Recent Recipes

Product Review: Green & Blacks Chocolate

Comments (8) | Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It’s been about a month since I received some Green & Black’s chocolate to try. But since I’d been seriously overworked and over committed socially, I had absolutely no time to try it or bake with it.
Now that life has calmed down a little, I have made trying this chocolate a priority. Which seems a bit ridiculous because chocolate is always a priority in my life! 

Most of you would already know that Green & Black's is already an organically certified chocolate. The good news is, they have announced that the entire range is also going Fairtrade. 

Fairtrade is a unique independent system providing farmers with the security of fair prices for their produce and additional investment for social, environmental and economic development in their communities. The commitment by Green & Black's to Fairtrade will result in an investment of approximately AUD$540k a year through additional Fairtrade Premiums paid to Dominican Republic cocoa farmers and their communities. These farmers are now the main source of cocoa for Green & Black's and the move towards complete Fairtrade Certification is part of their ongoing commitment to ethical trading. 

With a nice selection of chocolate on offer here’s my verdict on how they taste on their own.

Left to right: Dark 70%, Maya Gold, Milk

The first thing I noticed about this chocolate was that it wasn't as creamy as say Cadbury or Lindt. My favorite would have to be the Maya Gold as it was a dark chocolate with hints of orange and other spices. Perfect with a cuppa or just a nibble to settle chocolate cravings.

The dark 70% is a chocolate I'd much rather use in cooking as with such a high percentage it can be quite bitter for some people.

With so much chocolate, I thought I'd better get cooking with it!
Recipes I made with Green & Black's Chocolate:
- Green & Black's Chocolate Brazil Soft-Baked Cookies
- Chocolate Beer Cake

Iron Chef Shellie sampled Green and Black’s chocolate thanks to Emma from Bang Public Relations.

For more information about Green & Black's chocolate, recipe ideas or more information about organic and Fairtrade, check out their website: http://www.greenandblacks.com/anz/

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Green and Blacks Chocolate Brazil Soft-Baked Cookies

Comments (3) |

I thought I’d better try one of the recipes Emma sent to me with the Green & Black's chocolate. It was either this recipe of the white and dark chocolate mousse; but considering I didn’t have any white chocolate, cookies it was. 

I didn’t have any wholemeal self raising flour, so I just used the standard self-raising stuff and it worked out fine. The bran apparently gives a distinctive flavour and texture to the cookies, so maybe I’ll have to try again when I get my hands on some.
I’m not usually crazy about Brazil nuts. When I have a bag of mixed nuts, these are the nuts I generally avoid. But teamed with Green & Black's chocolate, I rather fancied them. It’s great to have these cookies after they have cooled slightly, as the chocolate is still soft and gooey. 

Turns out I actually used the Maya Gold chocolate with the orange and spices instead of the dark 70%. It turned out great, giving the cookies a nice extra depth of flavour. I'd definitely say that Green & Black's is a great chocolate for cooking with. I'll be trying it more for recipes where I like to use quality chocolate instead of Lindt.  

Chocolate Brazil Soft-Baked Cookies

Get your hands on:
75g unsalted butter, softened
60g caster sugar
1 large egg, beaten
175g wholemeal self-raising flour
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ tablespoon milk
75g dark chocolate, minimum 60% cocoa solids, roughly chopped
75g milk chocolate, preferably 34% cocoa solids, roughly chopped
50g Brazil nuts, chopped
Pinch of salt

Serve it with:
Hot cuppa tea or coffee

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a tray with non-stick baking paper.

2. Cream together the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Sift the flour once, returning the bran to the sifted flour, then fold into the mixture.. Beat well, adding the vanilla extra and sufficient milk to make a pliable dough. Mix it with your hands, adding the milk in stages until the dough is fairly soft, but not sticky. Add the chopped chocolate, nuts and salt and distribute evenly through the dough. Roll out onto a lightly floured board to a thickness of about 5mm. Stamp into rounds and place the cookies, spaced well apart, on the lined baking tray.

3. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 20 minutes. Watch them carefully so they don’t overcook. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the baking tray for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Makes 20.

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Chocolate Beer Cake

Comments (9) |

 Excuse the fuzzy photos. The end of daylight savings is killing me, thus meaning I can't use natural light if I'm cooking too late. Will be trying to invent a light box for winter!

Iron Chef Shellie: “Hamsley…. I need you to come over when I bake this cake and finish off Guinness I don’t use. Is that okay?”
Hamsley: “ummm…. Yeah I think I can do that”

Whilst catching up on my reading of other blogs, I came across this recipe for chocolate and beer on Pikelet and Pie’s blog. As soon as I read the title, I knew I was going to make it. 

I wondered what the flavour combination would taste like, and I knew Hamsley wouldn’t have a problem with chocolate and beer being united in cake form. 

Hamsley and Mum commented that they couldn't really taste the beer, but I was sure that I could. It was a nice light cupcake, mostly likely caused by the bubbles in the beer. I would make this again, I'm sure it would be a hit with men if you dragged them along to an afternoon tea!

Chocolate Beer Cake
Piklet & Pie

Get your hands on:
1 cup stout (Guinness)
225g unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups plain flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Ganache:100g dark chocolate
3 tablespoons heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon instant coffee 

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease 2 1/2 cup muffin trays really well. Heat beer and butter in a medium sized pan over medium heat. When it starts to simmer, remove from heat and whisk cocoa powder through, taking care to stir out any mischievous lumps.

2. Sift flour, sugar, baking soda, spices and salt together to mix. Beat eggs and sour cream together until thoroughly combined. Pour chocolate/beer mix into the eggs and beat to combine. Fold dry ingredients in until just combined. Ladle batter into prepared pan and bake for about 10 – 15 mins, or until a skewer comes out clean. If you don’t have two muffin pans, or have only one shelf in the oven.

3. For Ganache: Heat cream and coffee in a small pan. When bubbling remove from heat and stir through chopped chocolate. Continue stirring until chocolate has melted and is glossy and thick. Cool until it is the correct consistency for icing. Ice cakes when they are completely cool.

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Breakfast BLT

Comments (15) | Tuesday, March 23, 2010

To answer your question; yes, it does taste as good as it looks.... perhaps even better!

Lately on a Sunday, I've been waking up not wanting the usual toast, cereal or hot cross bun. Sunday breakfast is meant to be special, a day when you wake up and not worry about your calorie intake. So bring on the bacon if that's what you feel like!

Whilst looking for a recipe for the last cookbook challenge, I stumbled upon this recipe for breakfast. It looked easy enough, and something Hamsley and I would both enjoy when we crawled out of bed. I chucked everything in the oven; including the bread as I bought a "bake at home" Turkish bread loaf as it was nice and cheap. In about 10 minutes we had breakfast with a nice hot cuppa coffee for Sir Hamsely, and a nice cuppa chai for moi.
Better serving size than any cafe you'd probably go to, and far far cheaper! We were both epically full by the end of it, it turned out to be more a brunch than a breakfast BLT!

Breakfast BLT
Bill Granger

Get your hands on:
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
4 short-cut bacon rashers
2 teaspoons olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 avocado
2 tablespoons creme fraiche (or sour cream)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon snipped chives
Dash of Tabasco sauce
4 slices sourdough bread
4 small cos lettuce leaves

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6). Put the tomato halves and bacon on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and bake for 10 minutes, or until the bacon is crisp and tomatoes are slightly wilted.

2. Mash the avocado, creme fraiche, lemon juice and chives together and season with salt and pepper. Add Tabasco, to taste. Toast the bread and spread two of the slices with avocado mixture. Top with lettuce leaves, some bacon and tomato halves and then sandwich with the other slices of bread.

Serves 2.

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Week 18 - The Cookbook Challenge: Chicken Burgers with Lemongrass and Lime

Comments (17) | Sunday, March 21, 2010

  Week 18
Theme: BBQ
Cookbook Used: Holiday
Author: Bill Granger
Thanks to all the lovely people leaving comments on my previous posts. Once next week is over, I will be replying and showing you some love too! That is, if I haven't collapsed from exhaustion!
Now excuse my photos, the burger looks a little sad as I should have put more lettuce on the poor thing.

A very simple recipe to make, good for those mid week dinners when you have a case of the CBFs. 
Hamsley commented that the lemongrass was rather overwhelming, but we both enjoyed the burgers thoroughly. I was contemplating about adding some tomatoes to the burgers, but it wouldn't have worked, as the flavours were more oriental based.

The recipe also comes with Bill's recipe for chilli sauce and spicy slaw; but I didn't have the time to make those as well. Hopefully April will be a much more quieter month; even though it's filled with Easter and my birthday!
Chicken Burgers with Lemongrass and Lime
Bill Granger

Get your hands on:
600g minced chicken
1 onion, finely grated
85g fresh white breadcrumbs
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 lemongrass stalk, white part only, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons caster sugar

Serve it with:
Soft rolls
Lettuce leaves
Fresh mint and coriander 
Chilli sauce

1. Put the chicken mince, onion, breadcrumbs, garlic, lemongrass, coriander, lime zest, fish sauce and sugar in a large bowl and mix together well with your hands. Shape into 6 patties, then cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2. Preheat a barbecue or chargrill pan and brush with a little light flavoured oil such as grapeseed or canola. Cooke the patties for 4 minutes each side or until cooked through. Serve on soft rolls with lettuce, mint and coriander leave and chilli sauce. 

Serves 6. 


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Caramel Apples with Cinnamon and Vanilla Ice Cream

Comments (6) | Thursday, March 18, 2010

Believe it or not, Easter is just around the corner. Actually, just writing that made me realise just how around the corner it actually is! Eeeeep!!!

The lovely Felicity has been kind enough to send me some recipe drafts that Curtis Stone has been working on, along with Coles. Curtis is back in Australia to help promote the current Easter campaign for Coles. Coles’ Simon McDowell, General Manager Marketing, says its “focus on food this season is to instill confidence in the ‘kitchen novice’ and assist them in putting fresh, quality and inexpensive meals on the table”.

There was one recipe that stood out for me, and it was this one with apples. It was so easy to make, and took no time at all. I will admit I had Hamsley on apple peeling duty so that helped to speed things up. The addition of muesli was good, almost making it like an apple crumble in a cup.

I'll be making it again when I want a quick, easy, tasty dessert to impress.

Coles and Curtis Stone have created recipe cards with meal solutions designed to inspire Australian seafood novices. The range of fresh meal ideas designed to suit any Easter banquet include;
  • Beef Rib Roast with Whole Grain Mustard 
  • Grilled Barramundi with Spinach and Herb Roasted Potatoes 
  • Fettuccine with Prawns, Spring Onions, Lemon and Chilli 
  • Ginger and Soy Glazed Salmon with Bok Choy 
  • Fresh Green Beans with Pan Fried Mushrooms 
  • Oven Steamed Ling Fillets with Mushrooms and Garlic Mash 
  • Cauliflower Gratin 
  • Caramel Apples with Cinnamon and Vanilla Ice-Cream
Recipes can be downloaded from http://www.coles.com.au/, and have a tasty Easter!

Caramel Apples with Cinnamon and Vanilla Ice Cream
Curtis Stone

Prep time: 10mins
Cooking time: 15mins

Get your hands on:
1 cup Coles thickened cream1 cup Coles white sugar
7 royal gala apples (Iron Chef Shellie suggests peeling, coring and quarting your apples)
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp queen vanilla extract
1 cup Carmans classical fruit muesli, to serve
Coles vanilla ice cream 2L, to serve

1. Place the sugar in a large frying pan over a medium high heat. Cook, without stirring but swirling the pan, watching closely as it can burn easily, until the sugar dissolves and becomes pale golden.

2. Carefully add the cream (it will sizzle) and swirl the pan to mix. Once cream and sugar are mixed thoroughly, add the vanilla, cinnamon and apples and cook, stirring often for 10 minutes, or until the apples are tender. Remove from the heat and allow apples to cool slightly in the caramel.

3. Spoon the warm apples into 8 sundae glasses or small bowls, add the ice cream and garnish with the toasted museli. Spoon some of the remaining caramel sauce from the pan over the ice cream and apples and serve immediately.

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Week 17 - The Cookbook Challenge: Aromatic Vietnamese Beef Curry

Comments (18) | Sunday, March 14, 2010

 Week 17
Theme: Vietnamese
Cookbook Used: The Complete Book of Modern Asian
Author: The Australian Women's Weekly
March has been a crazy month, hence the lack of blog posts. It all seems to be happening, and because I'm designing and producing alot of things for the Grand Prix which is at the end of the month, I'm pretty damn tired when I get home; so I don't really want to spend much time in the kitchen!
The Cookbook Challenge makes me get into the kitchen at least once a week, it's just a matter of finding a night to cook on! The book from this week is actually my Mum's; but truth be known, I probably would have bought it anyways. I don't own any cookbooks that are specifically Vietnamese, so I thought I could trust the AWW to bring me the goods.

I didn't have any ground bean sauce. I looked in 3 different supermarkets and an Asian grocery store. So we settled on a black bean and garlic sauce. Luckily for me, it tasted fantastic, and Hamsely was most impressed!

Incredibly easy to make; I'm glad we have the cookbook challenge, as I'm not too sure if and when I would have made this recipe.

Aromatic Vietnamese Beef Curry
Australian Women's Weekly
Get your hands on:
2 tablespoons peanut oil
800g beef strips
1 medium brown onion (150g), chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 fresh long red chilli, chopped finely
10cm stick fresh lemon grass (20g) chopped finely
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
4 cardamon pods, bruised
350g snake beans, cut into 4cm lengths
2 tablespoons ground bean sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh corriander
1/2 cup (40g) toasted almond flakes

1. Heat half of the oil in wok; stir-fry beef, in batches, until browned. Cover to keep warm.

2. Heat remaining oil in wok; stir-fry onion until soft. Add garlic, chilli, lemon grass, star anise, cinnamon, cardamon and beans; stir-fry until beans are tender. Discard star anise, cinnamon and cardamon.

3. Return beef to wok with sauces; stir-fry until heated through. Remove from heat, stir in coriander and nuts.

Serves 4.


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Week 16 - The Cookbook Challenge: Chow Mein

Comments (16) | Saturday, March 6, 2010

 Week 16
Theme: Noodles
Cookbook Used: 1000 Best Ever Recipes from AWW
Author: The Australian Women's Weekly

I love noodles. I thought I'd be more inspired to make noodles this week; but after flicking through about 8 cookbooks, I was struggling to find something I really wanted to make.
I hoped the answer was in the AWW 1000 recipes book; and it was!

Even though the recipe seemed rather westernized, it sounded fairly easy and quick for an after work meal.
I used Asian mushrooms as the recipe didn't state what kind of mushrooms to use. I also left out the celery as it turns out we didn't have any in the fridge. I'm glad though, I don't think it would have been as nice if I included it.  
Mum and I were a little hesitant about the recipe with curry powder, and frozen peas, etc, but we were both pleasantly surprised. It was a tasty dish with simple flavours. I would definitely make it again!

Chow Mein
The Australian Women's Weekly

Get your hands on:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
500g lean beef mince
1 medium brown onion (150g), chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 large carrot (180g), chopped finely
2 trimmed celery stalks (200g), sliced thinly
150g mushrooms, sliced thinly
1 cup (250ml) chicken stock
1/3 cup (80ml) oyster sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
450g fresh thin egg noodles
1/2 cup (60g) frozen peas
1/2 cup (55g) frozen sliced green beans
1/2 small wombok (400g), shredded coarsely

1. Heat oil in wok; stir-fry mince, onion and garlic until mince is changed in colour. Add curry powder; stir-fry until fragrant. Add carrot, celery and mushrooms; stir-fry until vegetables soften.

2. Add stock, sauces and noodles, stir-fry gently until combined; bring to the boil. Add peas, beans and wombok, reduce head; simmer, uncovered, tossing occasionally for about 5 minutes or until vegetables are just soft.

Serves 4.

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