Thursday, May 22, 2014

TROPICAL FRUIT – Yes we have gone troppo! But this one is for all our readers in the Northern Hemisphere who can enjoy the fruits of the summer season.

Macadamia biscuit ice cream sandwiches
Makes 10

• 125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 2/3 cup (150g) raw sugar
• 1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg 
3/4 cup (110g) plain flour 
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
11/4 cups (110g) rolled oats
1 cup (150g) salted macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
Selection of store-bought flavoured ice cream (we used coconut, passionfruit and strawberry)

1. Preheat oven to 180ºC. Combine butter and sugar in a bowl. Using electric beaters, beat until thick and pale. Add vanilla and egg, then beat until combined.
2. Sift together the flour and bicarbonate of soda. Add the flour mixture, oats and
macadamia nuts to the creamed butter and sugar, and stir to combine.
3. Line 2 baking tray with baking paper and place tablespoonfuls of mixture on the trays, flattening to 1/2 cm thick.
4. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden and crisp. Allow to cool on trays.
5. To serve, sandwich the ice cream between the biscuits. Serve immediately
or keep in the freezer.

Homemade lemonade ice pops
You will need eight 1/3 cup (80ml) ice block moulds for this recipe.

Makes 8  

• 1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
• 1/2 cup (125ml) lemon juice
• 11/2 cups roughly chopped tropical fruit (cut to fit your moulds – such as papaya, pineapple, mango, star fruit, lychee, kiwifruit and passionfruit)

1. Combine the sugar and 1 cup (250ml) water in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. 

2. Once cooled, add the lemon juice. 
3. Divide the fruit among the ice block moulds, pressing the cut surfaces against the sides. Pour over the homemade lemonade, then cover and place in the freezer for at least 6 hours or overnight until frozen and set. 
4. Remove the ice blocks from the moulds to serve.

Passionfruit & white chocolate eclairs
Makes 16

• 2 cups (500ml) milk

1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped 
3 eggs, lightly beaten, plus 6 extra egg yolks 
1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar 
1 cup (150g) plain flour
60g unsalted butter 
Pulp from 3 large passionfruit, 1 tbs strained passionfruit juice (from 2 passionfruit) 
1 cup (150g) icing sugar, sifted
200g white chocolate, melted 
1 tbs light olive oil

1. To make the passionfruit custard, place milk and vanilla pod and seeds in a saucepan over low heat and bring to a simmer. Combine the egg yolks, sugar and 1/4 cup (35g) flour in a bowl and whisk until light and creamy. Discard the vanilla pod and gradually pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly until combined.

2. Return custard to the saucepan over low heat and cook, whisking constantly, for 8-10 minutes until thickened. 
3. Transfer to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin forming
and chill for 2-3 hours.

4. Preheat oven to 230°C. Place butter and 3/4 cup (185ml) water in a saucepan over medium heat until the butter has melted. Bring to the boil. Add the remaining 3/4 cup (110g) flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2-3 minutes until the mixture forms a smooth ball. Set dough aside to cool slightly. 
5. Place dough in a large bowl, add beaten egg, a little at a time, beating well with
electric beaters after each addition until smooth. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle and pipe sixteen 8cm lengths onto a baking paper-lined
baking tray.

6. Sprinkle eclairs with water and bake for 7 minutes. Reduce oven to 180°C
and cook for a further 20-25 minutes until golden. Pierce one short side of each eclair with a skewer and set aside to dry and cool.

7. Remove custard from fridge, fold through the passionfruit pulp and return to fridge for 1 hour to set. Place custard in a piping bag fitted with a plain 1cm nozzle. Pipe custard into the holes in the eclairs. 
8. To make the passionfruit icing, combine the icing sugar and passionfruit juice in a bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a fine nozzle and set aside.
9. Combine the white chocolate and oil in a bowl, and stir until smooth.10. Dip the top of each eclair into the white chocolate and place on a sheet of baking
paper. Drizzle the passionfruit icing, back and forth across the eclairs, then run a
bamboo skewer up and down the length of the eclairs to create a marbling effect.
10.  Allow the icing to set, then serve.

Fruit skewers with gingersnap crumbs and coconut cream
You can use any fruit – select varieties with contrasting colours and flavours.
Serves 4

• 1/2 cup (125ml) thickened cream 
1/2 cup (125ml) coconut cream 
1/2 cup coconut sugar (see TFD facts)
125g gingersnap biscuits 
1 each mango, kiwifruit and banana 
2 star fruit 
1 tamarillo or peach 
1/2 papaya 
1/2 small pineapple

1. Soak 12 wooden skewers in water for 15 minutes. 

2. Combine thickened cream, coconut cream and 1 tsp coconut sugar in a bowl and whisk until the cream has thickened. Chill until ready to serve. 
3. Whiz the biscuits in a food processor until fine crumbs, then set aside until ready to serve. 
4. Slice the fruit into equal-sized pieces and thread onto skewers. Place the skewers on a baking tray lined with foil and sprinkle the fruit with half the remaining coconut sugar. 
5. Using a blowtorch, brulee the fruit until the sugar has melted and caramelised. (Alternatively, place skewers under a hot grill, turning, for 4 minutes or until caramelised.)
 6. Sprinkle the remaining coconut sugar over the fruit and brulee again until a deep golden colour. 
7. Serve skewers immediately with coconut cream and gingersnap crumbs.

the food dept fact: Coconut sugar is extracted from the bud of a coconut palm and has a caramel flavour. It's available from supermarkets and health food shops; substitute brown sugar.

Black sticky rice with chilli caramel mango
Begin this recipe 1 day ahead.

Serves 6
• 11/2 cups (300g) black sticky rice
(see TFD facts)

3 pandan leaves tied in a knot 
1 cup (270g) finely grated dark palm sugar, plus 2 tbs extra 
3 large mangoes 
1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes 
1 cup (250ml) coconut cream

1. Soak the rice in cold water overnight.
2. Drain and rinse under cold running water until the water runs clear.
Combine the rice, 3 cups (370ml) water, pandan leaves and a pinch of salt in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Simmer for 35 minutes or until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender.
3. Remove from the heat, cover and leave to steam for a further 15 minutes. Discard the pandan leaves.
4. Combine the palm sugar and 1/3 cup (80ml) boiling water in a heatproof bowl and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Stir three quarters of the palm sugar syrup through the rice, reserving the remaining to serve. Cover the rice to keep warm.
5. Cut the cheeks from the mangoes and sprinkle with chilli and extra palm sugar.
6. Drizzle the rice with coconut cream and remaining palm sugar syrup, then serve with mango cheeks.

the food dept fact: Black sticky (glutinous rice) and pandan leaves are available from Asian grocers.

This story was originally published in ABC delicious magazine.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

HAPPY EASTER! Hope it's a chocolatey one.

the food dept’s hazelnut concorde cake
Serves 10-12

• 2 tablespoons corn flour
1/3 cup Dutch cocoa
10 egg whites, at room temperature
a pinch salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2½ cups caster sugar
1 cup hazelnut meal
1 qty Chocolate mousse
extra, Dutch cocoa for dusting
1. Preheat oven to 100C (200F). Sift the corn flour and cocoa together and set aside.
2. Place the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat until soft peaks. Gradually add the caster sugar, a little at a time, until stiff peaks form and sugar has dissolved.
3. Using a spatula gently fold the sifted corn flour and cocoa through the egg whites until just combined.
4. Fill a large piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm plain nozzle and pipe 12 x 30cm lengths onto a lined baking tray.
5. Return any of the meringue from the piping bag to the remaining chocolate meringue mixture in the bowl, set aside the piping bag (there’s no need to wash it). Gently fold through the hazelnut meal and place back into the piping bag.
6. Draw 4 x 19cm discs on lined oven trays. Starting in the center pipe outwards in a spiral, repeat 3 times to create 4 discs. Bake the discs and lengths for 2 hours. Turn off the oven and allow the meringues to cool in the oven.
7. To assemble the cake, attach the bottom layer of the cake to a platter with some Chocolate mousse. Place 1 cup of the mousse on the disc and smooth out with a palate knife. Repeat with the remaining mousse and meringue until you have 4 layers. Coat the entire cake with the remaining mousse.
8. Break up the meringue lengths, none shorter than the height of the cake. Sprinkle with extra cocoa and arrange around the side of the cake.
9. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to set the mousse.

Chocolate mousse

250g 70% cocoa chocolate
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature, diced
4 egg yolks
6 eggs whites, at room temperature
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
¼ cup caster sugar

1. To make the chocolate mousse place the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water and gently stir until melted.  Remove the bowl from the heat and gently mix the butter through the chocolate a few pieces at a time until it is incorporated.
2. Add the egg yolks one at a time and mix well.
3. Place the egg whites, salt and cream of tarter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the caster sugar and beat until stiff peaks form and sugar has dissolved.
4. Using a spatula, gently fold the meringue through the chocolate mixture a 1/3 at a time. Use as required.


Chocolate hazelnut pavlova bark
This is a variation of TFD’S Hazelnut Concorde cake.  A great dessert to put in the middle of the table and share with friends this Easter.
Serves 8-10

• 1 tablespoon corn flour
2 tablespoons Dutch cocoa
5 egg whites, at room temperature
a pinch salt
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 ¼ cups caster sugar
¼ cup hazelnut meal
1 qty chocolate mousse
1 x 300ml double cream, lightly whipped
½ cup roughly chopped, roasted hazelnuts

1. Preheat oven to 100C (200F). Sift the corn flour and cocoa together and set aside.
2. Place the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat until soft peaks. Gradually add the caster sugar, a little at a time, until stiff peaks form and sugar has dissolved.
3. Using a spatula gently fold the sifted corn flour and cocoa through the egg whites until just combined.
4. Using a palate knife spread the meringue into a rectangle 30cm x 40cm on a lined baking tray and sprinkle with the hazelnut meal. Bake for 2 hours. Turn off the oven and allow to cool in the oven.
5. To assemble gently place the meringue onto a large serving board and spread with the chocolate mousse, double cream and roughly chopped hazelnuts. 
Serve in the center of the table with a pile of spoons.

Chocolate mousse

125g 70% cocoa chocolate
75g unsalted butter, at room temperature, diced
2 egg yolks
3 egg whites
a pinch salt
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons caster sugar

1. To make the chocolate mousse, place the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water and gently stir until melted.  Remove the bowl from the heat and gently mix the butter through the chocolate a few pieces at a time until it is incorporated.
2. Add the egg yolks one at a time and mix well.
3. Place the egg whites, salt and cream of tarter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the caster sugar and beat until stiff peaks form and sugar has dissolved.
4. Using a spatula, gently fold the meringue through the chocolate mixture a 1/3 at a time. Use as required.

Chocolate mousse pots with fresh raspberries and choc hazelnut meringue bites
 A variation of TFD’s Concord cake and Chocolate hazelnut bark this makes another yummy dessert.

• Use the Chocolate hazelnut pavlova bark quantities for this recipe. Place tablespoonsful of the chocolate meringue onto baking trays, sprinkle with hazelnut meal and bake as you would the pavlova bark. Then, set little pots of mousse in the refrigerator. Once set, top them with fresh raspberries and serve with choc, hazelnut meringues bites.

Friday, March 21, 2014

HAPPY 2ND BIRTHDAY to the food dept.!

Times flies when your's having fun, and that's what we have been doing for the past 2 years. We hope you have been having just as much fun, cooking and eating our yummy recipes. To celebrate our 2nd birthday, we are sharing with you this decadent tropical hummingbird cake. Each moist layer of cake is filled with sweet cream cheese icing, then we top it with the crunch of toffee pecans. Enough said, we need to go and pop some French and start the party.

The food dept.’s birthday hummingbird cake with toffee pecans
Serves 8-10

• 1kg pineapple, peeled
180g softened unsalted butter
11/4 cups (275g) raw caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract 
2 eggs 
1 large ripe banana, mashed 
1 cup (90g) shredded coconut 
2/3 cup (80g) pecans, roughly chopped
2 cups (300g) self-raising flour, sifted
1 tsp ground cinnamon 

Cream cheese icing 
2 x 250g packets softened cream cheese
80g softened unsalted butter
11/3 cups (200g) icing sugar 

Toffee pecans
1 cup (220g) raw caster sugar
1 cup (140g) pecans

1. Preheat oven to 100°C. Cut 10 x 2mm-thick slices from the pineapple. Arrange in a single layer on a baking paper-lined baking tray and bake for 1 hour. Turn slices over and return to oven for a further 1 hour or until pineapple is dry. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
2. Core the remaining piece of pineapple and roughly chop. Use a food processor to whiz the pineapple until just crushed. You will need about 250g crushed pineapple for the cake.
3. Grease and line two 20cm round cake pans and increase the oven to 180ºC. Using electric beaters, beat butter and sugar together until combined. Add the vanilla and eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the crushed pineapple, banana, coconut and pecans, then stir to combine. Add flour, cinnamon and a pinch of salt, then stir to combine.
4. Divide the mixture between the cake pans and bake for 35-40 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow cakes to stand in the pans for 15 minutes to cool slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. To make the icing, place the cream cheese, butter and half the icing sugar in a bowl and beat with electric beaters for 5 minutes. Add the remaining icing sugar and beat for a further 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Chill until needed.
6. To make the toffee pecans, combine the sugar with 1/4 cup (60ml) water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and cook, without stirring, for 10 minutes or until golden. Using a skewer, dip each pecan into the toffee. Drain off excess toffee and place the pecans on a baking paper-lined baking tray and allow to set.
7. To assemble, secure one cake to a serving plate with a little icing. Spread 1 cup icing on the cake, then top with the second cake. Spread remaining icing over the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with dried pineapple and toffee pecans.

This recipe was first published in the February issue of ABC delicious magazine.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

LA DOLCI VITA – Italian dessert recipes from Luca Ciano for the food dept's Italian dessert feature

This month we collaborate once again, with our friend, Italian chef, Luca Ciano. Whilst, we may not have a vespa, ducati (like Luca!) or drive a fast car, we can all eat like Italians with these delightful, classic desserts. Make an expresso and take a seat in the food dept's cafe.

A little message from Luca:

"Dolci, I, like most Italians love desserts, in my case it’s quite a scary story…if at the end of any meal I don’t have any dessert I fall into a small depression. It doesn’t matter if I’m full or not, I must have something sweet at the end of any meal of the day. Desserts through out Italy vary quite a lot depending on the region that you’re in. So from North to South, with different tradition and different local ingredients, comes different styles and flavoured desserts. Here are 4 of my favourite."
Luca Ciano

Zabaglione or Zabaione, is such a popular dessert back home, It’s easily found in restaurant menus but most Italians have it at home because it’s an energetic, tasty and a simple dessert to make. This is my espresso flavoured version.

• 4 free range egg yolks
• ¼ cup caster sugar
• ¼ cup Marsala
• 1 shot of espresso coffee
• 20g dark chocolate (min 70%), optional

1. Place eggs and sugar in a large stainless steel or heat proof bowl and whisk.
2. Place the bowl over a simmering pot of water; making sure that the base doesn’t touch the water.
3. After a few minutes of whisking the eggs and becoming foamy add the Marsala and coffee. Keep whisking till the mix almost doubles in size.
4. Remove from the heat and serve into a martini glass or any other glass cup.
5. Serve hot with a couple of Cantucci biscuit or any other biscuit or with fresh fruit.
6. Garnish with shaved dark chocolate, if desired. It can also be served cold.

Cantucci with almonds and Vin Santo
A great way to get tipsy without realizing it… The fun begins when you dip the biscuit into the Vin Santo to soften the Cantucci, by the time you eat 2, 3, 4 of them, you’ll be smiling for no reason!

• 250g whole raw almonds
• 3 free range eggs
• 1 free range egg yolk
• 370g caster sugar
• 1 vanilla pod, halved and scraped
• 50g unsalted butter, room temperature
• 500g 00 flour or plain flour
• 1½ tablespoons baking powder
• 250ml Vin Santo

1. Toast the almonds in a preheated oven at 100C for 30 minutes.
2. Increase the oven to 170C fan forced.
3. In a bowl mix the eggs with sugar and vanilla, then add flour and baking powder and finally add butter and almonds.
4. Continue to mix until the ingredients all combine together.
5. Roll the dough into 2 x 30cm long x 3cm wide x 1 cm high pieces, place it onto a tray and bake it for 20-25 minutes.
6. Cut the cooked dough into 1cm stripes and set aside to cool. Place strips into the oven again and bake at 120C for a further 5 minutes.
7. Remove from oven and set aside to cool before serving. Serve with a small glass of Vin Santo.
8. Dip the biscuit into the sweet wine and eat!!

TIP: make 1 day in advance so the biscuits becomes dry and hard

Cannoli with pistachio
Serves 6 Prep time 45min Cooking time 4-5min

Cannoli dough
• 250g 00 flour
• 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder
• 1 teaspoon of ground coffee
• 30g unsalted butter, room temperature
• 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
• 1 whole egg
• 1 litre frying oil
• 250g fresh ricotta cheese
• 50g caster sugar
• 100g candied fruit, roughly chopped
• 100g whole pistachios, finely chopped, to serve
• 100g icing sugar, to serve

1. Sift and mix flour, cocoa powder and ground coffee in a bowl.
2. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the butter, vinegar and egg. Using your hands gradually mix the wet ingredient around, bringing in the dry ingredients until you create a smooth dough. Wrap in cling film and rest for 20 minutes in the fridge.
3. Roll the dough through a pasta machine until thin, 2mm or use a rolling pin.
4. Cut with a round cutter into a round shape of 8-10 cm and wrap around the special cannoli metal tubes.
5. Bring oil to 180C and deep fry for 4-5 min. Set aside to cool and repeat.
6. Cannoli are now ready to be filled with ricotta filling.

1. Mix the ricotta with candied fruit until smooth and creamy.
2. Place the mix into a piping bag and fill the cannoli cases.
3. Dip both ends of the cannoli into the chopped pistachio to garnish and dust with icing sugar before serving.

TIP: Freeze any remaining dough for 3 months.

Crostata di frutta
Serves 6 Prep time 1hr, plus 2 hours to rest pastry Cook time 30min

Creama Pasticcera - Custard
• 500ml fresh milk
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
zest of 1 lemon
4 free range egg yolks
50g plain flour
110g caster sugar

200g caster sugar
200g unsalted butter
3 free range eggs
500g 00 flour
zest of 1 lemon

½ punnet of strawberries, halved
½ punnet of blueberries
½ punnet of raspberries
½ mango, thinly sliced

½ cup water
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 gelatin leaf, soaked in cold water
1 vanilla pod, seeds scrapped

Creama Pasticcera - custard
1. In a heavy based saucepan bring milk to a simmer, with vanilla pod, seeds and lemon zest
2. Meanwhile in a large bowl mix eggs with flour and sugar, add a little cold milk to help mixing if needed.
3. When milk is hot, almost boiling, add and mix a little at the time into the egg mix and stir to combine.
4. Return to the heat and cook for up to 5 minutes on a gentle heat constantly stirring.
5. Allow cooling then cover and refrigerate.

1. Cream the sugar and butter together, add flour, eggs and lemon zest, mix into a soft dough. Roll into a ball and wrap in cling film, rest in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours (making it a day in advance is even better).
2. Pre heat oven at 170C.
3. Roll the pastry to a ½ cm thickness to fit a 26-28cm wide and 1-1 ½cm high round flan pan.
4. Prick the pastry with a fork to make a few little holes and then bake for 15-20 minutes till cooked and golden in color, remove from the oven and allow to cool.
5. To make the glaze, combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Squeeze the excess water from the gelatin leaves and add to the sugar syrup with the vanilla seeds. Stir until the gelatin has dissolved. Allow to cool until thick and glossy.
6. Fill the pastry shell with Creama Pasticcera and the garnish with fruit, brush over the vanilla glaze and serve.

Monday, December 30, 2013

New years eve inspiration from the food dept. Pop the champagne and let's make 2014 great!

Champagne and liqueur cocktail with brioche chips
This is a great way to use up any left over brioche, these chips make a delicious little, sweet and salty something to have with your favorite cocktail.

Thinly slice the brioche, approximately 2-3mm thick and place on a lined baking tray, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper. Bake at 180C for 10 minutes until golden and crispy. Serve sprinkled with fresh lemon thyme leaves. the food dept. has served ours with a champagne cocktail. Drizzle a little of your favorite fruit liqueur in the bottom of a champagne glass and top with chilled champagne. Enjoy.