Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Super Easy Srawberry Ice-cream

              Strawberries are super cheap and sweet at the moment.   Early in the season I treat strawberries like royalty eating them raw and savoring there glorious flavour knowing that summer is on the way.  Now that summer is here with a glut of strawberries I start  thinking towards the cooler months and how I can prolong my strawberry season.  I make jam Strawberry and Black Pepper, Strawberry and rhubarb or I make a coulis in it's simplest form (punnets of hulled strawberries blended raw with sugar - 1 cup of sugar with 2 punnets of strawberries) and freeze it in ice trays.  This will be the base of my super easy strawberry ice-cream a taste of summer in the dark depths of winter.  If you have an ice-cream churner this just so, so simple it would be criminal not to give this recipe a whirl you will not be disappointed.  Minimum effort maximum flavour.  If not then you have a little bit of work to do but it is so worth the effort.

Super Easy Strawberry Ice-cream

2 punnets strawberries Hulled and halved
1 cup sugar
300mls cream
1 shot vodka ( this helps to keep your ice-cream soft but is not essential)

Blend strawberries, vodka and sugar together in a food processor until smooth.  If you don't like the seeds push through a sieve to remove.  Pour the strawberry coulis into the ice-cream churner following the manufacturers instructions.  Slowly add the cream leave to churn until very thick.  Freeze until firm or scoff as soft serve.

If you don't have a churner once the coulis has been made pour into a shallow tray and partially freeze.  Use the pulse setting on the food processor to quickly break down pour on cream and pulse until combined.  Partially refreeze.  Process again and refreeze. Repeat and pour into plastic container freeze and eat.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Orange and Rum Christmas Cake


             Since we here in New Zealand don't get to experience a white christmas I thought I'd bring a little of that white magic to my christmas cake.  So out came the snow-man I invested in some snowflake plunger cutters and raided my cake decorating kit for everything else.  He's awesome and the kids were utterly enthralled with the process of putting him together.

          This recipe is the one I turn to every year I try to make it well in advance but some years life is too hectic.  Now I've dabbled with other recipes and I've used more exotic dried fruits but to me this is what a christmas cake should be rich, dense with fruit and boozy.   I ice it with marzipan and fondant icing since most years I travel with it and as I have discovered royal icing, it's fluffy meringue cousin and rum butter-cream do not like long car trips.  As I type this I had a revelation fruitcake cupcakes swirled high with Rum butter-cream icing perhaps with a hint of coffee and now I wonder will I be able to fit them into my schedule.........gotta love Christmas!

Rum and Orange Christmas Cake

1.5 kg mixed dried Fruit
1 cup rum
2 oranges zest and juice
200grams soft brown sugar
250grams soft butter
4 eggs (at room temperature)
2 teaspoons vanilla
350grams self/raising flour
salt pinch
2 teaspoons mixed spice
1x 22cm cake tin lined twice with baking paper (bottom and sides)

Soak fruit in rum and orange juice overnight (or however long it takes you to get around to it).
Cream butter, sugar, vanilla and orange zest until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs one at a time until fully incorporated.  Sieve flour, spice and salt onto butter mix  and stir gently add the fruit and mix batter until combined.   Spoon mixture into prepared cake tin and bake for 3 hours in a slow oven.  Stick a skewer into cake to check if it is cooked skewer should come away clean.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Summer Dining

Rye and Wholemeal Flat-bread with avocado, snapper and a tomato herb salad

           As the warmer weather arrives I start thinking about light tasty food that can be eaten alfresco with friends and a glass of wine or ice cold beer.  There are all kinds of cheats that can be used for this dish but since I am in purist mode I'll let you figure those out for yourself.  These luscious morsels (ok somewhat bigger than a morsel)  were devoured by adults and children.  Even as I write this I think about all the variations that could be played out on these freshly baked breads, quite frankly I'm beginning to feel like there is not enough time to cook all the things I'd like too.  So prepare yourselves for recipes galore this time of year is glorious.

Rye and Wholegrain Flat-bread

2 teaspoons dried yeast
300g plain flour (high grade)
150g wholemeal flour
150g rye flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
50mls olive oil

Combine yeast with 300mls of warm (blood temperature) water and teaspoon of sugar, mix together and leave in a warm spot until the mix froths.  In a bowl combine flours and salt, make a well in the center and pour yeast mix and oil into it.  Using your hand incorporate the dry and wet ingredients until the dough comes together.  Tip onto a floured bench and kneed dough until shiny and elastic (approx 10 minutes) or use  dough hook and do it in a machine.  Cover dough with a clean damp teatowel and set aside for an hour to prove.  The dough should double in size.  Pre-heat oven to 200c.  Turn out dough and divide into eight.  Roll each segment of dough into 15cm long oval breads place on oven trays lined with paper (or pre-heated pizza stones with semolina) drizzle with olive oil sprinkle with sea salt and bake for 7 minutes until golden brown.

Avocado and Snapper Topping

2 large avocado mashed with the juice of one lemon and seasoned well
4 snapper fillets approx 200grms each baked in the oven with lemon zest, a drizzle of olive oil and seasoned well.
 100mls of aioli
4 spring onions finely sliced
1 cup picked washed coriander leaves
2 tomatoes pulp and seed removed finely diced.
juice of lemon and olive oil to drizzle (2 tbspns)
lemon wedges to serve

 To assemble (either do it your self or let your guests build their flat-bread to suit themselves.)
 Smear avocado along the flat bread, flake pieces of snapper over the top drizzle with aioli,  sprinkle salad over the top coriander, spring onion and tomato.  Dress with lemon and oil and season.


1 egg yolk
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove of garlic crushed finely
200mls olive oil
salt and pepper

Whisk yolk, lemon, dijon and garlic together very slowly pour the oil on to the yolk mixture whisking continuously until all the oil is incorporated.  Season.  If you prefer you can do this in a food processor following the same principles.