mixture came together beautifully.
I will make this recipe again at some point as I love vanilla cupcakes with chocolate icing.  The recipe below is adjusted to how I think it should be (less flour and chocolate). If anyone has a great cupcake recipe please send it through!
Oh and happy Valentine’s Day!

1 ¼ cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
85g unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
150ml milk
Preheat oven to 180° C. Line cupcake pan with paper liners. In a bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add the vanilla, and continue beating, adding the eggs one at a time, mixing until combined.
In the bowl with the eggs, add the flour mixture and milk a bit at a time. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the a skewer comes out clean when tested. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

½ cup icing sugar
2 egg whites
150g chilled butter, cubed
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
50g melted dark chocolate, cooled to room temperature
In a clean bowl, beat the egg white and icing sugar until stiff peaks form.  Continue beating and add the cubes of butter slowly.  The icing will curdle at first, but keep beating for 10 minutes until it becomes thick and silky.  Fold through the vanilla and melted chocolate until well combined.
Makes 12.

February 11, 2011

Lemon & Chive Veal Schnitzel

Making schnitzel was a first for me, well kind of.  I've helped make schnitzel with my mum when I was little - topping up the bowls of breadcrumbs and flour, beating another egg when needed.  But I've never the made the whole thing from scratch.  It's a process that's for sure, but well worth it.  This particular recipe comes straight from Donna Hay's website.  The key to a great schnitzel is using fresh breadcrumbs!  Fresh breadcrumbs means you have a mixture of little and big chunks, and the big chunks fry crispy and golden and delicious.

I originally planned to make the schnitzel and eat with a nice salad, but then the idea grew into a fresh ciabatta roll with mixed lettuce and aioli. Yum! You can pretty much add whatever ingredients you like to the roll, but less is more.

This recipe ended up making 12 mixed sized schnitzels (they were oddly shaped so I cut them into normal sizes), to which I cooked a few and froze the rest.  This is one of the main reasons it's worth making - because you can freeze them for up to three months and cook when you feel like.  A very fast and easy meal!

4 cups (280g) fresh breadcrumbs
⅓ cup chopped chives
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon rind
sea salt and cracked black pepper
8 thin veal schnitzel steaks
plain (all-purpose) flour, for dusting
2 eggs, lightly beaten
vegetable oil, for shallow frying

Place the breadcrumbs, chives, lemon rind, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well to combine. Dust the veal in flour, dip in the egg and press into the crumb mixture. To freeze, layer the schnitzels between sheets of non-stick baking paper in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Before cooking, place the schnitzels in the fridge and allow to defrost completely. To cook, heat 1cm of oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Cook the schnitzels for 1 minute each side or until golden and crisp. Drain well on absorbent paper. Makes 8.

February 8, 2011

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

I had a rather lazy weekend, and to finish it off, I felt like making a lazy pasta dish.  Spaghetti all carbonana is definitely one of these lazy dishes as it’s so easy to make, and only uses a couple of key ingredients.

I’ve made this dish and eaten it a great number of times, but for Sunday night I decided to read up on how somebody else makes it, my favourite Chef Neil Perry.  In his book The Food I Love, Perry gets it spot on when he says “A real carbonara doesn’t have cream in it.  Why do so many make that mistake?”  I’ve been brought up eating carbonara with just eggs and parmesan, so to me this really is the only way to eat it.

So back to the recipe, I used a bit of inspiration from Neil Perry and a bit of my own knowledge to come up with the below recipe.  I liked how his recipe used whole crushed cloves of garlic to infuse the butter and oil, but were removed before the pancetta was added.  You end up with a subtle flavour of garlic which was nice.  Also, the addition of wine was a new one for me, but again, this added a nice flavour the pasta.

TIP: Carbonara is and always will be a fairly rich pasta, so it's nice to eat with a fresh green salad.

400g dried spaghetti
30ml extra virgin olive oil
20g unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
200g pancetta, cut into batons
80ml dry white wine
3 eggs
100g freshly grated parmesan
Sea salt & cracked black pepper

In a pan, add the oil and butter and cook until melted.  Add the crushed garlic cloves and continue cooking until golden.  Remove the garlic for the pan and add the pancetta.  Continue cooking until the pancetta is crispy.  Add the wine and cook until it reduces by half.

Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling water, until al dente.

In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg, parmesan and salt and pepper.

When the spaghetti is cooked, drain, and return to the pot.  Add the egg mixture and quickly toss together, making sure all the pasta is coated with the egg.  Add the pancetta and continue mixing.  Serve immediately with a little extra parmesan.

Serves 4.

February 7, 2011

One month mark!

Well it's been one whole month since Food on Paper begun, and I have enjoyed every recipe!  So far there are 10 recipes up, and if I go with 10 a month I should have 120 by the end of the year.  Gees, that's a bit tiring just thinking about it...

Anyways, thank you to all the readers out there who check in and comment - it makes this blog worthwhile!

x Tash

On a side note, and they are probably going to kill me for this, but above are my parents, the people who influenced my love of food.  The lasagne was a team effort with Mum making the sauce and Papa putting it all together.  I will put this recipe up at some point as it is amazing!

February 2, 2011

Mushroom & Baby Spinach Risotto

Risotto seems to be a dish people fear most.  Whenever I tell people I made risotto their reaction is “oh I’ve never made risotto, it’s too hard”.  So far from the truth.  Risotto is oh so easy to make, so yummy, and relatively quick.  I think people get scared because most TV cooks and chefs instil this idea that ‘you can’t leave while its cooking, you must stay there and continually stir’.  I think George or Gary from MasterChef even said that you shouldn’t touch it once you add the rice, it must sit still.  Bollocks.  Stirring releases the starches which makes it creamy.  When I’m cooking risotto I’m constantly doing other things, chopping ingredients, watching TV, drinking a glass of wine...

A couple of years ago a found a recipe for a base risotto from Jamie Oliver’s book Jamie’s Kitchen.  I made it once, and never had to refer back to it again it was that easy.  I’ve tracked down the original recipe online here

Using this base, you then add anything, and I mean anything!  A couple of my favourites are:
●  Roast Pumpkin and Crispy Pancetta
 Zucchini, Basil and Chilli
●  Seafood
●  And of course mushroom and spinach

Give this a go if you’ve never made risotto before, it’s just so tasty and you will be sure to live on it during winter!

1 litre chicken stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 knobs butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
Sea salt
100g freshly grated parmesan cheese
250g button mushrooms
100g fresh baby spinach

Heat the stock in a pot or microwave.

In a separate pot, heat the olive oil and 1 knob of butter, add the onions, garlic and celery, and fry on a low heat for about 15 minutes until the vegetables have softened.  Turn the heat up and add the rice, stirring until all the rice is coated with the oil.  Add the wine and keep stirring to cook out the alcohol.
Once the wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a pinch of salt. Turn down the heat to a simmer, and keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring the creamy starch out of the rice.  Allow each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next.

Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, use boiling water.

Remove from the heat and add 1 knob of butter, parmesan, mushrooms and spinach. Stir until the mushrooms become soft and the spinach has wilted down.  Place the lid on the pot and let it sit for a couple of minutes to help the spinach.

Serve immediately, topped with a good sprinkle of parmesan.  Serves 4.

Buon appetito!

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