Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Chocolate Oatmeal Biscuits

When I opened this month's Delicious magazine I knew straight away that I must try these.

I wasn't disappointed. These are seriously good biscuits. Crunchy on the outside, slightly chewy in the middle and very chocolatey. They are divine when eaten still warm from the oven and the chocolate is still melted.

They are really simple to make. A standard biscuit recipe. The Delicious recipe also adds hazelnuts. I'm not a fan of nuts in sweet foods (other than chocolate coated almonds and hazelnut praline and okay fruit and nut chocolate, but other than that.....) so I left them out.

Chocolate Oatmeal Biscuits
(from Delicious Magazine January 2007)

Beat 125 gm of unsalted butter, 1/2 cup caster sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 tspn of vanilla extract until pale and thick. Beat in 1 egg. Fold in 11/4 cup oats and 1 cup plain flour, 1/2 tspn of baking powder, 1/2 tspn of bicarbonate of soda and 1/2 tspn of salt sifted together. Fold in 175 gm of chopped chocolate. Place 1 tbspn balls of dough about 4cm apart on a lined baking tray. Flatten slightly. Bake for about ten minutes or until golden in a 170C oven.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream

It's mid-summer here in Australia and that can only mean one thing. Ice cream and lots of it. It is about the only thing that keeps me going when the temperature hits 35C for about the fifth day in a row. Even the local swimming pool is like a bath at the moment.

This is a lovely ice cream. Intensely creamy with a welcome tart twang of raspberry. What could be better. The creaminess actually surprised me. The ice cream recipe I usually use is made with 100% cream. I always thought that using milk would make the ice cream too watery. I was wrong.

All in all, it's a pretty standard ice cream recipe, but the result looks spectacular.

If you do not like particularly sweet things, this recipe would be perfect for you. For myself, I will add a touch more sugar next time.

Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream
(by Tessa Kiros from Apples for Jam)

Heat 250ml of milk gently, to just before boiling point. Whisk three eggs with 120gm of caster sugar and 1 tspn of vanilla extract until they are smooth and creamy.

Whisk hot milk into the egg mix. Return to a low heat and continue whisking until the mix has thickened slightly. Remove from the heat and whisk in 500 ml of single pouring cream. Leave to cool completely.

For the raspberry puree, bring 125ml of water, 40gm of caster sugar and the juice of half a lemon to the boil. Simmer over low heat unitl it has reduced. Remove from the heat and add 250gm of raspberries. Puree until smooth and then strain to remove the seeds. Cool completely.

Churn the custard mix in an ice cream machine. Transfer to a freezer container and swirl through the raspberry puree. Freeze completely.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Jam Shortbread

More shortbread, I'm afraid. I just can't help myself at this time of year. For me, shortbread and Christmas are inseperable. Every year my Mum would buy a tin of danish shortbread for Christmas Day. There were six or seven different types in little stacks of four or five and there was two layers in every tin. It was a highlight.

These shortbread biscuits in Apples for Jam (by Tessa Kiros) looked so good. I couldn't resist. They are exactly the sort of thing I would have relished as a child.

And how were they? Well, not bad. They tasted fine. But they were a bit too soft for my liking. I like crunchy crisp shortbread. I also did not use enough jam. The flavour was a bit lost in amongst all the biscuit. I used two types of jam - mango and passionfruit and blackberry. Surpisingly enough, the mango and passionfruit gave the best result in my opinion. The tanginess of the jam cut through the sweetness of the biscuit to give a lovely contrast.

On the plus side, they were easy enough to make. Tessa notes that the top layer of dough can be difficult to get into the tin. I got around this by rolling the dough onto a sheet of baking paper. Then I rolled both layers around the rolling pin and then unwound it across the top of the baking tin dough side down. Next, I pulled the paper very gently off the dough, using a blunt knife to prise the dough off in any sticky patches. It worked beautifully.

Jam Shortbread
(by Tessa Kiros from Apples for Jam)

Mix together 100gm of soft butter and 100gm of caster sugar. Work in 200gm of plain flour and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. Add one lightly beaten egg and a few drops of vanilla.
Knead until smooth and rest in the refrigerator for half an hour.

Divide the dough in two and roll out both halves to fit a 30cm by 40cm baking tin, lined with baking paper. Fill the tray with one layer of dough. Spread with about 2/3 cup of jam. Add second layer of dough (see suggestion above).

Bake in 170C oven for 15 minutes. Leave to cool in the tray for 5 minutes. Cut into shapes with a cutter or a knife.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

I hope that you had a very Merry Christmas and are enjoying the new year. I have just returned from Central Queensland where I spent two weeks lying on the couch, reading books, watching cricket and eating, eating, eating.

Here a few images to share the Christmas joy.

My Mum's Christmas cake.

One of my favourite fruits and a reason why I just love this time of year.

The cheap and easy gift of choice this year it seems. I was literally drowning in Cadbury boxes. Not that I was complaining. The turkish delights disappeared in short order. The rest took a little longer.

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