Tag Archives: easy

Today’s cake – Italian apple cake

The Marito is a big apple dessert fan, and I used to make this cake for him regularly when we first got married.  But somehow I forgot about it, and recently finding myself with excess apples, made it and remembered how good it was.  It’s almost custard like in the centre.  I have used Granny Smith and Golden Delicious for this, but you could also use a mixture of varieties depending what you have in the fridge.   Strega is an Italian liquor (and a favourite of Mamma Rosa) the addition of which is optional.

applecake

Ingredients
5 medium apples
Juice of 1 large lemon
Grated rind of 1 large lemon
4 eggs
150g plain flour
150g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt.
20ml Strega liquor
100g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Icing sugar for dusting

Making it
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees fan forced. Grease a 20cm cake tine and line the base with baking paper.

2. Core and peel the apples, halve and slice thinly. Place in a bowl and cover with the lemon juice.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until thick and fluffy. Add the lemon rind and Strega and combine.

4. Gently fold in the flour, baking powder and sale. Carefully drizzle in the melted butter and gently combine, then finally add the apples and gently fold in.

5. Place the mixture in the prepared tin and level it out. Bake four about 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. If the cake is browning too much on the top and not cooked in centre, cover with foil. Remove from oven, rest in tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

Lychee granita with mango, ice cream and mint

This very easy and lovely little recipe which appeared in Good Food just before Christmas is a perfect Summer refreshing dessert.  I personally prefer Kensington Pride mangoes, but you can use any variety you like. Serves four.

lycheegranita

Ingredients
Vanilla ice-cream
3 mangoes, peeled and diced
Handful of baby mint leaves
1 quantity lychee granita

For the lychee granita
560g tin lychees
30g castor sugar
1½ tsp fresh lime juice

Making it
1. Drain lychees, reserving the tin liquid, and purée in a whiz or food processor until very fine. Strain through a fine sieve into a 250ml cup measure; add liquid from tin to fill the cup.

2. In a small pot, gently heat sugar in 30ml water until dissolved. Allow to cool.

3. Combine purée, sugar syrup and lime juice to taste. Pour into a shallow metal container and place in the freezer. When almost frozen, scrape with a fork to create a fluffy texture then return to the freezer so that it is fully frozen.

4. Place a scoop of ice-cream in a chilled glass, then a spoonful of mango, a few mint leaves and a spoonful of granita. Repeat. Garnish with mint

My sugar free granola

A new year has rolled round and with that comes the usual spate of resolutions.  Eat less, exercise more, read something vaguely intelligent, buy less stuff and so on.  On the eat less front, sugar is something we are told should be high on the list.  Fats are not necessarily the enemy we thought, but sugar is.   One of the worst sugar culprits is often breakfast cereals, granola among them – have a look at sugar content in the supermarket and you’ll be surprised – even though we think it is ‘healthy’.

I love the texture and crunch of granola, but I’m not that keen on the sweetness.  In the pre-made ones, even if there is no added sugar, there is almost always maple syrup or honey which I don’t particularly fancy, I’d prefer to get my sweetness from fresh fruit.  After a couple of trials I came up with this version, which you could almost call savoury granola. I soaked the nuts overnight because I found they burn otherwise and taste unpleasant. You can probably use any nuts you like. The egg white is optional, but if you like “clumps” in your granola, this is an easy way to achieve it.

Ingredients
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup raw almonds, soaked overnight and drained
1/3 cup raw macadamia nuts, soaked overnight and drained
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Ground spices of your choice (I used nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon)
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 egg white, whipped to soft peaks (optional)

Making it
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees. Place the oats, nuts, and seeds in a bowl. Add the vanilla, spices, and coconut oil and stir well so that everything is coated. Add the egg white and combine. Place on an oven tray lined with baking paper and spread in a layer, and bake for about 30-35 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before placing in an airtight container and store in the fridge. Its then ready to eat any time, either with milk or yoghurt and fresh fruit, or as is as a snack.

granola-1granola-2granola-3

Roasted salmon and beetroot

This lovely and simple recipe comes courtesy of Curtis Stone’s Good Food, Good Life cookbook. In it he calls for golden beetroot, but I don’t come across them much so went for the standard red variety; I used the thinnest setting on my mandoline (0.75mm) for slicing.  He also suggests using one large 750g salmon fillet, which I tried the first time I made it, and while this looks nicer from a presentation perspective, it is easier to get an even cooking result with individual portions.  The tarragon is lovely, it is not a herb I use much, and I forgot how fragrant it is.  A nice green salad would go well on the side. Serves four.

salmonbeetroot

Ingredients
4 medium beetroot (about 500g) scrubbed and very thinly sliced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 individual salmon fillet portions
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh tarragon

Making it
1. Preheat oven to 230 degrees and line a baking tray with baking paper.

2. Toss the beetroot with 1 tablespoon of the oil, season, and lay on the baking tray slightly overlapping. Roast for 20 minutes and remove from oven

3. Place the salmon on top of the beetroot, brush with olive oil and season. In a small bowl combine the herbs and then sprinkle over the salmon. Return to the oven for about 15 minutes or until salmon cooked to medium rare (should be pink in the centre). Remove from the oven and serve.

Casarecce with asparagus and baked ricotta

With the arrival of Spring comes an abundance of Australian grown asparagus, rather than the wilted imported stuff we get a lot of the year.   Often I gently bake it with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, but that evening I felt like throwing it in some pasta.  I chose casarecce, but any short pasta will work well.  The ricotta can be done a day ahead. Serves four.

asparaguscasarecce

Ingredients
250g fresh ricotta, well drained
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
3 bunches of asparagus, cut into 3cm length
500g casarecce, or pasta of your choice

Breadcrumb topping
3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 tbps olive oil
Half a cup of finely chopped flat leaf parsley
3/4 cup finely grated parmesan
2 tbps finely graded lemon zest (optional, or to taste)

Making it
1. For the ricotta, add a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper and combine. Place in a mini cake tin or loaf pan sprayed with olive oil, and bake in a 200 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Allow to cool in tin then remove and refrigerate until ready to use.

2. For the breadcrumb topping, heat the olive oil in a small pan, and gently fry the bread crumbs until golden and crunchy. Place in a bowl and allow to cool. Add the parsley, parmesan and lemon zest and combine.

3. Blanch the asparagus for a minute in a pot of boiling water, remove with a slotted spoon, and set aside. You can then use this water to cook your pasta

4. While the pasta is cooking, in a frypan, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and fry the asparagus for 3 or so minutes. Add the drained cooked pasta once read, crumble in the baked ricotta, season and drizzle with a little more olive oil if desired, and serve. Top with the desired amount of the breadcrumb mix.

Sweet ricotta fritters

Ricotta is one of my favourite dairy products – not just because it is delicious but because it is so versatile. You’ll find lots of my recipes here contain it, both sweet and savoury.  These gorgeous little fritters are courtesy of Tobie Puttock.  However he uses sultanas, which I have skipped, and I added a little brandy instead.  I used a mini ice cream scoop to make them consistent and easy to dispense, otherwise use a tablespoon measure.  Resist the urge to make them bigger as they won’t cook in the middle.   If you don’t overcrowd the pan, they actually flip themselves over when they puff up, pretty nifty.  Serve these delightful little treats warm.

ricottafritters (2)

Ingredients
400g fresh ricotta
3 eggs
5 tablespoons of caster sugar
Grated zest of one lemon
Pinch of bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon Brandy
200g plain flour
2 cups of oil for frying
Icing sugar for dustin

Making them
Drain the ricotta and place it in a bowl with the eggs. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and brandy and beat until combined. Then add the lemon zest, bicarbonate of soda, and flour and stir well until all combined. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes to an hour.

Heat the oil in a saucepan and the scoop dollops of the dough and carefully drop them into the oil. Cook until they are a nice golden brown, turning as needed, and drain on paper towels. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

ricottafritters (1)ricottafritters (3)

Whiskey biscuits

I tore this recipe out of an issue of now defunct SBS Feast magazine to make one day, and today was that day. Such a shame they discontinued it, it was one of my favourite food magazines. If you don’t want to use whiskey, vanilla would also work or I think coffee would be nice. Very easy.

whiskey biscuits

Ingredients
120g unsalted butter, softened
55g caster sugar
2 teaspoons whiskey
1/2 teaspoon salt
120g crumbled walnuts
150g plain flour
Icing sugar, for dusting


Making it

1. Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees celsius
2. Cream the butter, sugar, whiskey and salt on low speed using a paddle attachment for 5 or so minutes, until pale and fluffy
3. Carefully fold in the walnuts and flour
4. Using a dessert spoon, gently shape into small balls. I ended up with 30 or so. Very gently flatten and put in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden
5. Allow to cool and dust with icing sugar