Wednesday 28 November 2012

Chefette's Italian Shellfish Stew!

Now I apologise in advance for the lack of specific quantities in this recipe, but when you're cooking true Italian style, "a little bit of this" and "a little bit of that" are perfectly fine. This dish is PACKED full of flavour, is relatively cheap and providing you don't over indulge on fresh ciabatta bread, it is relatively healthy.

Italian Shellfish Stew

1 bag of mussels (de-bearded)
350ish grams of green prawns
A whole crab or some large crab legs
(Any other seafood that takes your fancy)
1 litre of tomato passata
Some fresh tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic
Fresh chilli
Olive Oil
1 red onion
White Wine
Ciabatta bread for serving

1. Start by ensuring all your seafood is clean and ready to use.
2. In a large pot with a generous amount of olive oil, add diced onion, chilli and garlic and fry until soft, but not brown.
3. Add a generous splash of white wine, and by splash maybe 1 cup or so.
4. Add passata, chopped tomatoes and large handful of chopped flat leaf parsley to the pot and simmer for about 30 minutes. (Add salt, pepper and sugar to the sauce to taste)
5. Add shellfish to the sauce and simmer with the lid on for about 20 minutes or until mussels have opened up. (Depending on the seafood you're using and the size, this time will vary. Also if you have smaller prawns you may want to add these last as they won't take long to cook.
6. Serve with ciabatta bread, which is delicious to soak up the beautiful sauce!

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Chefette's Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie is something I have always been curious about as a keen foodie, you can't watch an American TV show centered around Christmas or Thanksgiving that doesn't feature the humble pie. It is such a strange concept for me, putting pumpkin in a pie, and given that it has just been Thanksgiving in the US and having many American friends, I had to try making my own. Pumpkin was initially used in American pies as a filler, but gradually over time, people loved the taste so much that it became the "star" of the dish. Now to be completely frank, this was the first time I have made Pumpkin Pie and eaten it, so I have no idea whether it tastes the way it should, but upon serving I had clean plates, which is always a good sign, so it could not have been all that bad. Also it is so easy peasy and such a lovely taste of winter! Special shout-out to my Missourian friend Amber for her invaluable Pumpkin Pie advice ;-) So here's my take on Traditional American Pumpkin Pie.

(Note I used a shortcrust pasty to line my pie dish, but after tasting, next time I make this, I think I'd use a biscuit base, similar to what you would use in a cheesecake) 

Biscuit Base

500g Sweet Biscuits (Marie, Rich Tea, Digestives etc)
250g Butter

1. Crush biscuits in food processor until they resemble fine breadcrumbs.
2. Add butter to food processor and blend until combined.
3. Press biscuit mixture into a lined spring-form cake tin or pie dish.

Pumpkin Pie Filling

1kg Pumpkin (any kind) I also used a sweet potato as part of my 1kg for something different.
1 397g tin of sweetened condensed milk
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
50g butter

1. Boil pumpkin with 1 tablespoon of brown sugar until soft.
2. Blend pumpkin in food processor until smooth.
3. Add all ingredients (eggs last)
4. Pour into prepared pie base.
5. Bake in a preheated oven at 160°C until the center become firm.
(I baked mine for about an hour and ten minutes, but it was quite deep and large, so timing will vary from pie to pie. If it is starting to brown, cover with foil to finish the baking)

Best served with whipped cream and nuts! Happy Baking! xxx

Sunday 4 November 2012

Chiffon Cake with Meringue Frosting

Hello cakelets! This week I bring to you maybe my favourite recipe ever! Until a few weeks ago I had never even heard of a chiffon cake until I watched "The Great British Bake Off" so I thought it would have to be the next cake on my agenda. Now part of my caking and baking is to look at a standard base recipe and either change quantities, add or remove things to make it my own and hopefully better, so I can pass it on for all to enjoy. Chiffon cake is the lightest and fluffiest cake I have ever made and it worked perfectly with the fluffy meringue frosting. It is one of those cakes which when you cut into it leaves no crumbs behind and when you bite into it, and it practically dissolves when you eat it, it's like eating a big fluffy vanillery cloud... if one could ha!

Chefette's Chiffon Cake & Meringue Frosting

1 ½ cups plain flour
½ cup corn flour
1 ½ cups caster sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ cup vegetable oil
7 eggs separated
¾ cup cold water
2 ½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 165°C, and grease and line your cake tin/s with baking paper.

2. Sift flour, sugar and baking powder into a large mixing bowl and make a well.

3. Add oil, egg yolks, water and vanilla to the well, fold mixture until smooth. Set aside.

4. In an electric mixer beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff.

5. Gradually add egg white mixture, to the other ingredients, carefully folding in with a spatula. (It is crucial to fold rather than mix to ensure the air is left in the cake batter.)

6. Pour mixture into cake tin/s and bake until a skewer comes back clean or when cake springs back. 

(The timing will depend on the size of your cake tin, for example, I divided my mixture into 6 small portions for baking in sandwich tins and each took only 10 minutes or so.)

Meringue Frosting

(This is the first time I have used Meringue Frosting and credits to my cousin from Back In G-Town for the recipe. It is a difficult frosting to pipe with because it is so soft, which is why the piping looks a bit shabby. I think this kind of frosting is best with a “rustic effect”)

2 cups caster sugar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 egg whites

1. Place the sugar, water and ½ teaspoon of cream of tartar into a saucepan over high heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 3 mins.

2. Place egg whites into an electric mixer with the remaining ½ teaspoon of cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form.

3. With the motor running gradually add the sugar mixture and beat until thick and glossy (Keep beating until it is fairly thick.)

(Frosting is best used right before serving and should be kept at room temperature)

Now if you want to make a rainbow version of this cake like I did, please see this post for assembly instructions!

Meringue Frosting in action!
Layer upon layer upon layer...
Voila.... Finished product!
Silly me forgot to take a photo of the inside with the SLR until the day after. So this is the day after, following a very windy car trip which is why it is a little bit wonky and melted haha! I just wanted to show the inside colours really.
Happy Caking! xxx

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...