Sunday, August 26, 2007

Pecan, Honey & Caramel Slice

My mum was not well this week & had to have a small op so I wanted to cheer her up, so as well as taking her a lovely drought tolerant plant for the garden (instead of flowers which just die) & a box of Ferrero Rochers (Michael bought back 3 mega boxes from NZ which I did not want to consume all by myself) a home baked treat was also in order, she loves a pecan pie so I thought this recipe sounded right up her alley. This is a Belinda Jeffrey recipe from Delicious Magazine and believe me its very good & dead easy to make as well.

Pecan, Honey & Caramel Slice

2 cups plain flour
½ firmly packed cup (100g) brown sugar
180g chilled unsalted butter, chopped

Pecan topping
125g unsalted butter
1 cup firmly packed (200g) brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 ½ tablespoons pure (thin) cream
250g pecans, sliced lengthways
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180c. Grease and line a 4cm deep, 21 x 30cm slice pan with baking paper, allowing the paper to extend slightly over the edges of the longer sides. Whiz the flour, sugar & ½ teaspoon salt in a food processor for 15 seconds. Add butter and whiz until mixture resembles damp sand. Tip into pan & pat out evenly over the base. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.

Towards the end of baking time, make the topping. Melt the butter in a heavy based pan over medium heat. Add sugar, honey, cream & ¼ teaspoon salt & stir for 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil then reduce heat to medium low & stir for a further minute. Stir in the pecans & vanilla, then remove from the heat & keep warm.

Remove base from oven & stand for 1-2 minutes, then spread warm pecan mix evenly over the top. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until topping is bubbling & deep golden. Place the pan on a rack & cool completely. Once cool, slice & store in an airtight container for up to 5 days in a cool spot.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Pear & Macadamia Nut Crumble

It may seem that all I am doing is eating sugar & butter laden sweets lately but that is not true, its just that my dinners have not made it to the blog world. For instance this week Michael was in NZ on business for a few days so I ate food from my freezer that I had cooked before (not horrible package meals), or food my mum made for me. I did also make a big batch of my tomato & lentil soup. So here is this weeks sweet fix, this is a great crumble recipe that really stands out, in part due to the spiciness of the pears & secondly the addition of macadamia nuts really make this one a winner. The recipe comes from Surfing the Menu.

Pear & Macadamia Nut Crumble

8 Williams pears, peeled, cored & quartered
100g caster sugar
finely grated zest & juice of 1 orange
1 stick of cinnamon
1 vanilla pod, split in half lengthways


280g plain flour
125g caster sugar
100g roasted & crushed macadamia nuts
125g butter, softened

Vanilla ice cream, to serve

Place the pears in a medium saucepan with the sugar, zest, juice, cinnamon & vanilla bean. Cook, covered over a moderate heat until the pears are tender, but not mushy, about 20 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick & vanilla pod.

Preheat the oven to 170c & grease an ovenproof dish (30cm x 8cm & 8cm deep). Spoon the pears into the prepared dish.

For the crumble, combine flour & sugar & nuts in a bowl. Add the butter and using your fingers, rub in until evenly distributed. Scatter over the pears & transfer the dish to the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on top. Serve warm with ice cream.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

White Chocolate Cheesecake

Here is a recipe for a fantastic no fuss, no cook cheesecake from my favourite desert man Bill Granger from Bills Food. I know I have been a bit slack in the posting lately but it seems that I can’t quite muster much enthusiasm for blogging lately, I have gone from one extreme to the other. I am still cooking up a storm & eating lots of fantastic food, I'm just keeping it all to myself for now, sorry…

White Chocolate Cheesecake

100g plain sweet biscuits
50g butter, melted
250ml (1 cup) cream
250g cream cheese
250g mascarpone cheese
125g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
500g white chocolate, melted
Passionfruit pulp

Process the biscuits in a food processor until they look like breadcrumbs. Add the melted butter, process briefly, then tip the mixture into a 20cm (8 inch) springform tin lined with a disc of baking paper. Press firmly into the base of the tin, then place in the fridge until needed.

Using electric beaters, whisk the cream, cream cheese, mascarpone, sugar & chocolate together until smooth. Pour onto the biscuit base & put back in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight. Serve drizzled with passionfruit pulp & cut into wedges.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Coconut Muesli

I found another recipe for muesli in Marie Claire Luscious, this one is possibly even nicer than the Bill Granger recipe & uses mostly maple syrup with a bit of vegetable oil instead of a load of butter so has a lot less fat though of course is higher in sugar, so take your pick of poison. I will keep on alternating & changing the fruit in each batch for a bit of variety too, I cant get enough of the home made stuff, much nicer than anything from the shops.

Coconut Muesli

400g (4 cups) rolled oats
125g (1 cup) unsalted sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
125g (1 cup) slivered almonds
120g (2 cups) shredded coconut
250ml (3/4 cup) maple syrup
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
40g (1/4 cup) finely sliced dried peaches
35g (1/4 cup) finely sliced dried mango

Preheat the oven to 150c. Put the oats, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, almonds & coconut in a large bowl & mix well. Heat the maple syrup & oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Pour the warm mixture over the muesli & stir so that the grains & seeds are all well covered.

Spread the mixture over 2 baking trays & bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, and swapping the trays around in the oven halfway through baking. Remove from oven & cool. Transfer to a large bowl, add fruit & toss well. Makes about 1.2kg, enough for about 12 serves. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 month.