Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fruit Mince

Jamie Oliver made a new version of mince pies on his Christmas Special. He used a bottle of fruit  mince. I know he is often about quick cooking and some people don't have a lot of time.

People, it isn't hard to make a batch of fruit mince and it keeps really well in the refrigerator. I made some last Christmas and it sat in the fridge until this December, it was just as good as when I made it.


 













Quick Fruit Mince

1 cup sultanas
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup chopped dried apple
½ cup chopped dried figs
1/2 cup currants
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
½  teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup brandy
Grated rind of 1 orange and 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange
½ cup water
80 grams butter chopped into pieces
½ cup dark brown sugar

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and heat over a low heat until the butter and sugar melts.
Place into a sealable container and refrigerate at least overnight.
I have kept this in the refrigerator for 12 months and it keeps really well.


To make my version of Jamies Mince tarts

3 sheets of filo pastry
80 grams butter melted
2 sheets premade puff pastry
1/2 quantity of the fruit mince above
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius.
Brush a Muffin tin with lots of butter, inside the dips and on the top.
Lay one piece of filo pastry on your bench, brush with melted butter and lay another piece of filo on top, do this again so you have three sheets of filo. Brush the top with more melted butter. Drape it over the muffin tin, now carefully and gently poke the pastry into the holes.

Lay the two sheets of puff pastry on your bench
Spread evenly with the fruit mince.
Roll like a swiss roll.
Cut each piece into 6 and put one piece into each hole. Brush with more butter and sprinkle with the almonds and then a thick layer of icing sugar.
Bake for around 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the puff looks cooked. I had to put some foil over mine as it as the filo was cooking to fast.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Hot Smoked Salmon Quiche

I love hot smoked salmon, I buy it in the supermarket already smoked and vacuum packed ready to eat. My favorite is the Huon Aqua brand. The flavour is different, richer and deeper than ordinary smoked salmon with more of the texture of cooked salmon. Delicious.
For this version I use Alexandrina Cheese Creme Fraiche and organic eggs.
I use powdered milk in my quiches and baked custards. I believe I get a better mouth feel from powdered milk and compliments fly when I feed them to friends and family.


Hot Smoked Salmon Quiche

Ingredients

Pastry

100 grams butter
150 grams plain flour
50 grams cornflour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon lemon juice
30 mls water (If needed)

Filling

3 x 70 gram eggs
250 mls Alexandrina Cheese creme fraiche or sour cream
1 cup water
1/2 cup powdered milk
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 cup green part of spring onion chopped
150 grams Huon Hot Smoked Salmon flaked
1 cup grated cheddar - I prefer a mild cheddar rather than an aged or tasty variety.

Line a 30 cm x 18 cm tray with bakepaper.
Preheat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius (If your oven is not fan forced raise the heat by 10 degrees)

Combine the flours and butter in your food processor and blitz until the butter is the size of grains of rice
Add the salt, egg and lemon juice and blitz until the pastry comes together.
You might need to add a little or all of the water to get it too come together.
Roll the pastry out and line the tin.
Sprinkle the salmon, dill and spring onion over the pastry evenly.
Mix together the eggs, creme fraiche, water and powdered milk in the food processor and blitz together until smooth. Carefully pour over the salmon and spring onion.
Sprinkle the cheese over the egg mixture and place in the oven and bake for 45 - 60 minutes or until the egg mixture is set and the pastry golden.
Allow to sit for 10 minutes at room temperature before serving.
This is delicous served warm or cold with a dressed green salad. I like to use a Honey, Lemon and Mustard Dressing on the salad.

1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon of your favorite mustard
1 teaspoon honey
100ml olive oil
Salt & freshly ground white pepper

Place the lemon rind and juice, mustard and honey in a small bowl and whisk with a hand whisk or your electric beaters, drizzle the olive oil in and beat until combined.
Pour it over your salad and enjoy.

I don't receive anything from these companies to promote their products.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Almond Lemon Biscuits (Slice)

I have been creating a lot of egg-free recipes lately and this is NOT one of them. As I was going to spend time with friends at a workshop (See my other blog for the details) I decided to make some morning tea. One of my favorite recipes is from this Womens Weekly Cookbook.


On page 52 is a recipe for Hazelnut Lemon Biscuits. I call this recipe a slice but who am I to argue with them. I didn't have any ground hazelnuts so I substituted ground almonds instead and it is delicious with both.

Almond (Or Hazelnut) Lemon Biscuits.

Pastry

1 cup plain flour
2 tablespoons caster sugar
90 grams ground almonds or hazelnuts
125 grams butter
1 egg

Filling

60g (2oz) butter
1/2 cup caster sugar
grated rind of 1 lemon
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 eggs

Topping
1 cup flaked or slivered almonds

Place flour and chopped butter in food processor and blend until crumbs (Or rub the butter into the flour).
Add the sugar and egg and pulse until it starts to come together.
Press half the pastry into a 28cm x 18cm tin.
Combine all the filling ingredients in the food processor and blend until smooth. It might be a bit curdled looking like this but it is fine. Pour it over the base.


Grate or crumble the remaining pastry evenly over the filling and then sprinkle over the almonds.


Cook for 30 -40 minutes. Cool in the tin, cut into 3cm squares when cold and enjoy.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

100th Raspberry


In just a couple of weeks we (that's the royal we as I have had little to do with it) have harvested 100 raspberries from this little patch.


Greg has netted it to stop the birds taking them as they can become a weed. Still it is worth it to have them planted. The strawberries are bearing beautifully too but the hot weather is coming and they are slowing down.
I am not sure what to do with this bounty, we have been eating them fresh with some cream or ice cream and that is good enough for me. I'll have to think of something special for them. In the meantime fresh is best and there is nothing quite as sweet as a raspberry picked and eaten within a few minutes.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Banana and carrot Cake Eggless and Egg less Chicken Schnitzels

I have had two days off in a row this week. As No 2 son is not the greatest eater in the world I have been tempting his appetite with things I know he likes. His egg allergy means he misses out on a lot of things like cake. Yet you can make cake without eggs and they are good. Here's my latest attempt inspired by several recipes so I am not giving one source in particular.


Egg Less Banana and Carrot Cake

2 overripe bananas
1 large carrot - cut into chunks
200mls milk
5 teaspoons baking powder (use the recommended amount for that amount of flour of your favorite brand I think it varies depending on brand)
1 teaspoon bi-carb (baking)soda
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon mixed spice or cinnamon
125 grams melted butter
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts
2 1/2 cups plain flour (I used wholemeal but you could use any)

Place carrot, banana and milk in food processor and blitz until carrot is finely chopped.
Add all the other ingredients and process until smooth and lightened in colour.
Pour into lined 15cm x 30 cm tray and bake for 30 minutes at 180 degrees C or until skewer inserted comes out clean.
Cool in tin for 5 minutes and then remove onto airing tray.

Egg less Chicken Schnitzels.



4 Chicken thigh fillets
1 cup cornflake crumbs
1/2 cup favorite dukkah
milk or cream about 1 cup

Combine the crumbs and dukkah, toss the chicken fillets in the mix.
Dip in the milk and return to the crumb mix. Repeat until well coated I did 3 coats.
Spray with olive oil and bake on a lined tray in 180 degree oven for around 45 minutes.
Serve with mashed potato and peas or salad
I had mine with salad No 2 son just had peas. I was going to take a wonderful photo and show you but I was really hungry and so you just got a photo of the leftovers.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Eggless Pancakes

Our search for egg free food has lead me too this recipe for Eggless Pancakes.
I got up this morning and all I could think about was pancakes. A bit cruel to cook my usual recipe when No 2 Son can't eat them, so I surfed the net and found this recipe from Cooks.com.
I don't remember visiting this American site before but there is a treasure trove of info there.
I did adapt the recipe a little as I am trying to cut out back on sugar. I substituted maple syrup which is slightly better.

FLUFFY EGGLESS PANCAKES

1 cup plain flour
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoon butter or nuttelex

Combine milk, maplesyrup, oil, water, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients.
Whisk together until just combined. Be careful not to over mix - it should still be slightly lumpy. Set aside to rest for a few minutes.
Heat a large frypan over medium-high heat until hot. While pan is heating, add butter. As soon as the butter is melted, add melted butter to pancake batter.
Return pan to stove and stir butter into batter.
When pan is hot, place tablespoons of batter in the pan.
Cook over a low heat until bubbles form on the surface.
Carefully flip pancakes with an eggslide and cook until golden brown.

These pancakes were made with wholemeal flour and were just as good hot as egg pancakes. They were a little heavier when they were cold but still great. I cooked them on my new cooker. More on that later.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Everybody Needs Cake - Eggless Chocolate Cake.

As No 2 son has moved back in and has a myriad of allergies my cooking style has undergone a forceful change. We decided yesterday that what we really need is cake. Everybody needs Cake.
One of my favorite blogs is Art of Dessert.
Rianne shares lots of delicious recipes and great photos for those with allergies.
One of her recent posts was Chocolate Wasted Cupcakes
I had grand plans of making the cupcakes but laziness set in and I just threw the whole lot into a pan and baked it whole. It is delicious. I did have to substitute some stuff so I have given my recipe below. The original is on Riannes site.

Egg Less Chocolate Cake

2 cups gluten free flour
1 cup coconut flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 cups milk
1 cup butter, melted
4 teaspoons maple syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup Beach Organics cacao nibs
I bought these at the Good Food And Wine show and they were delicious.
1 teaspoon mixed spice

Mix wet ingredients well.
Sift the flours and cocoa together and add other dry ingredients. Mix well.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix well.
Place into lined baking tin and bake in 180 degrees Celsius oven for 40 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.
I had my piece with coffee icecream and mango.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wasabi Leaves Salad


We ate the rest of the wasabi leaves tonight. The flavour of the raw leaves is very different to wasabi paste. The closest comparable flavour is rocket. I made a fridge salad. That's a salad made with whatever was in the fridge.
In this case toasted almonds, chinese cabbage, wasabi leaves, boiled potato, carrot, celery and cucumber. I also pan fired some chicken for No 2 son and I. The dressing is lemon infused olive oil, lemon juice and seeded mustard.
It was fresh, light and delicious. Just the thing for our first hot day. It got to 28 degrees celsius here today. Summer is coming. I prefer Winter.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Wasabi Leaves


No 1 Son, Favorite Daughter In Law and No 1 Grandson dropped in for lunch today. We'd been with Favorite Daughter to look at a Church for her wedding next year. No 1 Son is an Uniting Church miniister and will be performing the ceremony.
No 1 son and family live at the beautiful Victor Harbour and there is an excellent Farmers Market there on Saturday mornings. Last Saturday No 1 Son bought some wasabi leaves so he brought a few up to me to try.I was a bit hesitant however they don't have that blow off the top of your head and clear your sinuses while you scream for mercy taste either.
A local farmer at Victor Harbour has started to grow the wasabi. The largest and possibly only commercial grower of Wasabi in Australia is in Tasmania, Shima Wasabi so there is still room in the market for some more growers.
Shima Wasabi do a pack for home shoppers it contains 2 fresh wasabi stems (minimum weight 150g, enough for 12-15 servings, 12 fresh wasabi leaves, 12 wasabi leaf stalks and postage for $42. Understandable why there are others looking at getting into the market.
to correctly make your own paste you really need either a sharkshin wasabi grater or a creamic one. Shima Wasabi have those too.

The ones I got were crisp and green. They have a similar apperance to coltsfoot and these were begging for a bit of experimentation so I whipped up a tempura batter and threw them in.
They didn't like being tempura'd. The batter was crunchy and just as it should have been but the leaves were tasteless after cooking.

I can see why people would pay 50 cents a leaf for them but next time I'll try something else. They were great raw and I think they will be excellent in a salad. If they last till Sunday and are not eaten before I might try them in some sushi. Sushi is the plan for Sunday. I'll show you what I do then.

Tempura Batter
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 1/2 cups of ice water

Mix together until smooth and refrigerate until you are going to use it. If the batter gets hot it will not be crunchy.
The batter should have the consistency of cream. This amount is enough for tempura for 6 people.

Toss whatever vegetables, fish or meat you like in a little bit of flour and drop in the batter.
Heat your rice bran oil to 180 degrees Celsius and drop the battered whatever into the hot oil. Don't overcrowd your pan or your batter might not get really crisp. It is the extremely cold batter hitting the hot oil that gives you your crisp delicate coating.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Adelaide Good Food and Wine Show

Today off I went to the Adelaide Good Food and Wine Show. The Husband sort of grunted and frowned everytime I mentioned it. "V8's....Bathurst....Mumble, mumble don't want to go.... mumble, mumble..."
Now I too am a fan of V8's and spending a day in front of the telly to catch any really good car crashes is a day well spent. It certainly is how I spent the weekend last year.
This year I decided that V8's couldn't compete with the allure of a show dedicated to Good Food and Wine. I certainly was not disappointed. Well, a little disappointed. In a whole huge pavilion dedicated to wine and food there were certainly those. There were nibbles, crackers and a happy abundance of liquers and spirits. I happily sipped on lots of really excellent wines. There were little pots of pastas one enterprising company had bought along one of their pasta machines. That was really interesting and the pasta was delicous. I had lots of breads, dukkahs galore and some really excellent wines. I sipped a lot and was praying I wouldn't run afoul of a booze bus (breathalyser) on my way home. I was pretty sure I hadn't over indulged to the point of being over the limit but who wants to chance that.
I bought a bottle of St Germains elderflower liquer, the bottle is a work of art and the liquer isn't bad either. Some really excellent Pama pomegranate liquer, a bottle of the lovely Glayva whiskey and a bottle of Hpnotiq - a blend of exotic juices, vodka and cognac found their way into my shopping bag. I succumbed to neccessity and bought myself a granny shopping trolley. apparently everyone in Europe regardless of age has one...so I am actually being Continental. Chocolate abounded.

What was lacking from the Good Food and Wine show....Cheese, not a skerrick, there are so many fantastic cheese makers in South Australia.
Cake....really lacking as well, surely someone like St George Cakes or those of that ilk could have been there.
On the whole though a great day out with my friend from work. We saw Manu and Ainsley so Yay for us.
Oh and the new upgraded Goyder Pavilion is great - these kids had so much fun in the fountain in the beer garden I wanted to splash in the water too...But people frown on that.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse

Is there a 12 step program for compulsive shoppers – You know the kind where you stand up and say I am a kitchen stuff junkie. If there is I bet they are all really well fed. I love all sorts of stuff, books, cooking paraphenalia, anything that is food related has a place in my house.
I know my husband shakes his head and wonders if it will ever stop. He used to ask when I would stop buying books, gadgets, stuff my answer the last time was “When I have them all”.
He’s stopped asking me now. There are reasons why I shop.
I have always been a stress shopper. I am also a stress eater.
Yes, I am potentially a fat person with a house full of stuff. I can control my eating enough to stay at the top of my ideal weight range (I believe those weight ranges are done by anorexics with low self-esteem who want everybody to be hungry and miserable).
I am also a compulsive shopper. I am not as bad as I used to be, I do have some self control. Always remembering that I might never see that thing again…. I have a million reasons I can give you for shopping and eating. I know it and I don't care.
If I am asked for a reason I now say “Because I want too”.
Yes that’s right I buy because I can, there are a lot of shop-keepers who see me coming and their heart and wallet sings a happy “Ka-Ching”.
I am supporting the economy. I am stocking up for the zombie apocalypse. The economy might crash and there I would be without a dozen rolling pins. How embarrassing would that be.
Today I went shopping with my favorite daughter, we were looking for inspiration and a plate cake to sit her wedding cake on. Off we went with the granddaughters who started saying how bored they were before we got out of the drive way. First stop was Creative Cooks - A great kitchen stuff shop at Melrose Park. There are millions of us cooks searching for that perfect rolling pin, I wanted one that I could put rolling pin rings on. They make it easier to get perfect evenly rolled icing, pastry, whatever you are rolling.
That’s what I bought today, a lovely 70 cm long Italian beech rolling pin. It is the perfect size for the Wilton rolling pin rings I also bought. The Wilton Rolling pin I didn't buy was over $65. I ended up spending less than that on everything I bought. So I actually saved heaps of money…. Yes really… I did.
I also bought some new kitchen scissors – the pink breast cancer ones, that’s a donation to charity.
Some cupcake shaped cookie cutters because they were really cute.
A new bottle sealer cause mine is old, ugly and the sealing rings are sort of sticky.
A new small whisk because I don’t know where my other one is.
An agnolotti cutter and shaper because I don’t have one.
We also went to a cake decorating shop, I was very controlled there. I only stocked up on essentials there.
Potato flour because I ran out of that and it is really handy to have some potato flour on hand.
Star icing cutters for Christmas cookies I might will make.
Stamens for fake flowers they were 5 for $4 and they are usually $4 each. So another $16 saved. Wow my husband should be thanking me for saving me so much money.
I didn’t spend thousands of dollars, that thermomixer is still in the shop that is another thing that will have to wait for the big Lotto win.
My compulsive shoppers heart is happy. I am going to the Food and Wine Show tomorrow. Can you hear my wallet groaning. I will only buy essentials there... I promise... Really I will.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I Really Need A New Oven

I really want and sort of need a new stove. I have had my current one for 11 years and it was second hand when we got it.
I deserve a new one. I'd really like one of these


But lets be practical and sensible, until I win Lotto, which could will happen anyday, my Kitchen just isn't big enough. But one day I'm going to have one of those.

At the moment I would like to have this

which is the modern version of the one I currently have.

We used to have one of these (below) wood burning stoves and it cooked like a dream, cutting the wood, cleaning the stove and being cooked yourself in the Summer was a bit of a pain. But a dream in the winter. I'd have one again. Perhaps when I win the Lotto.


So the search continues for the new stove. I'll let you know what happens.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Eggless Almond Tarts - Baklava Inspired Or I need a new oven


I have been yearning for a new stove for quite some time. My oven is being uncooperative. It has been a loyal kitchen appliance since I bought it second hand back in 2000. But lately it has started to play up. It did this some years ago and I got a man in to look at it who did his best and said don't bother calling us again buy a new stove. Greg fiddled with it too and I don't think that helped a bit.
So I did a bit of window shopping for a new stove. WOW they are expensive. Of course the one I fell in love with wouldn't fit in my kitchen and cost over $7000 so I am lowering my goals.

What do I want in an stove.

1. Gas hotplates but not necessarily a gas oven.
2. It has to fit in a 60 x 60 cm hole and be at least 83 cm's high so it clears the bench tops.
Other than that the sky is the limit.

I would love a combitherm steam/heat combined oven but that is out of the question I am afraid. Oh well perhaps one day.

Tonight I cooked this quick dessert. No 2 son is allergic to eggs so I am inventing some desserts that are eggless.

Eggless Baklava Inspired Almond Tarts

Makes 4 tarts

Requirements

4 x 8 cm tartlet pans
Bake paper
Bowl
Spoon
Pot
Scales
Measuring jug
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons

Ingredients

2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons self-raising flour
1 teaspoon lemon rind grated
¾ - 1 cup Ground almonds
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 sheet puff pastry

Method

Preheat oven to 200° C
Thaw pastry and cut the edges off.
Cut the pastry into 4 squares lay on a piece of bake paper that is slightly larger than the pastry.
Line each tartlet dish with the pastry on bakepaper.


Combine honey, lemon juice and rind, water and butter in a small pot and bring to the boil.
Mix cinnamon, ground almonds and flour together.
Add hot mixture. mix well. The mixture should be thick enough to hold on the spoon for 1 or 2 seconds and then fall off.


Divide equally between the dishes and fold the edges back over the top.


Bake for 15 minutes at 200° C then lower the heat to 180° C and cook until firm and the pastry is browned underneath. About 30 minutes. My oven is dying so I took them out of the tins after 40 minutes and turned them upside down and browned the bases.
Cover with foil if they are going too dark (like this) they should be golden brown without the dark bits mine have.



Serve with cream or ice cream – warm or cold.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Croissants - A Little Taste of France.


The Daring Bakers go retro this month! Thanks to one of our very talented non-blogging members, Sarah, the Daring Bakers were challenged to make Croissants using a recipe from the Queen of French Cooking, none other than Julia Child!
It’s a long time since I made a croissant. They are well worth the effort and I had grand intentions of doing another batch but yet again life got in the way. I did make one batch and they were delicious.
The croissant is not instant food. It takes a long time but not a huge amount of effort. Most of the time is used in resting the dough.

I used the bits I cut off the edges, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and rolled into the scroll. The twist is 3 layers of the dough with chopped honey glazed macadamias. The long ones are two types - the larger one was spread with nutella and chopped hazelnuts and the other is sprinkled with dukkah. The horn shapes are just the dough. I didn't make those big enough but they were so good. I am going to make them again, soon.

The crumb was just perfect in my humble opinion and they were a hit with the Ktchen Hand and No 2 son.

Preparation time: In total, 12 hours.
Making dough, 10 mins
First rise, 3 hours
Kneading and folding, 5 mins
Second rise, 1.5 hours (or overnight in the fridge)
Rolling in the butter (turns one and two), 15 mins
First rest, 2 hours
Turns three and four, 10 mins
Second rest, 2 hours (or overnight in the fridge)
Forming croissants, 30 mins
Final rise, 1 hour (or longer in the fridge)
Baking, 15 mins
Equipment required:
• Measuring cups
• Measuring spoons
• Mixing bowls of numerous sizes
• Rubber spatula
• Plastic bag
• Pastry scraper
• Counter space or board for rolling and kneading
• Rolling pin
• Plastic wrap
• Baking tray

Croissants
Servings: 12 croissants

Ingredients
¼ oz (7 gm) of fresh yeast, or 1¼ teaspoon (6¼ ml/4 gm) of dry-active yeast (about ½ sachet)
3 tablespoons (45 ml) warm water (less than 100°F/38°C)
1 teaspoon (5 ml/4½ gm) sugar
1 ¾ cups (225 gm/½ lb) of strong plain flour (I used Polish all-purpose flour, which is 13% protein)
2 teaspoons (10 ml/9 gm) sugar
1½ teaspoon (7½ ml/9 gm) salt
½ cup (120 ml/¼ pint) milk
2 tablespoons (30 ml) tasteless oil
½ cup (120 ml/1 stick/115 gm/¼ lb) chilled, unsalted butter
1 egg, for egg wash

Directions:
1. Mix the yeast, warm water, and first teaspoon of sugar in a small bowl. Leave aside for the yeast and sugar to dissolve and the yeast to foam up a little.
2. Measure out the other ingredients
3. Heat the milk until tepid (either in the microwave or a saucepan), and dissolve in the salt and remaining sugar
4. Place the flour in a large bowl.
5. Add the oil, yeast mixture, and milk mixture to the flour
6. Mix all the ingredients together using the rubber spatula, just until all the flour is incorporated
7. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and let it rest a minute while you wash out the bowl
8. Knead the dough eight to ten times only. The best way is as Julia Child does it in the video (see below). It’s a little difficult to explain, but essentially involves smacking the dough on the counter (lots of fun if you are mad at someone) and removing it from the counter using the pastry scraper.
9. Place the dough back in the bowl, and place the bowl in the plastic bag
10. Leave the bowl at approximately 75°F/24°C for three hours, or until the dough has tripled in size.
11. After the dough has tripled in size, remove it gently from the bowl, pulling it away from the sides of the bowl with your fingertips.
12. Place the dough on a lightly floured board or countertop, and use your hands to press it out into a rectangle about 8 by 12 inches (20cm by 30cm).
13. Fold the dough rectangle in three, like a letter (fold the top third down, and then the bottom third up)
14. Place the dough letter back in the bowl, and the bowl back in the plastic bag.
15. Leave the dough to rise for another 1.5 hours, or until it has doubled in size. This second rise can be done overnight in the fridge
16. Place the double-risen dough onto a plate and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place the plate in the fridge while you prepare the butter.
17. Once the dough has doubled, it’s time to incorporate the butter
18. Place the block of chilled butter on a chopping board.
19. Using the rolling pin, beat the butter down a little, till it is quite flat.
20. Use the heel of your hand to continue to spread the butter until it is smooth. You want the butter to stay cool, but spread easily.
21. Remove the dough from the fridge and place it on a lightly floured board or counter. Let it rest for a minute or two.
22. Spread the dough using your hands into a rectangle about 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm).
23. Remove the butter from the board, and place it on the top half of the dough rectangle
24. Spread the butter all across the top two-thirds of the dough rectangle, but keep it ¼ inch (6 mm) across from all the edges.
25. Fold the top third of the dough down, and the bottom third of the dough up.
26. Turn the dough package 90 degrees, so that the top flap is to your right (like a book).
27. Roll out the dough package (gently, so you don’t push the butter out of the dough) until it is again about 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm).
28. Again, fold the top third down and the bottom third up.
29. Wrap the dough package in plastic wrap, and place it in the fridge for 2 hours.
30. After two hours have passed, take the dough out of the fridge and place it again on the lightly floured board or counter.
31. Tap the dough with the rolling pin, to deflate it a little
32. Let the dough rest for 8 to 10 minutes
33. Roll the dough package out till it is 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm).
34. Fold in three, as before
35. Turn 90 degrees, and roll out again to 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm).
36. Fold in three for the last time, wrap in plastic, and return the dough package to the fridge for two more hours (or overnight, with something heavy on top to stop it from rising)
37. It’s now time to cut the dough and shape the croissants
38. First, lightly butter your baking sheet so that it is ready
39. Take the dough out of the fridge and let it rest for ten minutes on the lightly floured board or counter
40. Roll the dough out into a 20 by 5 inch rectangle (51 cm by 12½ cm).
41. Cut the dough into two rectangles (each 10 by 5 inches (25½ cm by 12½ cm))
42. Place one of the rectangles in the fridge, to keep the butter cold
43. Roll the second rectangle out until it is 15 by 5 inches (38 cm by 12½ cm).
44. Cut the rectangle into three squares (each 5 by 5 inches (12½ cm by 12½ cm))
45. Place two of the squares in the fridge
46. The remaining square may have shrunk up a little bit in the meantime. Roll it out again till it is nearly square
47. Cut the square diagonally into two triangles.
48. Stretch the triangle out a little, so it is not a right-angle triangle, but more of an isosceles.
49. Starting at the wide end, roll the triangle up towards the point, and curve into a crescent shape.
50. Place the unbaked croissant on the baking sheet
51. Repeat the process with the remaining squares of dough, creating 12 croissants in total.
52. Leave the tray of croissants, covered lightly with plastic wrap, to rise for 1 hour
53. Preheat the oven to very hot 475°F/240°C/gas mark 9.
54. Mix the egg with a teaspoon of water
55. Spread the egg wash across the tops of the croissants.
56. Put the croissants in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until the tops are browned nicely
57. Take the croissants out of the oven, and place them on a rack to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lazy Sunday Salmon


We've had a lazy Sunday, sort of. O.K. I had planned a lazy Sunday. We started off with the granddaughters for a sleepover. Miss 4 decided at about 7pm last night that she wanted her Mother. After some tears and drama I bribed her with Banana and Blueberry pancakes. It's a simple recipe handed down from both of my grandmothers who, in hindsight, probably didn't like each other as they always called each other Mrs (Insert relevant surname) and while they didn't say anything nasty about each other neither did they have anything good to say.
So breakfast was Banana and Blueberry pancakes with Maple Syrup. I'll give a recipe another time because I didn't take any photos as they disappeared as quick as I made them. Miss 4 told me they weren't real pancakes because I didn't use the shake it up bottle like her mother does???

Then they ran around the back yard like a pair of maniacs while Husband mowed the lawn and I vaccuumed out my car.
After Favorite Son-In-Law picked them up and No 2 Son emerged from his cave (bedroom) we set off to Victor Harbour for lunch with No 1 Son, Favorite Daughter-In-Law and No 1 Grandson.
After a very nice lunch at The Beach House Cafe at Victor Harbour and some quality time with No 1 Grandson oh and his parents we wandered home via the hardware shop and the drive through car wash.

None of us was in the mood for a heavy meal, as I forsaw, so we had the Fresh Salmon I bought yesterday from our local fish shop aptly or ironically (depending on your sense of humour) "The Octupuses Garden".

Fresh Tasmanian Salmon with Warm vegetable and herb salad.

This is one of the simpler meals in my repertoire. Its simplicity is part of its brillance.
So technique - I take whatever vegetables there are in the refrigerator in this case
2 Carrots peeled and sliced
1/2 a red capsicum
1 cup cauliflower florets cut into bits about as big as the capsicum
1 cup broccoli same size bits as the cauliflower
1 zuchinni cut into bits the same size as the carrot
1 cup snow peas broken into 1/3s
1/2 bunch basil leaves stripped and cut into shreds
1 bunch of coriander (cilantro) roots finely chopped and the stems and leaves cut into bits
1 bunch garlic chives cut into 2 cm bits
1 Cup shredded chinese cabbage
1/2 bunch chopped spring onions
Juice of 1 Lemon

I throw the carrot and coriander roots into hot olive oil. At the same time I light the flame under another pan with the oil for the salmon.
I put the capsicum, cauliflower and broccoli into the wok at the same time as I put the salmon into the frying pan. I use a pair of tongs to toss the vegetables. then I put a lid on it so they sort of steam a bit to soften them.
Just before I turn over the salmon I throw the rest of the vegetables and the lemon juice into the wok with 1/2 cup of water and put the lid back on it.
By the time the salmon is cooked the vegetables are ready.
Hot and just cooked as a salad should be. The lemon juice and oil make a great dressing you could drizzle over a bit more olive oil if you wanted too. But I don't, I think it is great the way it is.
Just the right meal to finish off a Not quite as lazy as I wanted Sunday.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Geeks and Nerds Love Banana Caramel Self Saucing Pudding


Our youngest son is fondly referred to on my other blog as "The Computer Nerd" I am not sure if he is a nerd or a geek so I had to do some research.
The Jargon File said 'Originally, a geek was a carnival performer who bit the heads off chickens. (In early 20th-century Scotland a ‘geek’ was an immature coley, a type of fish.) Before about 1990 usage of this term was rather negative. Earlier versions of this lexicon defined a computer geek as one who eats (computer) bugs for a living — an asocial, pasty-faced monomaniac with all the personality of a cheese grater. This is often still the way geeks are regarded by non-geeks, but as the mainstream culture becomes more dependent on technology and technical skill mainstream attitudes have tended to shift towards grudging respect. Correspondingly, there are now ‘geek pride’ festivals (the implied reference to ‘gay pride’ is not accidental).'
I promise I've never had cause to think No 2 son would bite the head off a chicken. One of the main reasons being he can't stand the sight of blood, another reason I doubt he could run fast enough to catch a chicken and thirdly he would think that unacceptably cruel.
So for the meaning without the chickens - A person regarded as foolish, inept, or clumsy or a person who is single-minded or accomplished in scientific or technical pursuits but is felt to be socially inept.

As for the word nerd - There are those who credit Dr. Seuss and his book 'If I Ran the Zoo: "And then, just to show them, I'll sail to Ka-Troo And Bring Back an It-Kutch, a Pree,p and a Proo, A Nerkle, a Nerd, and a Seersucker, too!" as the true originator of nerd. Legend has it that the word nerd spread to teenagers who applied the meaning to those downtrodden members of their peers the "square."
They are also regarded as socially inept, single-minded and accomplished in scientific endeavours. The main distinction seems to be that nerds have low levels of personal hygiene and geeks wash. So No 2 son is officially a Geek and will be here after referred to as No. 2 Son. Much easier than keeping up with the jargon.

Why has the subject of No 2 son been raised? Well I am glad you asked. No 2 son has returned to our empty nest, lots of reasons and we are happy to have him home. Unfortuanately he has lots of allergies so I am having a good hard look at what I cook.
All our kids were here for dinner this week and I cooked Roast Lamb and veggies. For dessert we had Banana Caramel Self Saucing Pudding and cream. This is an eggless dessert. I started with No 2 son's recipe and expanded on it. Here it is, you could also substitute gluten free flour and a milk alternative with good results.

Egg Less Banana Caramel Self Saucing pudding.

3 Mashed Bananas
1/2 cup full cream milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup Self Raising flour

3/4 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 cups boiling water

Grease an 8 cup baking dish.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius
Mix the banana, milk and vanilla, add the sugar and cinnamon
Then add the sifted flour. Mix together until smooth.
Pour into the greased baking dish.
Sprinkle over the brown sugar then carefully pour over the boiling water.
Place into hot oven on a tray and cook until skewer comes out clean, about 45 - 60 minutes depending on your oven.
Best served warm with cream and ice cream.
The nerds and geeks will love it.

Friday, September 16, 2011

THE DARING COOKS’ SEPTEMBER, 2011 CHALLENGE: STOCK TO SOUP TO CONSOMMÉ

I am a happy camper, I hosted the current Daring Cooks Challenge on The Daring Kitchen usually you would have to be a member to get the full recipe but I am so happy to have people visit my blog that I will give some of it. If you join the Daring Kitchen then you get the whole thing as a downloadable PDF, including all the photos. I have given you some of it here but there is lots more so go join the Daring Kitchen.
I love the Daring Kitchen, I haven't completed all the challenges this year but I am changing my life and I will get to them from now on. So in the meantime here's my soup article.
I have to say thank you to everybody who participated I was going to pick my favorites but I just can't settle on a few. I love you all.

I made lots of stock over the last month which is no hardship, I made Vegetarian French Onion soup with herb and garlic brioche,
Then I turned it into consomme

I also made Fish consomme with fish and coriander wontons,

I based this on the Golden chicken broth with coriander wontons from the PDF of the full recipe.

below is an extract from the whole pdf.

G‟Day – (a stereotypical Australian greeting I don‟t think I have personally ever used but I am Australian nonetheless) – my name is Peta of Peta Eats, I care about food, passionately, obsessively nearly hysterically at times (and don't get me started about margarine). I am pleased to bring you our latest challenge.
A long time ago in a far away (from most of you) place I jumped into Adult Education. I had always wanted to be a chef but this was not to be. I had worked for many years as a cook. Not the same thing at all. A chef is professionally trained. A cook hasn‟t been formally trained.
When the opportunity came to apply I did and was accepted for a six month full time Commercial Cookery Certificate. This course was designed to give experienced cooks the chance to study and then eventually gain their trade papers. We spent the first week cutting vegetables and the second week making stocks, soups, consommés and sauces. Two basic yet vital skills for any chef or cook to have.

When I volunteered to host this month's challenge I looked back through all the challenges and wanted to do something different. No one else had done soup so „ah ha‟ thought I and put it to Lisa how about soup. Lisa approved and here I am.
Along with your soup I challenge you to make your favourite accompaniment. Your favourite cracker, bread, dumpling etc.
Lisa and I think it would be great to see soups (savoury or sweet) from around the world. We all benefit so much from the wonderful international group that is the Daring Kitchen and a repertoire of tried-and-true soups from different food cuisines around the world would be amazing.
The first thing I want to do is thank Audax of Audax Artifex for his help, he is my hero. I asked Audax to edit and try the recipes. As always he came through and helped me with so much including lots of fascinating web links.
As this is a Daring Cooks' challenge I want to take it a step further and invite you all to make your soup into a consommé. This is not mandatory though so do as much as you are comfortable with.
The Escoffier Cook Book tells us that traditionally a consommé is a type of clear soup made from richly flavoured stock or bouillon that has been clarified usually through a fining process involving egg protein. It usually requires an advanced knowledge of cooking and past experience to create a high quality consommé. Consommé has maintained its place as one of the most highly regarded and appreciated soups in the world.
I do agree with the sentence “Consommé has maintained its place as one of the most highly regarded and appreciated soups in the world.” I poke my tongue out and make a childish noise at the sentence “It usually requires an advanced knowledge of cooking and past experience to create a high quality consommé”. Consommé takes time, patience, good ingredients and knowledge. The trick to making a high quality consommé is to follow the instructions. I believe we can do it.
A consommé is usually (and traditionally) made by adding egg whites with ground meats or fish (no bones) and/or vegetables for flavour to a base of good quality stock. These solids form a floating mass called a 'raft', which is caused by the protein in the egg whites adhering to each other forming a fine matrix with many small cavities. The consommé is then gently simmering for 45 minutes to over an hour which percolates the liquid through the raft which captures and filters out the impurities of the liquid leaving a clear flavoursome consommé.
Remember, this is not trade school. You will not be graded and nobody who tries fails. Even if you try the consommé and the end result is cloudy (it is the reincorporation of the "impurities" into the stock that makes it cloudy) the taste of the resulting soup will convince you that the result is worth the effort.
If the thought of the egg white raft freaks you out there is an alternative, freeze filtering (or gelatine filtering or agar-agar filtering). By using the freeze filtering method you can make any liquid into a consommé. Everything from a roast dinner to wine, fruit purées to cream soups even soup and bread. Anything really that can be puréed to a liquid, thickened (using gelatine or agar-agar) and frozen can be clarified using this method. Some cookery professionals say that the freeze method produces an
essence and not a consommé and they may well be right but the general eating public doesn‟t know what an essence is but most people know what a consommé is.
This consommé
was made by Audax when he proof read and tested the recipes for me. The photo to the right is the Golden Chicken Broth turned into consommé using the gelatine filtration method.
To quote Audax “The two glasses are the BEFORE and AFTER photos. The soup is in the left glass and the consommé is the other glass. The consommé was made using the gelatine method, it was almost clear! It was so strange to see the clear liquid and to know it was golden chicken consommé yet taste a full bodied broth with thick mouth feel and it was CHICKEN flavoured also.”
Recipe Source: I am giving you some of my own recipes
No 1: Vegetarian French Onion Soup or Consommé
No 2: French Onion Soup or Consommé
No 3: Herb Brioche (I use this for the bread for the croutons when I make French Onion Soup)
No 4: Golden Chicken Broth or Consommé
Olive Oil crackers from 101 Cookbooks
I am also providing a link for Chicken and Prawn Consommé
And Chilled Tomato Consommé
My recipes are based on knowledge garnered from my own experience, the internet and the large number of cookbooks I have collected in particular
Escoffier, A (1941). The Escoffier Cook Book. New York, NY, USA: Crown Publishers.Fannie Merritt Farmer (1896). The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. Boston, MA, USA: Little, Brown and Company.Beck, Simone; Louisette Bertholle; Julia Child (1961). Mastering the Art of French Cooking. New York, NY, USA: Alfred A. Knopf.
H.L Cracknell and R.J Kaufmann ((1972) Practical Professional Cookery. London. United Kingdom: The MacMillan Press

Peta, of the blog Peta Eats, was our lovely hostess for the Daring Cook‟s September 2011 challenge, “Stock to Soup to Consommé”. We were taught the
meaning between the three dishes, how to make a crystal clear Consommé if we
so chose to do so, and encouraged to share our own delicious soup recipes!

Mandatory Items: You must make a stock and turn it into a soup (savoury or sweet). You must also make an accompaniment for your soup.
Optional: Turn your stock into consommé. If the thought of the clarifying stage is too much for you don‟t worry about it but I do encourage you to have a go.

Variations allowed: If you don‟t want to use one of my recipes or links that is fine. Please make your favourite (savoury or sweet) soup and accompaniment and (if you want to) turn the soup into a consommé. Please don‟t forget to share your recipe! :)
Preparation time:
Stock Preperation:
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 3 hours to 10 hours depending on the type of stock and amount made.
Consommé:
Preparation time: 30minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Setting time: Until solid.
Freezing time: at least over night
Brioche :
Preparation Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Crackers:
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Resting time: 60 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Equipment required:
Stock/soup/consommé
Large, flat-bottomed pan or pot with lid. I use my large pasta pot.
Food processor or a V-slicer or mandolin (not necessary, but handy)
Knife
Cutting board
Whisk
Bowls
Sieve
Clean tea towels or muslin that have been well rinsed in hot water.
Bread and/or Crackers
Knife
Cutting board
Whisk
Bowls
Loaf tin or baking tray

Notes:
August Escoffier said that “The sign of a great Chef is a great stock”.
Let me assure you that you cannot have a great consommé without a great stock. I recommend that those who haven‟t made their own stock before start with beef, chicken or vegetable. Seafood stocks have hazards of their own and aren‟t as forgiving, more on that later. I haven‟t given a recipe for a fruit stock but it can be done.
Let‟s start with some terminology.
Agar-Agar it is essential that you add it to already warmed ingredients. Agar-agar starts to set as soon as it hits cool liquid.
Bloom – to bloom gelatine (or agar agar) – blooming gelatine is an integral step ensuring the smooth texture of the finished product. It involves sprinkling the powdered gelatine onto a liquid and letting it sit for 3 to 5 minutes. Then, when the mixture is heated, the gelatine will dissolve evenly without lumps.
Bouillon is French for Broth. In French the verb bouillir means to boil.
Bouquet Garni (or bundle of herbs) consists of parsley, bay leaves, a sprig of thyme, and whole peppercorns, wrapped in one of the outside layers of a leek, a large teaball looking device you can buy in a Chinese grocer or in a little cheesecloth bag tied with string (called a "sachet d'epice"). You can just throw it all in the pot separately but if you do this you cannot take out the bouquet garni part way through the cooking process if the flavours get too strong. You will be straining and then clarifying the end result.
Broth is a basic soup made from stock where the solid pieces of flavouring meat or fish, along with some vegetables, remain. It is often made more substantial by adding starches such as rice, barley or pulses.
Consommé is a type of clear soup made from richly flavoured stock or bouillon that has been clarified traditionally through a fining process usually involving egg white protein forming a 'raft' which filters the impurities from the stock. Also consommé (technically an essence) can be made using the newly discovered (2004) freeze (gelatine) filtration method. Using this technique you can obtain a clear liquid from any puréed liquid. Fruit, stock, vegetables, bread, cookies even coffee since the matrix formed using this method traps all particulate matter (impurities) giving a clear liquid.
Fond is French for stock. Stock is produced by simmering raw ingredients in water or a mixture of wine and water, after which the solids are removed, leaving a thin, highly-flavoured liquid. Classic stocks are made from beef, veal, chicken, fish and vegetables.
Gelatine- Gelatine strength varies between brands and types i.e. leaves to powdered. Using gelatine leaves in gelatine filtering is a waste of an expensive item. Please read the directions on your chosen setting agent packet and use sufficient for a hard set of your amount of liquid.
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Glaces – Glazes Are prepared by reducing a finished strained stock to a thick (think cream) consistency. This needs to be done slowly at a simmer and skimmed as required. As the amount reduces it needs to be transferred to smaller and smaller pots. Five litres of stock can be reduced to as little as a quarter of a litre (250 millilitres). The glaze can be heated and a small amount of butter can be whisked in for a lovely sauce.
Ice - The ice slows the liquid reheating and allows the raft to form into a more cohesive mass. I don‟t know if it is vital but that was the way I was taught at trade school and the chefs there thought it was important. I have done it with ice and without. While learning it was better with the ice.
Jus - is a rich, lightly reduced stock used as a sauce for roasted meats. Many of these are started by deglazing the roasting pan, then reducing to achieve the rich flavour desired.
Mirepoix - is a combination of chopped onions or leeks, carrots and celery in the ratio 2:1:1 by weight, it adds a lovely fresh note to soups. A white mirepoix is onions or leeks and celery. Some recipes use the peels, stalks, etc. of the mirepiox vegetables these must be of excellent quality or the result will be affected. If you add other vegetables to your mirepoix this changes it from a mirepoix to a bowl of finely chopped vegetables. To make 500 grams (1 pound) of mirepoix use 2 medium onions, 2 medium carrots and 2 large (12 inch/30 cm) celery ribs. To make 500 grams (1 pound) of white mirepoix use 4 medium onions and 4 large celery ribs.
Mirepoix has an 'evil' twin it is an aggressive flavour base for soups and consommés it is called Pinçage (pen-sazsh) and it is all about darkness – you slowly cook mirepoix (with the addition of tomato paste (just enough to coat the vegetables) for more sweetness, balancing tartness, and oomph) to concentrate, soften and caramelise the sugars for an incredibly complex brown flavour.
Raft - a mixture consisting of finely chopped vegetables and minced (ground) meat with egg whites whisked vigorously into simmering broth and cooked over a low heat so that the proteins coagulate and form a 'raft' on the surface that traps the impurities (but not the flavour) of the broth thereby clarifying it.
Remouillage - is French for rewetting, which refers to a stock made by re-simmering bones that have been used to make stock once already. Restaurants who make their own stock often start off the new stock with a remouillage.
Soup is a food that is made by combining and cooking ingredients such as meat and vegetables with stock, juice, water or another liquid.
Sweat to cook (chopped vegetables etc) covered over medium heat until soft but not coloured. This process intensifies the flavours.
Vegetables As we discussed earlier good ingredients make good stock. The fresher and tastier the vegetable, the better the stock. Unless you particularly want a strong flavour in your stock strong tasting vegetables such as fennel can change the flavour of a stock in an unwanted way. Use of starchy vegetables will ruin your stock, potatoes, pumpkin, etc have no place in a clear stock.
Unless you are going to use the gelatine filtration method.

Types of Stock
Fond Brun or Estouffade, or brown stock. The brown colour is achieved by roasting bones and mirepoix. This adds to the flavour. Tomato is added to help break down the connective tissue so the stock will set and to add flavour. Any type of bone can be used or a combination e.g beef and chicken.
Fond Blanc, or white stock, is made by using raw bones. The bones are not roasted, chicken bones are the most common for fond blanc. For an even clearer soup no carrot is used.
Fumet - Fish/seafood stock is made with fish bones or the shell sucks of prawn or lobster and finely chopped mirepoix. Fish stock should be cooked for 30 – 40 minutes at the most or it gets bitter. This is caused by the bones overcooking. August Escoffier uses pounded caviar in one of his fish consommés. Concentrated fish stock is called "fish fumet."
Vegetable stock is made only of vegetables.
Master stock is a special Chinese stock used primarily for poaching meats, flavoured with soy sauce, sugar, ginger, garlic, and other aromatics. It would make an interesting addition for a consommé though.

Preparing stock
For best results there are rules.
Start your stock in cold water. Hot water seals everything in including the flavour. Even if you have fried/roasted the bones for flavour use cold water. After adding the cold water it is vital that you do not put the lid back on the pot – this can cause cloudiness.
Stock should be simmered over a low heat, very gently. The bubbles should just break the surface. If it is boiled, it might became cloudy.
 After you add the cold water DO NOT STIR IT. You will need to keep the bones etc covered. After the stock has started to simmer if you need to add water use hot (not boiling) water.
Your stock is only going to be a good as your ingredients. A good stock is made from carefully selected meats and vegetables not from the kitchen scraps and rubbish. Fresh meat and bones make better stock. You can use leftover carcasses from your roast chicken if you want to. The stock will be better if you keep the fat to a minimum. You will need a ratio of at least 1 part meat and bones to 2 parts water (by volume). You can increase that ratio to 1:1 if you want. The flavour of the stock comes from the cartilage and connective tissue in the bones. Connective tissue has collagen in it, which gets converted into gelatine that thickens the liquid.
Stock made from bones needs to be simmered for longer than stock made from meat. If you are tempted to get those big beef leg bones with marrow don‟t bother. The marrow in them is a type of fat which will make your stock cloudy. Bones from young animals contain a higher percentage of connective tissues than older ones. This type of connective tissue is what makes a rich, full bodied stock that will gel beautifully if you want a cold stock.
Chop the bones (or get the butcher to do it) into small pieces. Wash the bones.
Remove as much fat and marrow as you can. Fat will make your stock cloudy and make it a lot harder to clarify the stock. If you are not cooking the bones in the oven first blanch them in boiling water for 3 minutes. Strain and proceed.
The meat or bones (cooked in the oven, raw or blanched), vegetables and flavourings go in with the cold water. After it has gently reached boiling point reduce the heat to a low simmer and skim off as much fat and scum as you can. The fat, scum and foam contributes to the cloudiness and may make the stock bitter. If more water is required during the cooking process use hot (not boiling) water.
For a base stock fry your vegetables in organic rice bran, grapeseed or sunflower oil. I prefer the rice bran oil since it has a higher smoking point and little to no flavour. However if you are using the freeze method use cold pressed olive oil or butter if you are not confident in your skimming abilities.
Don‟t add any salt. As the stock reduces it will become too salty. Season the dish not the stock.
The herbs and spices you use will flavour the finished product. If I want a good base stock just use a bouquet garni and add any other flavours later.
Cool the stock as quickly as you can. I put the whole pot in a laundry tub and run cold water around it.
The type of meat and bones is optional. A mixture of different types of bone can be used or just one type i.e. all chicken or beef or a mixture. For the seafood stock a mixture of bones and prawn or lobster shells can be used depending on the result required.
When cooking your stock it is best if it is cooked for the recommended time. Over-cooking can result in a deterioration of flavour and under-cooking does not allow time for the flavours to develop fully.

Below you will find amounts for 5 litres (5 quarts) of water the amounts of ingredients are a guide. Ideally you want your pot to be one third to half full of bones and then add your vegetables and other flavourings and then add your cold water. The ingredients are a recommendation only.
Fonds Type
Ingredients – Recommendation only.
Blanc – white
Cooking time
4-9 hours
2kg (4½ lb) meaty beef, veal and chicken bones
250gm (½ lb) stewing beef
½ boiling chicken or 1 Maryland or 4 chicken wings
500gm (1 lb) mirepoix - 2 med onions, 2 med carrots, 2 large celery ribs
bouquet garni – ½ bayleaf, 2 stalks parsley, sprig of thyme, 4 peppercorns
White Chicken
Cooking time
3 – 4 hours
2kg (4½ lb) chicken and/or veal bones
500gm (1 lb) boiling chicken or wings
500gm (1 lb) white mirepoix – 4 med onions, 4 large celery ribs, finely chopped
bouquet garni
Brun – Brown
Cooking time
4 – 9 hours
2kg (4½ kg) meaty beef and/or veal bones
250gm (½ lb) stewing beef or chicken wings
500gm (1 lb) mirepoix – 2 med onions, 2 med carrots, 2 large celery ribs
bouquet garni
1 clove garlic
1 or 2 cloves
2 tablespoons oil or butter (If necessary)
Brown Chicken Cooking time
3 - 4 hours
1kg (2 lb) chicken and/or veal bones
1 boiling chicken or 2 kgs (4½ lb) chicken wings
500gm (1 lb) mirepoix – 2 med onions, 2 med carrots, 2 large celery ribs
bouquet garni
oil or butter
De Legumes
Vegetable stock
Cooking time
40 minutes - 1 hour
400 gm (14 oz) onions, about 3 medium
400 gm (14 oz) carrots, about 6 medium
200 gm (7 oz) celery, about 4 large ribs
2 leeks
50 gm (1¾ oz) dried mushrooms, about 12
250 gm (9 oz) tomatoes, about 2 medium
200 gm (7 oz) broccoli stalk, 2 large stalks
bouquet garni
De Poisson (Fish or seafood)
Cooking time
20 - 30 mins
5 litres (5 quarts) water
75 grams (5½ tablespoons) (2 ⅔ oz) butter
250 grams (9 oz) onions
1 bayleaf, peppercorns to taste, parsley stalks
juice of 1 lemon
3 kilograms (6½ lb) white fish bones and heads
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Now on to the type of filtration you want to use for your consommé.

First there is the traditional method using egg white

Protein Raft Filtration
To get most of the fat out of a stock, you can simply chill it. The fat will harden and float on top of the stock where it can be scooped off easily. A fat separator, which looks like a big measuring cup with a spout at the bottom, allows you to pour the stock out while trapping the fat. Or you can carefully drag a piece of really top quality paper towel over the top of the stock.
To completely clarify stock, use the following method:
Prepare your extra meat, vegetables and flavourings as per the recipe. The meat can be raw or cooked.
Never use bones or shells to enrich your consommé.
Beat egg whites until they are frothy, one for each litre/quart/4cups of stock. Combine with your flavourings.
A pot that is higher than it is round improves your results, because the consommé percolates through the raft in a more efficient way.
Stir the mixture into the hot stock and bring it back to a simmer, do not let it boil. The egg-whites will coagulate, rise, and take any particles and cloudiness out of the stock.
Keep a close eye on the consommé (push the coagulated egg whites to the side a bit to see) let it simmer 10 to 45 minutes.
The raft is a delicate thing. It is vital it doesn‟t break apart (if it breaks apart it will all mix back into the soup and you‟ll have to strain it and start again with just the egg whites.). You want to bring the liquid up to a simmer very slowly. Keep a close eye on it. Once the raft is substantial, break a little hole in it if there isn‟t already one.
As the consommé simmers, you will see bubbles and foam come up through your hole. Skim it off and discard. When the bubbles stop coming and the consommé looks clear underneath, then you‟re ready to take it out.
Removing the consommé from underneath the raft is another nerve racking procedure. You want to break as little of the raft as possible, but you have to get underneath it to remove the liquid.
Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for another ten minutes.
Enlarge your hole with a ladle and spoon it all out as gently as you can. Once you‟ve removed all of the consommé from the pot discard the raft (you cannot use for another purpose). You could try siphoning it out. Some chef‟s say this is possible but they are using great big pots or steam kettles. I haven‟t tried this so good luck and let me know if you do it and it works.I filter the finished consommé again through a coffee filter.

Freeze Filtration or Gelatin Filtration
Many Chefs are using a technique called Freeze filtration or Gelatine filtration. It is also used in wine making.
For our purposes you take stock, strain it, add 0.007% dissolved gelatine (that is 7 grams (¼ oz) (1 tablespoon) (1 envelope) of gelatine for each litre (quart) of stock unless you are in Australia then you‟ll need double the amount) or use the recommended amount of agar agar or another vegan setting agent (not guar gum).
You can also thicken the stock with cornflour or tapioca flour. Use the same amount you would to make a pouring cream consistency.
Freeze it in a tray so the layer is not too thick. You are going to chop it up.
Next line a colander or sieve with at least one layer preferably 2 or 3 pieces of muslin or for a small amount you can use coffee filters.
Chop the frozen stock into chunks, put it into the sieve and put in the fridge over a bowl and let it defrost. It is vital that the stock thaws in the refrigerator, this cannot be hurried. The gelatine and fats need to stay solid and thawing at room temperature could melt the gelatine depending of course on where you live.
The resulting strained liquid should be clear you then heat it and serve.
Below is vegetable stock before setting and freezing and after.
If you have ever frozen a jelly or a sauce you have thickened with tapioca or cornflour you will know what happens. The thawed product separates into lumps and liquid. The freezing forms ice crystals. This is the liquid expanding in volume. The ice crystals tear through the bonds made by the thickening agent, breaking through the thickening matrix. If the soup is put into the freezer before it sets solid it will not separate properly when you thaw it. As the stock slowly thaws the muslin catches the gelatine net and it filters out the sediments, solids and impurities leaving the clear liquid to filter through. This has to be done in the refrigerator as the gelatine and any fats need to stay solid so they will be captured by the muslin. The process cannot be hurried.
You can use most vegetarian substitutes but not guar gum. Guar gum doesn‟t de-stabilise on freezing like the gelatine and other thickening agents do.

Vegetarian French Onion Soup/Consommé
(For a vegan option do not use the egg white technique use the freezing method).
Servings: 6
Ingredients:
Step 1 - Stock
5 litres (5 quarts) water
400 gm (14 oz) onions, about 4 medium
400 gm (14 oz) carrots, about 6 medium
200 gm (7 oz) celery, about 4 large ribs
2 leeks
50 gm (1¾ oz) dried mushrooms, about 12
250 gm (9 oz) tomatoes, about 2 medium
200 gm (7 oz) broccoli stalk, two large stalks
bouquet garni
Step 2 – enriching your stock to a bouillon
80 gm (5½ tablespoons) (3 oz) butter
1 kg (2 lbs) brown onions, sliced in rings
20gm (1½ tablespoons) (¾ oz) brown sugar
60 ml (4 tablespoons) cognac or port
200 ml (¾ cup + 1 tablespoon) red or white wine
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 fresh bay leaves
30 gm (2 tablespoons) (1 oz) Dijon mustard
2 litres (2 quarts) mushroom/vegetable stock
Step 3 – Consommé (Using the egg white raft technique)
1 clove garlic - finely minced
500 gm (1 lb) dark coloured field mushrooms
2 large egg whites – beaten
1 cup crushed ice
Step 3 – Consommé (Using the freezing technique)
1 clove garlic - finely minced
500 gm (1 lb) dark coloured field mushrooms
Sufficient setting agent or tapioca or cornflour to set or thicken 2 litres/2 quarts of stock
To Serve
 6 slices of brioche, sourdough or French baguettes
 1 cup grated gruyere cheese
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Directions:
Step 1 – Stock
1. Sweat the vegetables in the oil or butter until soft. Add the dried mushrooms
2. Cover with cold water.
3. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat.
4. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer uncovered, skimming foam from surface, for 1-2 hours.
5. Strain stock through a muslin-lined sieve. Discard solids.
Step 2 – Soup
1. Melt butter in a large saucepan and add the onions.
2. Add sugar and a little salt to help the caramelisation process.
3. Cook over medium to low heat until the onions caramelise to dark brown. Stir regularly. This can take hours so don‟t be tempted to increase the heat to speed it up.
4. Deglaze the pan with cognac, port and wine and then pop in a couple of sprigs of thyme, bay leaves and the mustard and cook together.
5. Pour in the stock and reheat.
6. To make this soup into a consommé proceed to Step 3.
7. For the soup - taste it and adjust the seasonings. (For Australians you can add ½ to 1 teaspoon of vegemite or marmite at this point if you want a little more flavour kick.)
8. It is now time to either strain out the solid bits or blend the whole lot or if you like chunky bits don‟t bother. Ladle into hot bowls.
9. Top a thick slice of bread that will fit into the bowl with grated tasty or gruyere cheese, a pinch of pepper and chopped thyme and grill the top until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden. Put these on top of your hot bowl of soup.
Step 3 – Consommé (clarified with egg whites)
1. Fry the mushrooms until brown and cooked. Allow any juices to cook off.
2. Add garlic and cook gently for 1 minute. You don‟t want any burnt bits it will make your stock bitter.
3. Strain off any fat or remaining juices.
4. Allow the mushrooms to cool. (This is so your egg whites don‟t cook).
5. Strain the soup to remove onions etc.
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6. Place egg whites in a bowl. This is the time to taste your stock and decide if it needs salt and pepper. Add seasoning to the egg whites.
7. Whisk the whites to a bubbly froth and add the crushed ice.
8. Add the cooked mushrooms. Mix together.
9. Add this mixture to the simmering stock. Whisk for a slow count of three.
10. Let it heat slowly back to a simmer. Don‟t stir it again.
11. The raft is a delicate thing. It is vital it doesn‟t break apart (if it breaks apart it will all mix back into the soup and you‟ll have to start again with the egg whites), you want to bring it up to a simmer very slowly. Keep a close eye on it. I try to push the middle back so I get a good hole. Once the raft is substantial, break a little hole in it if there isn‟t already one.
12. As the consommé simmers, you will see bubbles and foam, come up through your hole. Skim it off and throw it away. When the bubbles stop coming and the consommé looks clear underneath, then you‟re ready to take it out. Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for ten minutes.
13. Removing the consommé from underneath the raft is another nerve racking procedure. You want to break as little of the raft as possible, but you have to get underneath it to remove the liquid.
14. Enlarge your hole with a ladle and spoon it all out as gently as you can.
15. You can strain it if you want too but hopefully the liquid is clear. Once you‟ve removed all of the consommé from the pot discard the raft. If you have never made a consommé before Victory dances and loud cheering are totally appropriate.
16. Now you are ready to serve. You can add a crouton as you would for the soup but I would put the crouton on the side so as not to interfere with the beauty of a bowl of crystal clear consommé.
Step 3 – Consommé (Using the gelatine technique)
1. If you think your soup is not as flavourful as you would like go to the next step. If you like the flavours skip adding the extra mushrooms.
2. Fry the mushrooms until brown and cooked. Allow any juices to cook off.
3. Add garlic and cook gently for 1 minute. You don‟t want any burnt bits it will make your stock bitter.
4. Strain off any fat.
5. Deglaze the fry pan with a little of the stock and add the mushrooms to the soup.
6. Simmer gently for 30 minutes, taste and adjust the seasonings. This is your last chance to do this.
7. Take the pot off the heat and carefully ladle out the stock. Strain through a sieve lined with muslin or a coffee filter.
8. Measure the stock, you need 8 cups/2 litres in total. The rest can be frozen for other uses.

9. Take 1 cup/240 ml of that liquid and sprinkle the setting agent on top and allow it to bloom.
10. While the stock is still hot stir through the setting agent and make sure it dissolves. You may need to heat it slightly – don‟t let it boil. If you are using corn or tapioca flour mix the flour with enough water to form a smooth paste and stir it into the hot stock. Return to the heat and bring to a boil, gently simmer until it is the consistency of cream.
11. Quick cool the stock by placing the whole pot into your sink and running cold water around it.
12. Pour it into container and place in the refrigerator.
13. Allow the soup to set fully (this is really important) then place it into the freezer to freeze solid. If the soup is put into the freezer before it sets solid it will not separate properly when you thaw it.
14. Chop the frozen jelly into chunks and put them into a lined sieve in the refrigerator.
Allow to thaw in the refrigerator. This cannot be rushed. It has to happen in the refrigerator so the gelatine and any fat solids don‟t melt and run through your filter cloth.
15. You should have a crystal clear liquid. Congratulations you have made a consommé. If you have never made a consommé before victory dances and loud cheering are totally appropriate.
16. Your consommé is now ready to serve. Reheat and serve. With the crouton on the side.

Beef French Onion Soup/ Consommé
(Equal amounts of chicken can be substituted for the beef)
Serves 6
Ingredients:
Step 1 – Stock
5 litres (5 quarts) water
2 kg (4½ lb) meaty beef and/or veal bones (browned in the oven or in a pan)
500 gm (½ lb) diced stewing beef or chicken wings (browned in the oven or in a pan)
500 gm (½ lb) mirepoix – 2 medium onions, 2 medium carrots, 2 large celery ribs, finely chopped
1 bouquet garni
1 clove garlic
1 or 2 cloves
1 or 2 tablespoons oil or butter
Step 2 – Enriching your stock to a bouillon
80 gm (5½ tablespoons) (3 oz) butter
1 kg (2 lb) brown onions, sliced in rings
20gm (1½ tablespoons) (¾ oz) brown sugar
60 ml (4 tablespoons) cognac or port
200 ml (¾ cup + 1 tablespoon) red or white wine
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 fresh bay leaves
30 gm (2 tablespoons) (1 oz) Dijon mustard
2 litres (2 quarts) brown beef stock
Step 3 – Consommé (Using the egg white raft technique)
1 clove garlic - finely minced
250 gm (½ lb) best quality beef mince (ground beef)
2 large egg whites - beaten
1 cup crushed ice
Step 3 – Consommé (Using the gelatine technique)
1 clove garlic - finely minced
250 gm (½ lb) best quality beef mince (ground beef)
14 gm (2 tablespoons) (½ oz) (28 grams if you are in Australia) gelatine
To Serve
6 slices of brioche, sourdough or French baguettes
1 cup grated gruyere cheese

Directions:
Step 1 – Stock
1. Cook your bones and meat until brown.
2. Sweat the vegetables in the oil or butter until soft.
3. Put ingredients in a stockpot and cover with cold water.
4. Bring to a simmer on medium-high heat.
5. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer uncovered, skimming foam from the surface, for 4 - 8 hours or until meat falls from bone.
6. Strain stock through a muslin-lined sieve.
7. Discard solids. (I don‟t throw the solids away, as I am frugal. There is still a lot of flavour in the vegetables and bones. I pick the bones out and make a curry, thick soup or stew out of the leftovers.)

Step 2 – Soup
1. Melt butter in a large saucepan and add the onions.
2. Add sugar and a little salt to help the caramelisation process.
3. Cook over medium to low heat until the onions caramelise to dark brown. Stir regularly. This can take hours so don‟t be tempted to increase the heat to speed it up.
4. Deglaze the pan with cognac, port and wine and then pop in a couple of sprigs of thyme, bay leaves and the mustard and cook together.
5. Pour in the stock and reheat.
6. To make this soup into a consommé proceed to Step 3.
7. For the soup - taste it and adjust the seasonings. ( you can add ½ to 1 teaspoon of vegemite or marmite at this point if you want a little more flavour kick.)
8. It is now time to either strain out the solid bits or blend the whole lot or if you like chunky bits don‟t bother. Ladle into hot bowls.
9. Top a thick slice of bread that will fit into the bowl with grated tasty or gruyere cheese, a pinch of pepper and chopped thyme and grill the top until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden. Put these on top of your hot bowl of soup.
Step 3 – Consommé (clarified with egg whites)
1. Fry the mince until brown and cooked. Allow any juices to cook off.
2. Add garlic and cook gently for 1 minute. You don‟t want any burnt bits it will make your stock bitter.
3. Strain off any fat or remaining juices.
4. Allow the meat to cool. (This is so your egg whites don‟t cook).
5. Strain the soup to remove onions etc.
6. Place egg whites in a bowl. This is the time to taste your stock and decide if it needs salt and pepper. Add seasoning to the egg whites.
7. Whisk the whites to a bubbly froth and add the crushed ice.
8. Add the meat. Mix together.
9. Add this mixture to the simmering stock. Whisk for a slow count of three.
10. Let it heat slowly back to a simmer. Don‟t stir it again.
11. The raft is a delicate thing. It is vital it doesn‟t break apart (if it breaks apart it will all mix back into the soup and you‟ll have to start again with the egg whites.), you want to bring it up to a simmer very slowly. Keep a close eye on it. I try to push the middle back so I get a good hole. Once the raft is substantial, break a little hole in it if there isn‟t already one.
12. As the consommé simmers, you will see bubbles and foam, come up through your hole. Skim it off and throw it away. When the bubbles stop coming and the consommé looks clear underneath, then you‟re ready to take it out. Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for ten minutes.
13. Removing the consommé from underneath the raft is another nerve racking procedure. You want to break as little of the raft as possible, but you have to get underneath it to remove the liquid.
14. Enlarge your hole with a ladle and spoon it all out as gently as you can. You can strain it if you want too but hopefully the liquid is clear. Once you‟ve removed all of the consommé from the pot discard the raft. If you have never made a consommé before Victory dances and loud cheering are totally appropriate.
15. Now you are ready to serve. You can add a crouton as you would for the soup but I would put the crouton on the side so as not to interfere with the beauty of a bowl of crystal clear consommé.
Step 3 – Consommé (Using the gelatine technique)
1. if you think your soup is not as flavourful as you would like go to the next step. If you like the flavours skip adding the extra mince.
2. Fry the mince until brown and cooked. Allow any juices to cook off.
3. Add garlic and cook gently for 1 minute. You don‟t want any burnt bits it will make your stock bitter.
4. Strain off any fat or remaining juices.
5. Put the meat aside and deglaze the fry pan with a little of the stock and add the meat and the liquid from the pan to the soup.
6. Simmer gently for 30 minutes, taste and adjust the seasonings. This is your last chance to do this.
7. Take the pot off the heat and carefully ladle out the stock. Strain through a sieve lined with muslin or a coffee filter.
8. Measure the stock, you need 8 cups/2 litres in total. The rest can be frozen for other uses.
9. Take 1 cup/240 ml of that liquid and sprinkle the gelatine on top and allow it to bloom.
10. While the stock is still hot stir through the gelatine and make sure it dissolves. You may need to heat it slightly – don‟t let it boil.
11. Quick cool the stock by placing the whole pot into your sink and running cold water around it.
12. Pour it into a container and place in the refrigerator.
13. Allow the soup to set fully (this is really important) then place it into the freezer to freeze solid. If the soup is put into the freezer before it sets solid it will not separate properly when you thaw it.
14. Chop the frozen jelly into chunks and put them into a lined sieve in the refrigerator. Allow to thaw in the refrigerator. This cannot be rushed. It has to happen in the refrigerator so the gelatine and any fat solids don‟t melt and run through your filter cloth.
15. You should have a crystal clear liquid. Congratulations you have made a consommé. If you have never made a consommé before victory dances and loud cheering are totally appropriate.
16. Your consommé is now ready to serve. Reheat and serve. With the crouton on the side.

Herb and Garlic Brioche
Ingredients:
2 cups (480 ml) (280 gm) (10 oz) all-purpose plain flour
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (7 gm) (¼ oz) active dry yeast
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (28 gm) (1 oz) granulated sugar
½ teaspoon (2½ ml) (3 gm) salt
½ cup (120 ml) milk, warm
½ cup (1 stick) (120 ml) (115 gm) (4 oz) unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (1 gm) chopped chives
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (1 gm) chopped parsley
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (2 gm) Italian mixed herbs
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (2 gm) freshly crushed garlic
Directions:
1. In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt.
2. Slowly mix the warm milk, butter, mixed herbs and 2 of the eggs into the flour mixture
3. Knead until the dough is smooth. The dough is ready to rise when it is completely smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
4. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise until it is doubled in size.
5. Transfer the dough from the bowl onto a floured work surface and punch it down a few times.
6. Finely chop the fresh herbs and mix with the garlic.
7. Press the dough out into a rectangle then spread with the chopped herbs.
8. Roll up like a Swiss roll and place on a lined baking tray.
9. Cover the pan and allow the dough to rise until it is doubled in size.
10. Preheat the oven to moderately hot 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.
11. Remove the dough covering, gently brush the loaf with the remaining beaten egg, bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderate 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 and bake for an additional 25 minutes, until the brioche is golden brown. Allow it to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, and then transfer it to a wire cooling rack.