Monday, January 24, 2011

Baked Doughnut Peaches

I kept seeing tweets about doughnut peaches and my curiosity was piqued. I had never seen or heard of such things and so the minute I was at Woolworths and saw them I popped them in my trolly, not knowing what their destinies were but knowing that somehow there would be an oven, my mouth and my tummy involved. 

Friday night rolled around since I planned a lightish dinner (red thai curry with brown and wild rice) so I decided dessert was in order. Poaching the peaches sounded like a great idea but I decided a little googling for more options couldn't hurt. So off I went and found this recipe. Brilliant! That was what I would do. I knew we had Lemon Verbena in the garden (Interesting Fact: called Melissa in hebrew) and so all I needed was the cookies.

We only had plain butter cookies in the cupboard and no almond essence, so I crumbled them up, put in some vanilla essence and some Cap'ian Morgan and left them to dry as the peaches soaked in the syrup. 

The peaches baked beautifully and when you broke through the crumbed surface you found what can only be described as peachy custard, soft, creamy and just sweet enough to satisfy the sweet tooth without making holes in it

What you need:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
4 whole lemon verbena leaves or grated zest of 2 lemons
6 doughnut peaches
About ½ cup flour
1 large egg
1 packet Leibniz Butter Biscuits, crushed
½ tsp vanilla essence
2 tsp rum
Vanilla bean ice cream for serving

What to do:
Place the sugar, water, and lemon verbena leaves or lemon zest in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. When the sugar has dissolved, remove the mixture from the hat. Cool the syrup completely.
Skin the peaches. To loosen their skins and make peeling easier, Plunge the peaches into a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds and then into a bowl of ice water. Peel the skin. Carefully run a small paring knife around the stones, then poke the stones out, leaving a hole in the center.
Pour the syrup into a glass or ceramic dish (large pie plate will do) and place the peeled peaches in the cooled verbena syrup to macerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours, turning them occasionally. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Place the flour in a small bowl. In another small bowl, whisk the egg to break it up. In a shallow dish, combine the biscuits with the vanilla and rum. Arrange the bowls of flour and egg and the dish of crumbs side by side. Remove a peach from the syrup and let it drain slightly, then dip it in the flour to lightly coat. Shake off the excess, then dip it in the egg to coat. Shake off any excess, then roll in the crumbs. Press the crumbs to pack them. Place the crumb-covered peach on the prepared baking sheet. Continue the dipping and crumb-coating process with the remaining peaches. Pack any leftover crumbs into the stone holes, dividing the crumbs between the peaches. The crumb-coated peaches can be refrigerated for up to 4 hours before baking.
When ready to bake, center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 180°C. Bake the peaches for 15 minutes. Rotate the pan from front to back and continue to bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until golden on the outside and the peaches are tender when pierced with a tester. Remove from the oven and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Meringues - Angel food

For my birthday TheHusband told me to pick a spot for breakfast, he wasn't sure he would be able to join us for lunch so we wanted to spend some time together. I chose to go to MissK. The food was really good but what really got my attention and stuck in my mind were their giant meringues. Brittle and crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, I loved every sweet bite.

A few moths later my father decided to try a gellato recipe that uses a bazillion egg yolks, well 8 of them and I decided that it was the perfect opportunity for me to make meringues. So I popped on to google to find the perfect meringue recipe, I found one and my apologies to the blogger who's page I found it on but I seem to have lost the link.

The idea is simple:
Sift your egg whites through a fine sieve
Weigh them
Coat the mixing bowl with lemon (cut the lemon in half and rub it on the bowl)
Pop in the egg whites and start whisking
weigh out twice as much castor sugar
when the egg whites reach the foamy stage slowly start adding the sugar and whisk till stiff.
Take a large spoon and spoon big blobs of meringue onto a baking sheet (or pipe them on prettily if you must)
Then pop into the oven on 110°C with the oven door open for about 1 hour, then drop to 90°C till dried out. (these temperatures my vary depending on your oven)

For a little variation mix some strawberry essense into the egg white mixture and make strawberry meringues 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Spinach and Mushroom parcels - Meat Free Monday

The last 2 weeks have been rather tedious. I was helping my dad out answering phones while his receptionist was away on annual leave. I spent many an hour playing facebook games and wishing I had uploaded some images for blogging. I was not on my own computer so had no pictures with me and so you didn't get any new recipes to try. Sorry :(

However you did get a new look and feel, like a new space to visit. They say a change is as good as a holiday :)

So it is Monday again and with it comes the dulcet sounds of my family moaning at me that they don't understand how 1 day a week can make a difference. With it also comes me ignoring them. Some weeks I just quietly make my own little meal to eat, others I make a dish with several components so those who choose to can eat Meat-free and other days I make something so delicious, they don't care if there is meat or not.

Such was the case with these little phyllo parcels. With the meatiness of the wild mushrooms and the creaminess of the spinach, these edible presents ticked every box in the house.

What you need:
3 bags baby spinach
1 box mixed wild mushrooms
1 tub fat free smooth cottage cheese
1 onion
1 medium potato
½ fairview single salad serving feta (or 1 wheel)
smoked paprika
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Phyllo pastry

What to do:
Wash the spinach very well (rule of thumb is at least 7 times, no one likes sandy spinach)
Chop half the onion finely, do the same with the potato (the pieces should all be roughly the same size and very small). Heat up some olive oil in a wok or large pan. Saute the onions and potatoes then add the spinach and mix till wilted (depending on the size of your wok/pan you made need to add the spinach in stages). When all the spinach has wilted add the garlic ad stir well. Then add the cottage cheese and crumble in the feta. Turn off the heat and stir well. Slice the other half of the onion into slivers. In another pan toss the onion and the smoked paprika in some heated olive oil, then add the mushrooms and fry until browned. Add the mushrooms to the spinach mixture, mix well then season to taste.

Cut your phyllo into long strips (I use scissors). Brush one piece with olive oil and stick another piece on top of it. Spoon some filling into it and fold as you wish, using a little more olive oil to seal it. Heat up the oven nice and hot and turn on the grill  and grill until golden brown and crispy (you filling is cooked and should be warm, if the filling has cooled then place the parcels into the oven at 180°c for a few minutes and then pop them under the grill)

You can serve them steaming hot, or even instead of sandwiches for school or work the next day

Monday, January 10, 2011

Feb 2011 Sushi Club - Make Your Own

So for some time now people have been discussing doing a sushi course of some sort as our sushi club event. After overhearing some vague details at a party I contacted BlowFish and got some more information:

p.s. Everything in Italics below is from their press release

Blowfish Sushi Courses
The Japanese consider food an art and it is said that it should be viewed with
appreciation. The art of Sushi making has been refined and perfected by their people.
Therefore we use our best sushi chefs to teach the age old secrets and techniques of sushi
making. This unique concept has been voted as one of Cape Town’s top team-building
exercises. This 2 hour sushi lesson in which students are thought all five types of Sushi is
not only fun but you’ll be thought a new skill which you can entertain you guests with at
home. We would like to invite you to join us in orchestrating your own masterpieces. To
avoid disappointment please contact Blowfish to make your booking in advance.
Introductory Course
Blowfish provides all materials and products needed for the course. Each person will cut,
roll and garnish their own platter and enjoy their masterpieces at the end of the evening.
• Basic information on Sushi making
• Garnish making (Cucumber garnishing)
• Sashimi Slicing
• Nigiri Making
• Maki Rolling
• Californian Rolling
R275 per person, maximum 20 people per lesson.
The classes are first and last Thursday of the month. Now if we can get 10+ people we can have our own private lesson so, after some twitter discussion, I figured if we can get the 10+ then the date will be anounced closer to the time, most likely Monday 28 February 2011.

So you just need to sign up in the comments section and go!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Best of 2010

Well a few bloggers have done this and so I decided, why not? It gives me a chance to see what really stood out for me this year and maybe get some feedback from my readers.

My most read blog post of 2010:
Red Velvet Cupcakes with 959 Pageviews

My greatest foodie achievement of 2010:
Winning the Fairview bloggers challenge

My proudest moment:
Watching the results of the Ready Steady Cook challenge come to life

Homemade product that beats shop bought:
Thai sweet chilli sauce

Favourite restaurant reviewed:
Without a doubt La Mouette

That is all I can think of for now, if you want me to add any links as a question I can answer with a link :)