Monday, November 19, 2007

Sensational Chocolate Chip Cookies

After a week in Noosa where the closest I came to cooking was throwing together a sandwich or two or mashing up fruit & yoghurt for Chloe to eat, I was itching to get back into the kitchen & cook, more precisely to bake. So the day after we arrived home I was into it, baking these irresistible, melt in the mouth, cant stop eating them choc chip cookies from Bill Granger’s Sydney Food. Some were for my parents who were popping in for a visit after week long Chloe withdrawals & some were supposed to be for my Mother’s Group picnic which I didn’t make it to thanks to someone wanting their nap right in the middle of it. So unfortunately now I have a whole stack of cookies that I will have to gobble up myself, with a little help from Michael of course.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

125g unsalted butter, softened
1 ¼ cups tightly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 ½ cups plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 ½ cups chocolate bits

Preheat oven to 180c. Place butter and sugar in a bowl and beat until light & creamy. Add vanilla & egg & stir to combine. Stir in the sifted flour, baking powder and salt until just combined. Fold through chocolate chips.

Place spoonfuls of cookie mixture on a greased & lined baking tray, allowing room for spreading. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until they turn pale gold.

Allow to cool on the tray for 5 minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool further. Makes about 25

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Chunky Chorizo, Chicken & Vegetable soup

I made this soup on Sunday night, our rainy day here in Melbourne if you recall. It was fabulous & more of a stew really it was so thick & full of goodness. Michael took one look at the chicken, chorizo & bacon & asked me why I was ruining it with veggies, mmmm men hey. Myself I loved the vegetables & pasta as well as the good proportion of meat, this soup had everything. The recipe was published in Gourmet Traveller as a readers request from Belgravia at Union Bank’s, I’m guessing it’s a Sydney restaurant as I’ve never heard of it.

Chunky Chorizo, Chicken & Vegetable soup

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
200g smoked pork belly or bacon, cut into 1cm dice
3 onions, cut into 1cm dice
1 carrot, cut into 1 cm dice
2 stalks of celery, cut into 1 cm dice
1 chorizo, cut into 1 cm dice
4 free range chicken thigh fillets, cut into 2cm dice
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 400g can chopped tomatoes
750ml chicken stock
250g (1 cup) tempesta or other small pasta
150g (1 cup) green peas
2 zucchini, cut into 1 cm dice
1 400g can cannellini beans, rinsed & drained
50g baby spinach
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley or basil leaves
Finely grated parmesan to serve

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large heavy based saucepan over medium-high heat, add bacon or pork belly & cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes or until starting to colour. Add onion, carrot & celery & cook for 10 minutes, then add chorizo, chicken and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally. For 5 minutes or until chicken becomes opaque. Add tomato & stock & season to taste with sea salt & freshly ground black pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium, then cover & simmer for 10 minutes. Add pasta, peas, zucchini & beans & stir to combine, increase heat to medium-high and cook, covered for 10-12 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Remove from heat, stir through spinach, parsley & remaining olive oil. Ladle into bowls & serve with parmesan.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Ricotta, Orange & Currant Fritters

I know its been a while since my last post, I have been in quarantine with Chloe as she was exposed to the chicken pox and the incubation period is up to 21 days so have had to keep her away from most people, ie friends with babies or who come into contact with babies which is surprisingly most people we know, until we find out if she has it or not. So far so good and only a few days to go. Anyway this has meant no entertaining = no baking or cooking anything exciting & so therefore nothing to blog about. Yesterday however I decided to whip up a batch of pancakes which turned out absolutely delicious so I must share with you. The recipe came from the latest Donna Hay Spring issue. The flavours of orange & currant stood out beautifully encased in the soft & light ricotta batter & all that was really needed was the slightest squeeze of lemon juice & they were perfect. A great way to start a rainy Sunday, in fact the rainiest day we have had in about 2 years if I heard right.

Ricotta, Orange & Currant Fritters

1 cup (150g) plain flour, sifted
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder, sifted
1/3 (73 1/3g) cup caster sugar
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon finely grated orange rind
½ cup (75g) currants
2 eggs, separated
unsalted butter for greasing
icing sugar for dusting
lemon edges to serve

Place, the flour, baking powder & sugar in a large bowl & mix to combine. Add the ricotta, milk, orange rind, currants & egg yolks & mix to combine. Place the egg whites in a bowl & whisk until stiff peaks form. Fold through the ricotta & flour mixture. Heat a lightly greased frying pan over medium heat. Cook 2 tablespoons of the mixture in batches for 2-3 minutes each side or until puffed & golden. Dust with icing sugar & serve with lemon wedges.