Friday, 27 November 2009

Cannoli – November 2009 Daring Bakers

It’s with much pleasure that I can tell you I’ve re-joined the Daring Bakers group! I have missed taking part in their monthly baking events, and am happy that my timetable hopefully now means that I can take part once again.

This months event was chosen by by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry Cannolo (or cannoli if there is more than one). I have heard of them before in some of my Italian and American cookbooks. They are a deep fried dough shell filled with something creamy. I couldn’t help thinking of brandy snaps when I saw the pictures, or even my own when they were made. They are nothing like brandy snaps though, the dough being flavoured with cinnamon and Marsala wine.

The dough is pretty hard to work with, horrible to knead and getting it through the pasta machine the first few times was not east at all! If you persevere though it does become something more pliant and manageable, that can indeed be formed into cannoli. There was several stages to the making of this months challenge, the dough, rolling and shaping the dough, deep frying the shells, chocolate and nut dipping the ends, then the filling of the otherwise ready shells before being ready to eat them.

Lisa Michelle gave up the options of forming them into the traditional cylinder shells by using forms or just cutting out shapes from the dough. Not one to pass up the opportunity to buy a little bit of kitchen kit I purchased a couple of forms online =) So here you have then Cannoli. I filled mine with whipped cream flavoured with Amaretto liqueur and a little icing (confectioners) sugar, which reflected the chopped almonds in the chocolate shells. I did like them, they were very pretty, I’m not sure I’d make them again though, as I hardly ever deep fry anything, last time I used my machine would be about 10 years ago! I’m glad I did give them a go though, once the naughty dough was behaving it was a fun challenge. Thanks to Lisa Michelle for choosing. Please click here for the recipe if you fancy giving them a go.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

And The Winner Is

The winner of the double cookbook giveaway from Hachette for How To Roast a Lamb: New Greek Classic Cooking by Michael Psilakis and Chocolate: A Love Story: 65 Chocolate Dessert Recipes from Max Brenner's Private Collection by Max Brenner is Joyful of New Horizon Reviews.

Well done to you Joyful, I’ll email you for your details. Thank you to everyone who entered.
Many thanks to the lovely people at Hachette for donating the books for the giveaway.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Cookbook Giveaway!!!

The kind people at Hachette publishers contacted me about doing a competition to win one set of two of their newly released cookbooks. They are How To Roast a Lamb: New Greek Classic Cooking by Michael Psilakis and Chocolate: A Love Story: 65 Chocolate Dessert Recipes from Max Brenner's Private Collection by Max Brenner. They both look like great books. Click on the titles to read more.

If you would like to enter into the draw to win the set of two books please just leave a comment to this post saying why you’d like to win them. This giveaway is open to readers in the US and Canada only as per the publishers request, apologies to my other readers. Entries to be in by midday on 24th November 2009. The draw will take place out of a hat on 25th November, and I will post to say who the lucky winner is. Good Luck!!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Home Cooking!

Red Wine and Chorizo Risotto with Peas
Home Cooking by Rachel Allen was published this Autumn. It won’t be any surprise to regular readers that I’m a Rachel Allen fan. Have all her books, and have cooked from them all extensively. As much as a fan as I am I did wonder if she could come up with another good cookbook so soon after the magnificent Bake of last year. However, she has done it again, another lovely book jam packed with the kind of recipes you can easily slot into your weekly cooking. It’s her sixth and biggest book to date, nicely presented in a feminine fashion, with good pictures. It has a TV series on Good Food channel to go with it, but there is a lot more in the book than the recipes that appeared on TV.
It covers: Breakfast, Lunch, Sunday Lunch, Supper and Desserts plus some savoury and sweet treats . There is even a chapter on Baby Purees.

I don’t know about you but I sometimes draw a blank for inspiration midweek, when I’m tired but still want something good to eat for my family. I’ve been inspired though with Home Cooking, and the recipes I’ve made have produced comforting, homely, good home cooked food. Here is a taster of some of the things I’ve made. Have an amazing sounding orange and date syrup pudding on the cards next.

Roast Chicken
Easy and delicious roasted chicken.

Buttered Cabbage
Something I used to do a lot and then it fell by the wayside in favour of newer things. It’s back on the menu again now though.

Tarragon Cream Gravy
Creamy and just a little different from the norm. There are several variations for gravies and sauces to go with your chicken in the books.

Smoked Bacon Stuffing
Delicious! The stock I made with the leftover bits and pieces was all the better for a little of this stuffing. There are also several stuffings to choose from in the book.

Macaroni Cheese with Ham
I have a couple of macaroni cheese recipes that I make, but this was the one that got the little people cleaning their plates and asking for more!

Alphabet Soup
A lovely tomato soup to warm the soul. Could be veggie without the bacon. I found the pasta alphabet shapes in the baby aisle at the supermarket.

Chicken Curry
This is a cream and coconut milk free curry. It must be ages wince I’ve made a plain curry like this! It actually reminded me of a packaged curry that came in black boxes, when homemade curry was not the in thing yet. I added a few sultanas to make it more so. A gripe with this recipe, it only served two of us, and it would not have stretched any further!

A must in your repertoire.

Tartare Sauce
This version of this fish accompaniment has chopped hard boiled egg in it, which is a new one on me. It was a lovely tartare sauce though, given a little more body with the egg.

Red Wine and Chorizo Risotto with Peas (Picture at top of post)
I adore risotto and chorizo, if this hadn’t been good I’ve have been extremely surprised! It was a very pretty colour when cooked too, the purple rice and vibrant green peas with the drizzle of orange chorizo oil.

Mild Lamb Curry
I saw Rachel make this one on Market Kitchen. I did the very mild version with no chilli, and my non spicy little people ate it up. The novelty of poppadums and nan probably helped. We liked it too, you could always serve a spicy chitnry or pickle with it if you like it hot. I liked the aromatic gentleness of it.

Aromatic Crispy Duck
A really moist take on the Chinese recipe. You poach duck breasts and oven bake the skin = moist meat and crispy skin!

Strawberry and White Chocolate Tiramisu
This was soooooo good! Scarily addictive!!

Pork Meatballs with Tomato Sauce
A filling nice supper. I usually make meatballs with beef, so this was a little change.

Stir Fried Rice
Lovely! Sometimes I used leftover rice and sometimes cook and cool rice and keep it in the fridge till evening. A good stir fried rice like this is worth cooking extra for.

Cauliflower Cheese
A family home cooked classic, or it should be anyhow!

Here a link to Rachel Allen’s website for the White Chocolate and Strawberry Tiramisu recipe – scroll down and it’s there.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

White Chocolate and Orange Cookies - Sweet & Simple Bakes November 2009

This one really lives up to the baking group name as they were indeed very sweet and simple little cookies, but with lovely taste and aroma. A cookie dough laced with vanilla extract, orange zest and chunks of white chocolate. Yum! I brought these to a meeting I went to last week, and they disappeared so quickly.
I used bars of good quality white chocolate and chopped them myself, as I’m not too keen on the white choc chips that I can get readily here.Thanks as always to Maria and Rosie for hosting. Hope you get better soon Rosie. Do check here for other cookies after the 2nd of November.

White Chocolate and Orange Cookies
Makes 2 dozen
115g unsalted butter, softened
200g caster sugar (superfine)
1 egg
Grated zest of 1 orange (2 to 3 tsp)
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ baking powder
¼ tsp salt
225g white chocolate chips
(1)Preheat the oven to 190oC/170oC fan oven/375oF/Gas mark 5.
(2)Beat the butter and sugar. Add the egg, orange zest and vanilla extract.
(3)Sift together the dry ingredients. Stir the dry ingredients and chocolate chips into the butter mixture and combine. Roll into balls. Use your fingers to flatten onto a non-stick baking sheet 5cm/2in apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
(4)Cool for five minutes and transfer to a cooling rack. When cool, store in an airtight container for up to four to five days.