Monday, April 29, 2013

Ultimate Chocolate Biscuits

I've long been on the look out for the ultimate chocolate biscuit recipe--fudgy, chewy, moist and not too over the top. The Woolworths supermarket bakery has these fantastic chocolate biscuits that are like sinking your teeth into chocolate mud cake, and I have always wanted the recipe. I finally found something similar and oh so delicious. It's probably the best home made chocolate biscuit I've ever had the pleasure to devour, along with  another favourite of mine, the Chocolate Crinkle Biscuit. I've adapted the recipe from here, where it has a five out of five star rating and over 250 reviews to back it up. I knew I couldn't go wrong there. It's sort of one of those fail proof recipes I think. It doesn't have any fancy ingredients and it's super quick and easy to make. The hard part is waiting for them to cool on the rack. My little son literally danced on the spot for 10 minutes waiting for them to cool he was so excited, and then announced "These are delicious! thanks babe!" His father has taught him well!


1 1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 1/4 cups plain flour
1 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 tsp baking soda or bicarb soda
pinch  salt
1 1/2 cups chocolate bits

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line two baking trays with baking paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, place the butter and the sugar and beat until light and fluffy and well combined. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well. Add the flour, cocoa powder, soda and the salt and mix into the butter mixture with a spoon until incorporated. Fold the chocolate chips through this mixture.
Scoop heaped teaspoons of this mixture onto the prepared trays, spacing them a few inches apart to make room for spreading. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Biscuits will be soft and puffed up, and will flatten on cooling. Cool for 5 minutes on the trays before removing with a spatula and placing on a cooling rack until completely cool.

Makes between 40-50 depending on the size of your scoop!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lime Cheesecake Ice Cream with Raspberry Swirl

It's a little experiment that turned out oh so right.
This thick, creamy cheese cake ice cream, infused with lime and rippling with raspberry puree, has a lovely biscuit base mimicking the real deal and tastes sublime. It's rich and decadent and smooth, and the flavours of the lime and raspberry together are just meant to be. There's nothing quite like home made!

LIME CHEESECAKE ICE CREAM WITH RASPBERRY SWIRL (Adapted from The Perfect Scoop By David Lebovitz)

1 lime
125ml (1/2 cup) full cream milk
225g cream cheese, room temperature
250g sour cream
pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup raspberries
green coloured food dye (optional)
3 scotch finger biscuits, crushed

Finely grate the zest of one lime into a small bowl containing the milk. Stand for half an hour to infuse. Meanwhile, cut the lime in half and juice. With a small spoon, scoop out the green fleshy part of the lime and also add this to the juice.
In a food blender or processor, place the cream cheese, sour cream, salt, vanilla and sugar, as well as the juice and flesh of the lime. Add the milk and zest. Process until well combined, then place in the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour.
Add the food colouring.
Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions until the mixture forms a thick ice cream. While churning, place the crushed biscuits in the base of the container you are using to store the ice cream. Puree the raspberries and set aside. Spread the churned and frozen ice cream over the biscuit layer when removed from the ice cream machine. Swirl the raspberry puree through the ice cream and place in the freezer until firm. Serve with raspberries or more lime zest if desired.

Makes about 700ml

Monday, April 22, 2013

Grilled Smashed Potatoes

I've been making these beauties for a while. They're a nice spin on the more plain "potatoes in their jackets", as my mum used to call them, and take almost as little time. Best of all, you can add whatever delicious toppings you want and get really creative. Chicken parmigiana smashed potatoes? Go for it!
My husband and I are avid potato lovers, so we thoroughly enjoy having these as a side dolloped with sour cream, alongside the fresh greens and meat. It's also a kid friendly and kid approved dinner side, so that is always popular when you have fussy little undeveloped taste buds in the house.  

They bring back childhood memories of camping with the family, wrapping potatoes in aluminium foil and burying them under the coals of the campfire, to later find them cooked--and then we proceeded to lather them in melting butter.

Here I have spun over to Kate's Kitchen for inspiration for the Secret Recipe Club Reveal this month and found Grilled Smashed Potatoes. I've added bacon  and tomato pasta style sauce to the recipe, and I've just sizzled them under the hot grill because unlike Kate, I don't have a grill basket (I'm not even sure what that is). They are delicious! Don't stand for plain-jane jacket potatoes any longer!

GRILLED SMASHED POTATOES (Adapted from Kate's Kitchen)

Washed and brushed potatoes, skins left on
Diced bacon
Tomato Sauce (pasta style)
Grated tasty cheese
Sour cream

Boil the potatoes until tender.
While they are cooking, heat up a little oil in a fry pan and cook the bacon until browned.
Remove the cooked potatoes from water and set on some aluminium foil on the grill tray. Set the grill to high to heat. Meanwhile, using a potato masher, gently crush eat potato downwards. (Don't mash it right up, you still want it to basically be in one, crushed piece.) Spread about 1 tablespoon of tomato sauce on each potato. Sprinkle the potatoes with herbs and lastly the grated cheese.
Grill until golden and bubbling, and serve immediately topped with a dollop of sour cream.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Chicken Bacon Meatballs

It's been a pretty strange six months for me. Being pregnant has thrown out my whole cooking roll--my sweet tooth, my insatiable desire to create and taste and share. This could be an explaination for my 18 month old daughter waking up at 2 am and repeatedly crying "Cupcake! Cupcake! Cake!"
Withdrawal symptoms.
Really, all I want to do is sleep, or put my feet up, or shop online for things I'll never use and clothes that will probably never fit me.
Savory food seems more appealing--as does green stuff and everything on the healthier side of life.
Got to get my mojo back.
Last weekend I had a catering job for a cocktail party and made these delicious meatballs. Chicken meatballs, to be precise, and good thing it wasn't my party or I wouldn't have stopped eating them until the plate was clean. They're full of simple goodies like bacon and herbs and smothered in a little tomato paste--and oh--chicken mince now stops my heart. I think I'm in love with it.
I've only worked with chicken mince for one recipe before. It was when I was working as cook at this adorable cafe called the Marmalade Deli. It was a quaint, shabby chic little place  that felt like your own, and we served these amazing Chicken Burgers. I will share the coveted recipe some time soon, as I have some more chicken mince in the freezer to be devoured. In the meantime, here's the recipe for the chicken bacon meatballs, which make a fantastic appetizer for any party or gathering. They were raved about.

CHICKEN BACON MEATBALLS (Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

2 slices bread, torn up into small pieces (fresh or stale is fine, should make 1 cup)
1/3 cup milk
2 rashers bacon, very finely diced
1 small red onion, very finely diced
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
salt and pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
500g chicken mince
2 heaped tbsp tomato paste, divided
1 tbsp dried parsley (or 3 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley)
1/2 -3/4 cup dried breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 200C.
In a small bowl, place the shredded bread and milk, and leave it to soak for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the diced bacon, onion and garlic in half of the oil. Season with salt and pepper and cook over a medium heat until the onion is softened. Set aside off the heat.
Drain any excess milk from the bread, squeezing out what you can. Discard the milk.
In a large bowl, place this bread with the bacon mixture, beaten egg, the mince, 1 heaped tablespoon of the tomato paste and the parsley. Combine until thoroughly incorporated. Sprinkle a little of the dried breadcrumbs over the mixture. If the mixture seems too wet to make into balls, add more breadcrumbs. Roll into approximately 50 balls and place on two baking paper lined trays. In a small bowl, combine the last tablespoon of oil with the last tablespoon of tomato paste and stir until incorporated. Brush the tops of each meatball with this paste, and place in the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Serve warm.

NOTES: these meatballs freeze well, and are perfect as a prepare ahead appetizer.