Saturday, 8 December 2012

Magnolia Bakery cupcakes

These cupcakes are sooo yummy that we had to research on the recipe. This may not be 100% like the ons you can get in the bakery (yum!) but it is delicious!
Our friend Yumei from Mum n Babies made them and was kind enough to send us pictures :) Thank you!

Cupcakes
INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups of self-raising flour
1 1/4 cups flour
227 grams of unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven at 180ºC

2. Line cupcake baking trays with liners
3. In a bowl, combine the flours and set aside
4. On another bowl cream the butter on an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. 
5. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy (about 3 minutes)
6. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add the dry ingredients in three parts while alternating with the milk and vanilla.
7. After each addition beat until ingredients are well combined but do not over beat.
8. Spoon the mixture in the lined baking trays up to 3/4 full.
9. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool the cupcakes on the tins for 15 minutes and then remove and cool completely before icing.


Icing

INGREDIENTS:

227 grams of unsalted butter, softened
6 to 8 cups of soft icing sugar
1.2 cup of milk
1 tsp of vanilla extract

1. Put the butter and 4 cups of the sugar, the milk and vanilla in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth and creamy (3-5 minutes).

2. Gradually add the remaining sugar 1 cup at a time beating well after each addition until the icing has a good think spreading consistency.

NOTE: You may not need to add all of the sugar. You can also add a few drops of food colouring. You can store at room temperature for about 3 days but do not put in the fridge since this will harden the icing). You will most definitely have left over icing - this recipe can also be used to ice a 9 inch cake. This pic shows cupcakes with a little icing but we usually cover the whole top with it :)



Thursday, 29 November 2012

Rice empanadas (gluten free!)

In Bolivia they make these delicious treats and I miss them. So...we made up this recipe to try to imitate them. They are NOT exactly the same but delicious nonetheless. PLUS...they are gluten free!

INGREDIENTS
1 cup rice flour
1.5 cups of shredded tasty cheese (any tasty cheese that will melt nicely works)
1 cup of cooked cassava (also known as tapioca or yucca)
3 tbsp butter (we used olive spread)

1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. If too dry, add milk or oil or more butter.
2. Make patties and put in a baking tray. They do not leave too far from each other since they won't expand ro rise.
3. Bake in pre-heated oven until they are slightly golden brown on the top and darker around the edges.

Yum!





Monday, 26 November 2012

Magnolia's banana pudding!

While in NYC we visited the famous Magnolia Bakery and really enjoyed their banana pudding (sometimes even more than their cupcakes!) and had to look for this recipe and make it when back in Australia. Although we could not find the specific biscuit they call for in their recipe, we made changes and used the ingredients below and it worked quite well :)
F, Mr. F and I really love this!

INGREDIENTS:
1 can condensed milk
1.5 cups of ice cold water
1 box or bag of vanilla pudding (in our case we used a bag of vanilla "Pudding Magic")
750 ml of heavy cream
Lady Finger biscuits
About 6-8 bananas cut in slices.

1. Mix the water and the condensed milk until well combined. Add the pudding and allow to set (this can be made and left overnight). Make sure it has had enough time to set completely.
2. Whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
3. Start softening the pudding mix with a fork and then fold it in the whipped cream gently until they are combined and you can no longer see lumps or streaks of yellow pudding.
4. To assemble: put a thiner layer of cream at the bottom to start, then the sliced bananas and then the biscuits and repeat making thicker layers of cream until the last layer is cream and then decorate the top with some banana slices.

Delicious and easy!



Sunday, 25 November 2012

Easy pizza dough recipe

A friend of F and I sent us this recipe and the pictures from the time they made it. They had so much fun! Thanks to Sama Farzad and her beautiful assistants: Ayla and Zane :)

The recipe she used was this one.

INGREDIENTS:
3 cups of plain flour
2 tsp of dried yeast
2 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
3 tbsp olive oil

1. Mix flour, yeast and salt in a bowl and gradually add the water and oil until dough is smooth
2.  Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling wrap. Set aside in a warm place to rise for 30 minutes or until it doubles in volume
3. Knead the dough gently for a few minutes to remove some of the air
4. Divide the dough in half and roll out pizza bases on a previously floured surface.

Tip: to make dough extra crunchy, sprinkle polenta instead of flour on the bench top before rolling out.



Veggie and sausage risotto

F and I never made risotto before and it is quite weird since we really like wet rice with goodies. So, we went and bought some Arborio rice and made this dish. You can obviously go all vegetarian with this one...just leave the sausage out.
Makes enough for about 4 people.

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 medium onion diced
2 sausages sliced
6 button mushrooms
1/2 leek chopped -we used the green part
Salt and pepper
Spices (we used coriander, paprika and turmeric)
1 cup arborio rice
3 cups of stock or water with stock cubes
Shaved Parmesan to serve

1. Brown the onion and then add the sausage and cook.
2. Once these are cooked, add the rest of the veggies and spices and cook until the veggies are soft. Add the rice and fry until it is slightly toasted.
3. Add one cup of the stock/water and stir constantly until the rice absorbes the moisture and then add the second cup and repeat until you add the third and last cup.
4. Check that the rice is cooked and the taste is right and if needed, add more water.
5. Once done and while still hot, stir in about 25 grams of butter in smaller chunks and mix quickly until completely melted (this will make the risotto creamy).

Add shaved Parmesan and serve!



Saturday, 24 November 2012

Easiest hummus!

We made falafel and needed some hummus. We don't have anything against already made hummus but had all the ingredients at home to make it, so we did  :)

INGREDIENTS:
1 can of chickpeas
4 cloves or garlic (you can add less or more depending on your preference)
3-4 tbsp tahini
Olive oil
Salt
The juice of one lemon

1. Add all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until creamy
2. If too dry, add more olive oil and lemon juice (or water)
3. Taste and adjust salt.

Done!



Saturday, 17 November 2012

Banana Pancakes

My little man loves pancakes with peanut butter so we have tried different recipes and this one is great, the pancakes are moist and we don't have to add butter to the batter. It also just makes about 6 pancakes so that is more than enough for us.

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp baking powder
1 ripe banana
1 egg

1. Add all ingredients to the blender and mix until thoroughly combined.
2. Heat a pan and add a bit of butter every time you're about to cook a new pancake.
3. Cook the first side until you can see holes through the batter and then turn for less time on the second side.
4. Serve with anything from jam to peanut butter or honey or fresh fruit. Possibilities are great!




Pumpkin and vegetable cream (soup)

The weather was perfect for soup so we made this great cream. The amounts are for what we used and not what you should use so just add as much/little of each vegetable and omit whatever you would prefer not to include.

INGREDIENTS
Pumpkin (about 1Kg)
Onion (1 medium)
Potatoes (l large)
Garlic (2 heads)
Any other vegetable you want to add (we added brocoli)
Salt and pepper
Water or stock
Milk (optional)
Seasoning of your choice

1. Cut all the veggies (except the garlic which you add whole and peel once cooked) so they cook faster and place them on a baking tray. Spray with a little oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender and they are a bit golden*.
2. Put the cooked veggies in a large pot and cover with water or stock. Let boil for a little while and then with a stick mixer, puree the vegetables and add some milk and the seasoning.
3. Taste and adjust salt. Done.

*We baked the broccoli as well which wasn't a good idea since it cooked way faster than the rest and became a little burnt.

We served with a dollop of greek yoghurt.






Monday, 12 November 2012

Pickled vegetables

This is super easy and you can let your imagination go wild mixing and matching veggies for this delicious pickle.

INGREDIENTS:
Vegetables of your choice, cut into whatever size you prefer
Apple cider vinegar
Water
Salt and spices (turmeric, cumin, peppercorns and bay leaves)
Glass containers with lids previously washed and sterilised (you can do this by placing them -without the lids!- in the microwave with a bit of water for a minute or so)

1. Add three parts vinegar to one part water (according to how much you think you'll use) in a saucepan and stir in all the spices and the salt to taste. Bring to boil and remove from heat.
2. Put the chopped vegetables in the containers you will use (we chopped cabbage and cut cauliflower into bite-size chunks) and cover completely with the hot vinegar an spices mixture.
3. If there is some room left just fill in with more water and cover. Let sit for a few days to a few weeks at room temperature. Done!

Once you open a jar, it may be better to store it in the fridge.




Friday, 9 November 2012

Teriyaki tofu with noodles and broccoli.

This is not as much of a recipe as it is a suggestion on how to use these yummy ingredients in a simple dish.

INGREDIENTS:
Firm tofu
Chinese broccoli (broccolini or regular broccoli is good too)
Noodles
Teriyaki sauce*

1. Slice the tofu and pan fry until golden. Set aside and marinate in the teriyaki sauce for a few hours.
2. Chop up the broccoli and pan fry until softened.
3. In the meantime cook the noodles you want to use (we used thin rice noodles)
4. Dice the marinated tofu (optional) and add to the broccoli along with the cooked noodles. Add some extra teriyaki sauce, stir and serve hot!



TERIYAKI SAUCE RECIPE
1/4 cup soya sauce
1 cup water

1/2 tsp ground ginger (we added 3 pieces of ginger)
1/2tsp ground garlic or garlic powder

5 tbsp brown sugar
1tbsp honey 
1tbsp cornflour dissolved in a little cold water (for thickening)

1. Put all the ingredients except the cornflour in a small saucepan, dissolve sugar crystals and heat stirring constantly.
2. Once hot, add the cornflour and water mixture and whisk until the sauce reaches the desired thickness.
3. It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

Fesenjun . Chicken with walnuts.

Persians have a LOT of amazing dishes and this is one of our personal favorites. It is called "Fesenjun" and it is basically a stew with walnuts, meat and pomegranate. Sounds yummy yet? If you have seen the Junior Masterchef in Australia a few years ago, there was a kid who made this. Although the judges liked the taste, it didn't make it because of its appearance...hahaha...yes, not the most appetising looking dish but truly a very delicious one!

- You can make this dish vegetarian. We suggest using mushrooms whole or cut into large chunks.

INGREDIENTS:
1 medium onion diced
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
Chicken - we used 400gr of diced thigh fillet but you can use as much/little as you like with or without the bone. People also make it with small meatballs.
Salt and spices
400gr walnuts ground
1 bottle of Pomegranate paste (found in Middle Eastern grocery shops)
1 tbsp brown sugar
Water

1. Soften the onion in a large saucepan and add the chicken and garlic mince. Cook but don't brown. Add salt and whatever spices you like (we used cumin, turmeric and pepper).
2. In the meantime, put the ground walnuts in a frying pan and heat until you can smell them roasting (be careful it doesn't burn and stir constantly). Add to the chicken.
3. Add the pomegranate paste (we added almost the entire bottle...only left about 1/8 of it) and sugar and stir.
4. Add the water until it almost covers the entire stew and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes to up to several hours - you can do this in a slow cooker and leave it to slow cook for a really long time. The stew will become darker.
5. Taste and adjust sugar or salt accordingly.

We served it on a bed of rice (as you would).




Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Mexican hot chocolate ice cream

So, we have come across a site called Safari Love that specialises in exotic drinks and one of our favourites is their Mexican hot chocolate (Aztec elixir). It is so delicious! Very thick and with a hint of cinnamon...yum! So...we decided to make it into ice cream (of course!).

INGREDIENTS:
300ml thick cream (we used light)
300ml milk
5 generous tbsp of Aztec Elixir hot chocolate powder
200ml thickened cream for whipping
1 tbsp of icing sugar
100gr Chocolate chips (we used Lindt orange intense)

1. In a small saucepan mix the 300ml of thick cream with the milk and the chocolate powder. Stir until well combined, set aside and let cool completely. Transfer to the fridge.
2. Once the chocolate milk is cold, whip the other 200ml of thickened cream with the icing sugar until stiff peaks form.
3. Gently fold the chocolate milk and mix until well combined.
4. Set in the freezer for an hour or two and then transfer to your ice cream maker (we have a Breville bowl and scraper but if you don't have any type of ice cream making machine, you can just remove from the freezer every 2 hours and scrape and mix so you get a soft consistency rather than a hard frozen piece of chocolate milk).
5. Mix until you get the desired consistency and then add the chocolate chips and mix for a few more seconds. Store in an airtight container in the freezer and enjoy!



Chicken with spinach and prunes

So, Persians have made this meal and of course, this is our version of it.

INGREDIENTS:
1 medium onion diced
1/2 kg chicken filet (breast or thigh) diced
2 bunches of spinach (or more if you like) roughly chopped
The juice of a lemon
1 tbsp sugar
A handful of prunes (pitted is better)
Salt and pepper to taste
Spices (we used turmeric, cumin and a bit of chili)

1. Soften the onion in about 4 tbsp of hot oil in a large pot
2. Add the chicken and brown slightly. Season with your favourite spices, salt and pepper to taste.
3. Add the spinach and stir (the pot will be full from the spinach but don't be overwhelmed, spinach reduces considerably once cooked).
4. Once it has reduced a little, add the lemon juice and the sugar (you can leave the sugar out if you like. We added brown sugar to balance the sourness of the lemon).
5. Stir and throw in the prunes (you can add these last minute if you'd prefer them a little harder - we like them quite soft so we add them at this point).
6. Add about 1/2 cup of water or stock , bring to boil then reduce heat and let simmer for about 30 minutes or until the water has consumed to the desired point (juicy or less juicy) and the chicken is thoroughly cooked.

We served it on a bed of basmati rice.







Sunday, 4 November 2012

Noodles with seared tuna and wasabi dressing

We saw this recipe on a magazine and made is according to what we remembered. It was quite delicious!

INGREDIENTS:
1 pack of noodles (soba or udon work really well)
Tuna (we used 300grams for the 3 of us)
1 tsp wasabi paste
6 tbsp soya sauce
1 tbsp hot water
2 tsp sesame seed oil
2 tbsp canola oil

1. Cook the noodles according to the package instructions. Grain and set aside.
2. Meanwhile cut the tuna in rectangular stripes and cook briefly on each side (30 secs to 1 minute each side max), remove from heat and cut into bite-size squares
3. Mix the wasabi, soya sauce, water, sesame oil and canola oil and whisk until combined.

Serve the noodles and top with the tuna. Drizzle with the wasabi dressing. You can top the dish with some chopped spring onions for more colour. Enjoy!


 


Alfajores Argentinos

Habiendo crecido en Latinoamérica y muy cerca de Argentina, tuve que probar y enamorarme de los alfajores. Ahora como vivimos en Sydney, no me es posible encontrarlos con facilidad y el flete para mandarlos a traer de Argentina es muy costoso así que F y yo buscamos una receta y al probarla supimos que esa era la receta ganadora. ¡Deliciosa! La encontramos aquí
Le hicimos unos cambios que pueden ver a continuación...


Ingredientes:
Para las galletas
Harina 2.5 tazas
Maicena 1 taza
Polvo de hornear 1 cucharada
Azúcar 3/4 taza
Margarina a temperatura ambiente 175g
Esencia de vainilla 1 cucharadita
Nutella 1 cucharada
Ralladura de 1 naranja
agua 1/4 taza
huevos 1
Preparación
1. Batir la margarina y el azúcar hasta que esté mas clara y cremosa. Echar la vainilla y la Nutella y mezclar.
2. Añada el huevo, el agua y la ralladura de naranja.
3. Apagar la batidora y echar la harina, maicena y polvo de hornear y mezclar despacio hasta que se combinen todos los ingredientes.
4. Dejar reposar el la refrigeradora hasta que esté un poco mas dura.
5. Amasar delgada y cortar en círculos del tamaño que se quieran los alfajores (nosotros los hicimos casi del tamaño de la palma de mi mano). Congelar en el freezer hasta que estén duros. Nosotros los cortamos y pusimos en un plato unos encima de otros, divididos con plástico para que no se peguen.
6. Cocinarlos en un horno pre-calentado a 180ºC solamente por 5 minutos.
7. Dejar enfriar y proceder a rellenarlos con el dulce de leche y cubrirlos con el chocolate o ponerles más dulce de leche a los lados y rodarlos sobre el coco rallado.
Yum! (Sacamos mas fotos pero se borraron de la cámara por accidente) :(





Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Yummy shortbread cookies

We found a recipe for easy cookies but we made changes and came up with this recipe instead. We used it at one of our children's class and we had lots of fun making these.

INGREDIENTS:
250 grams of butter at room temperature*
1 cup of icing sugar
3 cups of flour
1 tsp vanilla
A bit of milk
Sprinkles to decorate

1. Cream the butter and sugar in the mixer until well combined and light
2. Add the flour and mix
3. Once the mixture is crumbly, add the vanilla and a bit of milk just to make sure the dough sticks together. Knead either by hand or with the kneading hook on your mixer.
4. Cut them in shapes and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180ºC for about 10 minutes or until the edges are brown. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack before they cool down (or they can break).




Sunday, 21 October 2012

Tomato plants not giving fruit!

So F and I have a little veggie/herb patch and so far we have planted parsley, dill, coriander, basil, romanesco, tomatoes, onion and jalapeño peppers. We have been successful with the herbs and are still waiting for the veggies.
We were so excited when we first planted our tomatoes and knew what our restrictions were since we live in an apartment and we don't have sunshine all day. Specifically talking about tomatoes, the plants grew nice and healthy looking, we got lots of flowers but then they would just dry and fall off and we wouldn't get any fruit  :(
After doing some research, we decided to move the plants to a place in the balcony where the sun hits for more hours during the day and then gently brushed the flowers with a paintbrush to imitate the process of pollination bees do (we live up where bees wouldn't really visit).
After only 2 days (yes! 2 days!) we have 2 tiny tomatoes! As you can tell, we are so excited that had to write it here so we can share our experience. So, if you are struggling with this issue, perhaps you can try this and it will work for you too :)

P.s. Our tiny romanesco has started to come out as well!





Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Japanese milk bread

We found this recipe from La Fuji Mama and we decided we HAD to try it! We had never made bread before so this was quite exciting.

You can find the recipe and more details here.

Milk Japanese bread

INGREDIENTS:
2 1/4 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoon instant dry yeast
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 cup of warm milk 

1. Mix the half of the flour with the sugar, yeast, and salt. 
2. Add the milk, mix well and then add the remaining flour until combined. In a mixer, using the dough hook, knead the dough for 5 minutes or you can choose to do it by hand until the dough is smooth and stretchy. 

3. Cover the dough and let it rise until it doubles in size (about 1 hour). We used a kitchen cloth.
4. Roll the sticky dough out into a rectangle about 8 inches by 14 inches on a smooth, greased surface with a greased rolling pin. Roll the shorter ends just a bit and then roll the dough and put crease down in the greased loaf pan.

5. Cover and let rise in a warm place until it has risen over the pan (about 2cm).
6. When the dough has risen over the middle, preheat the oven at 200 C.
8. When the dough is ready*, brush the top with some milk, then bake it for 25 to 30 minutes (the top of the loaf should be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped lightly). 
9. Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. 

Enjoy!
*Don't touch the dough after the second rise. We did and it deflated!!  Still delicious though :)





Boiled quinoa

INGREDIENTS:
2 parts water
1 part quinoa
Seasonings (optional)

1. Bring the water to the boil and then add seasonings if desired (we usually don't add anything but we have used stock cubes or salt). Add the quinoa to the boiling water.
2. Bring to the boil again and then reduce heat to minimum and let simmer covered until little holes appear and the water is consumed.
3. Remove from heat and stand covered for about 15 minutes.

Serve as rice or use as cereal with fruits and milk!