Sunday, 25 March 2012

Coconut Macaroons

Macaroons NOT Macarons

I have to admit when I look at a recipe - if the list of ingredients is too long it tends to put me off.  Equally if a recipe uses lots of eggs and then only the yolks or the whites are included I feel this is a waste and like to use the whole egg if possible.

So when I was thinking about taking part in the AlphaBakes Challenge for the letter "M" this month I thought these coconut Macaroons would be wonderful - few ingredients and only uses two egg whites.

The trouble was I had gotten the whole thing confused I needed an ingredient starting with the letter "M" not a recipe with "M" in the title.  Anyway I decided to make them anyway and they turned out great.

This simple little treat comes from Margaret Fulton's "Book of Mixer and Blender Cooking" that she launched in Australia back in 1982 - a handy little "all colour" supermarket book that was convenient to carry around with you while you shopped. It has sat on my bookshelf for a long time - I remember it was very well used back in the 80's and now when I look at some of the recipes they take on a "retro" feel.

2 egg whites
2/3 cup caster sugar
12/3 cups desiccated coconut
rice paper (I used plain baking/greaseproof paper)
5 glace cherries quartered

Top Tip: Don't have the oven too hot and if yours is fan forced they will cook much quicker mine were quite brown after only 20mins and I took them out.

Whisk the egg whites on high speed until just stiff. (I used my little old hand held mixer - I was feeling in a retro mood)
Whisk in the sugar
Mix in the coconut on medium speed
Place heaped teaspoonfuls of the mixture on a baking tray lined with the rice/greaseproof paper
Top each with a glace cherry piece 

Bake in a preheated moderate oven 160C (325F) for 30mins or less depending on your oven.
Leave on the baking tray until cold then tear off the paper.  

Makes 18 to 20 (mine made 19!)

They were lovely and crisp but chewy - the man loved them! 

Even though I had misunderstood the challenge I thought I would send in the recipe anyway to Ros or is it Caroline?!

Monday, 12 March 2012

Butternut Pumpkin and Feta Loaf

Warm Pumpkin and Feta Loaf with lashings of butter!

 There seems to have been a lot of bread making going on lately and I must say I am loving it, with recipes from The view from Great IslandGoddess on a Budget, A Trifle Rushed or Belleau Kitchen these have to inspire you to put the oven on.  

So while I had my Donna Hay " Seasons" book down last week preparing for the Random Recipe Challenge at Belleau Kitchen I was taken with her Pumpkin and Feta Loaf. This was very easy and the end result was amazing. In fact I don't know why I bothered cooking anything else we could have eaten this bread as a meal on its own, I couldn't stop until one whole loaf was demolished. 

We had most of the sister loaf toasted under the griller the next morning, the sweet pumpkin and salty feta with a fried egg on top set us up for the day.

These ingredients made two small loaves so when I made it again yesterday I halved the amount (this was to stop us eating so much of it).

Top Tip - The thing to remember is to start this bread making at least 2 hours in advance.  I am very good at scanning the recipe to make sure I have all the ingredients but neglect to read how long it is going to take me. So the first effort I was trying to beat the clock the whole time and we ate quite late! The man was very grumpy and it took all my strength to stop him hitting the cheese and biscuits before I got this on the table!

400g pumpkin peeled and chopped into cubes
2 teaspoons olive oil
salt and cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 160C(320F) Place pumpkin, oil, salt and pepper in a bowl and toss to coat. Roast in the oven on a baking tray for about 15mins or until tender.  Put aside.

2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup (125ml) warm water
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 cup (125ml) olive oil, extra
1/2 cup milk (125ml) milk
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary leaves
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons caster sugar
3 cups (450g) plain flour, sifted
200g soft feta crumbled.

Put yeast and water in a bowl and stir to combine.  Allow to stand in a wam place for 10 mins until the mixture starts to foam.

Put onions, extra oil, milk, eggs, rosemary, salt and sugar in a food processor or blender and wiz till smooth.

Mix flour, onion mixture and frothy yeast in a bowl and stir well to combine. Cover the bowl and allow to stand in a warm place for 1 hour or until the dough doubles in size.  Now you can understand how tense the kitchen was!

Original dough mix
Dough doubled in size

Add pumpkin to the dough, crumble in the feta and mix to combine.

Now Donna tells me to spoon the dough into a lightly greased 2 litre loaf tin.  I didn't have that size so mine went into two 1 litre tins and I baked for 1 hour or thereabouts.  Test with a skewer to see if its cooked. Cool for 10 mins or so before removing from the tin. Both tins would serve 12 easy. This is a very "scone like" texture when cut and cuts better when cool if you can wait that long.

I cooked this again yesterday (only half the ingredients) and this time I used Wallaby Bakers Unbeached Flour instead of just plain flour which gave it more of a bready texture. Still absolutely delish!

Magnolia or Max?

It has been brought to my attention that sometimes I appear on "blog comments" as Magnolia Verandah and sometimes as Big Maxy the border collie!

It seems "Blogger" compatriots get Magnolia and "Wordpress" counterparts get Max.  This seems to have come about as I have an old Wordpress blog for Max set up as an assignment at a Uni course I was doing back in 2009. I thought it would be unused, but with more and more bloggers turning to wordpress Max seems to be getting a run!

You can rest assured whoever comments we both appreciate the content and the food!

Friday, 2 March 2012

Olive Crusted Veal with Feta Mash - Yumo!

Albeit I am still a novice at this challenge thing - I am up for it again at Belleau Kitchen random recipes.

 I do as I am told, so counted along to 17 and there poking out was Donna Hay's "Seasons"  - totally in the wrong place squeezed between my two Kylie Kwongs.

Here was the omen (or maybe divine intervention from above) and I took it down excitedly. I love Donna! This "Seasons" is quite a big book - beautifully photographed in very much my style - casual but stylish, photos that make you want to cook what's on the page.  Seasonal food grouped into spring, summer, autumn and winter sections, presented on what feels like recycled paper, that is not afraid of greasy hands - totally comfortable that you could not spoil it.

So scan the ingredients - they look good.  The man is bound to like this, I thought. (It's so much better when the effort is appreciated, don't you think). But all he said was "chops and mash?" "Emm not fussed about mashed potatoes" and walked away.


3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/3 chopped green olives
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
50g butter melted

sea salt and cracked pepper
4 x 125g veal cutlets (no veal at the supermarket settled for lovely small lamb ones)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

For the feta mash
1 kg sebago (starchy) potatoes, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup of milk
    150g feta crumbled
    1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives
    1/4 cup olive oil
    Sea salt and cracked pepper

Get all your ingredients weighed and sorted then preheat the oven to 200C (390F).

Add melted butter to the crumb mix
Put potatoes into cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 20mins or until potatoes are tender when tested with fork.  Drain and mash until smooth. Add milk, oil stir to combine. Stir in crumbled feta, Kalamata olives, salt and pepper to taste and keep warm.  

Combine breadcrumbs, olives, parsley, butter, salt and pepper in a bowl. 
Grease an oven tray lightly
Brush chops with mustard and press into the crumb mixture.

Roast for 12 -15 mins or until golden. Serve with mash - this is enough for 4.

Whip the mash with wooden spoon

lovely little trimmed lamb cutlets
Olive crusted lamb with feta mash

I put the plate on the table - no comment - started to eat - no comment - then he said " This is absolutely sensational, a wonderful unusual blend of flavours, the mash is gorgeous, the crumbed coating crispy, just how I like it."  I was very happy.  "This was such a good meal for a Friday night - sets the scene for the weekend" he said.  Looks like its going to be a good one! So nice for the effort to be appreciated.

A couple of bottles from the cellar went very well with dinner