Boeuf Bourguignon


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My brother, Michael, organizes a ‘world cuisine’ lunch or dinner were our friends and family can gather to catch up and enjoy good food. We pick a different theme each time we get together, the latest being French cuisine. We usually post on the Facebook page he created what each of us is going ot make, so we don’t make the same dishes. I choose to try the boeuf burguignon. Why did I chose this dish you ask?… well I forgot to prepare a meal and my husband kindly reminded me that the lunch was happening the Sunday just gone. Luckily, we were at the supermarket, so I quickly googled French cuisine and chose the first non-chicken based dish I could find (everyone else was doing chicken). I think this came out really nice. It is so simple to make and very tasty!

INGREDIENTS

1.2kg chuck steak, trimmed of fat, cut into 4cm cubes
1/4 cup plain flour
20g butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
150g small button mushrooms
200g bacon, cut into 3cm cubes
12 eschalots or spring onions, peeled
1 large carrot, peeled, diced
1 cup red wine (such as shiraz or cabernet sauvignon)
1 1/2 cups beef consomme or stock (preferably home made)
1 bouquet garni
flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, to serve

METHOD

Step 1

Preheat oven to 200°C. Lightly coat meat with flour. Heat a large, ovenproof casserole dish over a medium-high heat. Add 10g butter and 2 teaspoons oil. When butter and oil are sizzling, add one-sixth of meat and cook for 6 minutes or until well browned on all sides. Transfer to a large plate. Repeat with remaining meat, adding more butter and oil as required.

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Step 2

Add mushrooms to casserole and cook, stirring often, until golden. Transfer to a plate and set aside until required. Add bacon, eschalots and carrot to casserole. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until golden. Drain away any remaining oil. Pour wine and consomme into casserole. Bring to the boil, stirring with a wooden spoon to loosen sediment on base of casserole. Return beef to casserole with bouquet garni. Cover and place in oven.

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Step 3

Cook for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and add mushrooms. Return to oven, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove bouquet garni and season with salt and pepper. Spoon casserole onto plates, garnish with parsley and serve with Pommes Anna (recipe published soon).

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Try this for yourself and let me know what you think? What other French inspired dishes do you like?

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Devil’s Food Cake Recipe


You can never go wrong with a Devil’s Food Cake… I came across this recipe a very long time ago and I love it! The trick with this recipe (as with all) is to read all the way through first.

“While you’re making it, don’t panic. The mixture will seem very runny for ages once the chocolate has melted and you will think you have a liquid gleaming glaze, beautiful but unfit for purpose; leave it for about an hour, as stipulated, though, and it will be perfect and spreadable. It never quite dries to the touch, but this is, in part, what makes the cake so darkly luscious. Goo here is good.”

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Recipe by Nigella Lawson

for the cake:
50g best-quality cocoa powder, sifted
100g dark muscovado sugar
250ml boiling water
125g soft unsalted butter, plus some for greasing
150g caster sugar
225g plain flour
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs

for the frosting:
125ml water
30g dark muscovado sugar
175g unsalted butter cubed
300g best-quality dark chocolate finely chopped
2 x 20cm sandwich tins

Method

Serves: 10 – 12

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Line the bottoms of both sandwich tins with baking parchment and butter the sides.
  3. Put the cocoa and 100g dark muscovado sugar into a bowl with a bit of space to spare, and pour in the boiling water. Whisk to mix, then set aside.
  4. Cream the butter and caster sugar together, beating well until pale and fluffy; I find this easiest with a freestanding mixer, but by hand wouldn’t kill you.
  5. While this is going on – or as soon as you stop if you’re mixing by hand – stir the flour, baking powder and bicarb together in another bowl, and set aside for a moment.
  6. Dribble the vanilla extract into the creamed butter and sugar – mixing all the while – then drop in 1 egg, quickly followed by a scoopful of flour mixture, then the second egg.
  7. Keep mixing and incorporate the rest of the dried ingredients for the cake, then finally mix and fold in the cocoa mixture, scraping its bowl well with a spatula.
  8. Divide this fabulously chocolatey batter between the 2 prepared tins and put in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  9. Take the tins out and leave them on a wire rack for 5–10 minutes, before turning the cakes out to cool.
  10. But as soon as the cakes are in the oven, get started on your frosting: put the water, 30g muscovado sugar and 175g butter in a pan over a low heat to melt.
  11. When this mixture begins to bubble, take the pan off the heat and add the chopped chocolate, swirling the pan so that all the chocolate is hit with heat, then leave for a minute to melt before whisking till smooth and glossy.
  12. Leave for about 1 hour, whisking now and again – when you’re passing the pan – by which time the cakes will be cooled, and ready for the frosting.
  13. Set one of the cooled cakes, with its top side down, on a cake stand or plate, and spread with about a third of the frosting, then top that with the second cake, regular way up, and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides, swirling away with your spatula. You can go for a smooth look, but I never do and probably couldn’t.

 http://www.nigella.com/

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Toblerone Non-Bake Cheese Cake


tobchee

This is one of my most requested desserts! So easy to prepare and make. No baking required.

**You can use any type of chocolate you like

INGREDIENTS

BASE
1 packet plain chocolate biscuits
*(I use Arnott’s Choc Ripple and usually use 1/2 to 3/4 of packet)
80g butter, melted
1/4 cup almonds (optional)

FILLING
500g block PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
*(I generally use 250g of Original and 250g of Light)
*(I wouldn’t recommend 500g of Light… not as tasty)
1/2 cup caster sugar
200g TOBLERONE** Milk or Dark Chocolate, melted
*(I’m a HUGE chocolate fan and have used 600g chocolate)
1/2 cup thickened cream

TOPPING
200g TOBLERONE** Milk or Dark Chocolate for shaving

METHOD

Biscuit Base
1.
 Lighty grease or line with baking paper a 20cm baking dish/springform pan.
2. Put biscuits into a food processor and process until fine crumbs. Transfer to mixing bowl.
3. Put almonds into a food processor and roughly chop. Add to biscuit crumbs.
4. Add melted butter to biscuit and almond mixture.
(I know I said 80g butter, but I would add small bits at a time in case you don’t need the whole 80g. Basically… you want to add enough butter to get the biscuit crumbs to combine).
5. Once combined, put biscuit crumb base into the pan and use hand to distribute evenly on the base.
6. Place in fridge to chill.

Cheese Cake Layer
2. Beat cream cheese and sugar using an electric mixer until smooth.
3. Melt Toblerone**
4. Add in the melted Toblerone** and cream to the cream cheese mixture and beat until well combined.
5. Pour mixture onto the prepared crumb base and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours until set, or overnight.
6. Serve topped with the Toblerone** shavings.

So easy. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do.

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Mini Chocolate Cupcakes


choc mini

Ingredients:
3/4 cup plain flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or vanilla essence
80g butter (unsalted)
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup chocolate bits (milk, dark or white)

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Line 24 hole mini cupcake tray.
2. Sift all dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.
3. Make a small well in the middle of the bowl and then add remaining ingredients (except chocolate bits).
4. Beat on low speed with electric mixer until just combined.

5. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat on medium speed for a further 2 minutes.
6. Add chocolate bits and mix with wooden spoon.
7. Place tablespoons of the mixture into 24 hole mini cupcake tray until 3/4 full.
8. Place tray into oven for 10-12 minutes or until baked through.
9. Stand for 5 minutes and then turn out onto wire rack to cool.
10. Ice with Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting or leave plain as desired.

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Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting


Ingredients:
200g butter, softened
6 cups (900g) icing sugar mixture
1/2 cup (125ml) milk
1 tsp Vanilla extract

Method:
Use an electric mixer to beat the butter until very pale. Gradually add the icing sugar while beating. Add the milk and vanilla essence, and beat until well combined.

Note:
You can divide the frosting and add food colouring of your choice. Start with a small amount of colouring and build the colour by adding a bit more food colouring until you get the desired colour!

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Mini Banana & Honey Cupcakes


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Ingredients:
200g butter, softened
1 3/4 cups (370g) caster sugar
4 eggs
2 3/4 cups (405g) self-raising flour
1 cup (250ml) milk
1/4 cup honey
2 over-ripe bananas (mashed)
Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line 2 mini cupcake baking trays with mini cupcake cases (makes 24 mini cupcakes).
2. Cream the butter and sugar until well combined and butter has become pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until just combined. Add the flour and milk in alternate batches and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Add honey and mashed bananas, and stir until combined.
3. Spoon mixture evenly among the cupcake cases.
(Fill to 3/4 full: this should create a ‘dome’ on your cupcakes. If you do not want to create a dome, fill to 1/2 way)
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Decorating:
In the pictures I posted, I use a simple vanilla butter cream frosting and top with a fondant flower to decorate. Otherwise, decorate as you like.
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Crisco – Vegetable Shortening


For those outside the US there are some recipes that use shortening. Crisco is a vegetable shortening common in the US (copha is not a suitable substitute). However, you can successfully use all butter in the recipes or buy Crisco online in Australia from USA foods; available in three sizes, plus sticks and butter flavoured.
Crisco
WHAT IS SHORTENING?
Shortening, Vegetable – A solid fat made from vegetable oils, such as soybean and cotton seed oil. Although made from oil, shortening has been chemically transformed into a sold state through hydrogenation. Vegetable shortening is virtually flavorless (has a bland, neutral flavor) and may be substituted for other fats (such as butter, margarine, or lard) in baking of pie pastry, cookies, and cakes. Shortening is ideal for pastry, since it blends well with the flour. It can be stored at room temperature for up to a year.
NUTRITION FACTS
Serv Size 1 Tablespoon (12g)
Servings Per Container About 48
Calories 110
Calories from Fat 110
Amount/Server %DV
Total Fat 12g 18%
Saturated Fat 3g 16%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 6g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.5g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 0mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Protein 0g
Vitamin E 15%
SOYBEAN OIL, FULLY HYDROGENATED PALM OIL, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED PALM AND SOYBEAN OILS, MONO AND DIGLYCERIDES, TBHQ AND CITRIC ACID (ANTIOXIDANTS).