Like many of you who are in the midst of summer right now, I haven’t been cooking much of late. However, I have been getting back into smoothies come breakky time, so I thought I’d share some tips on how to take a glass of blended fruit and milk to something close to perfection.
1. Make your smoothie mostly fruit
There are two reasons for this. Firstly, as someone who isn’t a big fan of fruit unless somebody else has cut it up for me and garnished it with lashings of whipped cream, this is a sure fire way to get a big serve of multiple fruits in one go, without losing out on fibre as you do when juicing. Secondly, because milk isn’t the main ingredient, those who are lactose sensitive/intolerant or like to avoid dairy won’t be missing out – you can sub in juice, soy milk, soy yogurt, almond or rice milk, even coconut milk, as long as you chill it first.
2. Fill the glass, not the beaker/blender/food processor
In the past, I was forever getting the quantities (or the ratio of ingredients) wrong when it came to smoothies. I’d whack a bunch of ingredients in the beaker for my stick blender, blend away like mad, topple the lot into my glass and find I’d made too much/not enough/it was too watery. These days, I just fill as many glasses with fruit as needed, top with yogurt or ice cream, and fill to the brim with milk. Pour the glass/es into the blender and viola! The perfect size.
3. Freeze your fruit
This will give you a thickshake or melted ice cream consistency, making the smoothie feel treat-like rather than medicinal. It also means you can save your fruit before it goes strange by chopping, portioning and freezing it ready for smoothies. Your smoothie will be cold, delicious, and so thick you could eat it with a spoon. In fact, if you pop it in the freezer for half an hour you could even serve it as dessert.
4. Use 4 fruits or less
In the smoothie pictured, I have fresh mango, half a frozen banana, frozen strawberry pieces and the pulp of two passionfruit. I’ve noticed keeping things to 4 fruits or less gives a cleaner taste. Also, one of the strongest flavours in the smoothie is banana, which makes sense because bananas are one of the sweetest fruits you can buy, so I never put in more than half a banana unless I want that to be the only flavour. The worst smoothies I’ve had don’t taste like anything in particular because there are so many kinds of fruit in there that no one flavour stands out. So whatever your fave fruit is, go heavy on that.
5. Use a straw
Ok, so this is just a personal preference of mine, but doesn’t life just feel that much more luxurious when you’re sipping your drink through a straw? I’m not saying you’ll feel like you’re on a northern Brazillian beach or anything, but a straw can’t hurt. Hell, why not chuck in a cocktail umbrella for good measure.
What’s your fave smoothie recipe?
This classy-looking dessert is anything but. Serve with a glass of sweet sherry for the perfect lazy bogan treat.
White Trash Tiramisu (AKA Scallywag Icebox Cake) – Serves 6-8
What you need:
- 1 packet chocolate ‘scallywag’ biscuits or other plain chocolate biscuits (250g)
- 600 ml pure cream
- 2-3 Tablespoons cheap rum
- ¼ cup coke
- 3 Tbsp icing sugar mixture
- 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
- For decorating – 2 strawberries (optional)
What you do:
Whip ⅔ of the cream to firm peaks. Mix together the rum and coke in a small bowl.
On a rectangular platter, lay out 6 biscuits in three rows of two.
Brush well with rum and coke, spread with a layer of cream. Repeat until all biscuits are used – I had 5 layers of bikkies.
Coat the entire thing with a thin layer of the remaining cream (on all sides) cover loosely with cling wrap and refrigerate at least overnight.
A couple of hours before serving, whip the remaining cream with cocoa and icing sugar to soft peaks. Spread with a knife or metal spatula, dipping in hot water for the final smooth over. If desired, mix some cocoa and hot water and smooth over a couple of stripes, blending into the cream. Top with strawberries, chill and serve.
It’s funny how in Australia we usually think of pies as savoury, while in the US sweet pies are the norm. As a result when I think of pies, I think of anything beef. When I think of sweet pies, I immediately think of my favourite, lemon meringue.
I haven’t made this pie since I was a teenager, but I was always a big fan of the combo of tart, sweet lemon butter and fluffy sugarry merignue. I remember dragging out my mother’s 1970’s Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbook from which you could cook anything from scones to Beef Bourginon, falling apart at the spine and gaffer taped together, and making this time consuming but satisfying pie. I assume the recipe I’ve used here is the same one.
This pie is supposed to be served cold. I think if it were warmed, it would be too sweet even for me. To counter any sickly sweetness, I recommend serving with a side of whipped cream.
Lemon Meringue Pie (from AWW Bake)
1½ cups plain flour
1 Tbsp icing sugar mixture
140g cold butter, chopped coarsely
1 egg yolk
1-2 tablespoons iced water, as necessary
For lemon butter and meringue:
½ cup (75g) cornflour
1 cup caster sugar
½ cup lemon juice
1¼ cups water
2 tsp lemon zest
60g butter, chopped into 1 cm cubes
3 eggs, separated
½ cup caster sugar, extra
In a food processor, process flour, icing sugar mixture and butter until they resemble breadcrumbs. Add yolk and 1 tablespoon of the water; process again until pastry begins to come together into a ball. If necessary, gradually add more water, a teaspoon at a time, until pastry does form a ball. To see the correct consistency for the pastry, view the crappy video below…
Tip onto a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly until smooth, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Roll out pastry between 2 sheets baking paper. Press pastry into 24cm round pie tin.
Trim edges and prick base with a fork. Refrigerate a further 30 minutes.
Line the pie crust with baking paper and fill with dried beans, lentils or baking beads. Bake in preheated oven 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove paper and beans; return to oven. Bake a further 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
The lemon filling:
Combine cornflour and sugar in a saucepan. Gradually juice and water; whisking to ensure mixture is lump free. Slowly bring to a simmer, stirring until very thick. Simmer for a further minute, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Take pan off the heat and stir in butter until melted, followed by the lemon zest and 3 egg yolks. Leave to cool slightly.
Preheat oven to 220°C (200°C fan-forced). In a clean, dry bowl, beat the egg white until soft peaks form. Gradually add the extra sugar while beating.
Spoon lemon mixture into pre-baked pastry case, spreading evenly. Roughen the surface with a fork. Pile meringue mixture on top, ensuring lemon mixture is completely covered. Return pie to preheated oven and bake 5-10 minutes or until the top is golden brown and crisp. Stand 5 minutes before serving.
The point of the lamington is to use up old sponge cake. Who in the hell has a heap of old cake lying around? No one. That’s why I neither like nor understand the lamington; the basic concept baffles me. In fact, I’d never even made a batch before this post.
The point is, whether it makes sense or not, that is what a lamington is. I will defend to my death the authentic/traditional ‘Strayun lamington recipe as made perhaps not on its first occasion but ever after.
Here’s how it goes- sponge cake, chocolate icing and dessicated coconut. I cannot stress this enough. It is integral to both the flavour and texture of the lamington. But recently, in trendy cafes and even, shock, horror, on food blogs (even ‘Strayun ones), I have come across furry, rather than fuzzy lamingtons – they have been using shredded coconut, not dessicated. For shame.
In actual fact, my recipe is not even a recipe for lamingtons, it’s pretty much a recipe for icing. Because if the point of the lamington is to use up stale cake, you might as well just buy a sponge cake from the shops and be done with it. I did. Even so, this recipe is truer to form than the spiky, echidna-like lamingtons I’ve had the displeasure to witness in recent times.
You may add whipped cream or some raspberry or strawberry jam in the centre of the lamington, no worries mate, but for God’s sake, stick to the tried and true recipe. Don’t mess with a good thing! After all, it is Australia Day.
Lamingtons (icing recipe from the Australian Women’s Weekly)
1 x 450g sponge cake (mine was a pack of two rectangular sponges)
4 cups icing sugar mixture
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup milk
2 cups dessicated coconut
Sift the icing sugar and cocoa in a large heat proof bowl. Stir in the milk and add the butter.
Over a simmering saucepan (double boiler) stir the mixture until the butter melts and you have a smooth icing. Set aside.
Cut the sponge into even pieces with a sharp knife, I got 24 pieces in total.
Coat the sponge with icing, letting the excess drip off, coat in coconut and leave to rest. See below for more details.
Happy Australia Day!
You know, I’d like to just open this post by saying that mars bar slice kicks chocolate crackles’ arse. If there was ever a fight to the death (a fight of deliciousness, that is) between treats containing rice bubbles, there would be no contest. Maybe it has something to do with copha, that gritty vegetable shortening that holds a chocolate crackle together (ew). Or maybe it’s the contrast between chewy/crunchy/salty/sweet that mars bar slice has. And if melting down a a shitload of mars bars and butter doesn’t seem decadent enough, maybe it’s that extra layer of chocolate on top that really seals the deal.
Whatever the reason, mars bar slice is the eternal crowd pleaser. Unless your’e diabetic. Or lactose intolerant. or don’t like chocolate. OK well, let’s just say we’re in a crowd of sweet tooths with no discernable allergies.
Mars Bar Slice from Exclusively Food
270g Mars Bars
1 1/2 tablespoons (30ml) golden syrup
3 3/4 cups (120g) rice bubbles
For the topping:
225g milk chocolate
Grease a 16cm by 21cm baking tray/pyrex dish, or anything roughly that volume.
Place butter, Mars Bars and golden syrup in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly with a whisk. You will know when it’s ready as not only will the lumps of nougat melt, but the whole mixture will suddenly gel together, thicken and become smooth and homogeneous. Turn off the heat.
Add the rice bubbles to the Mars Bar mixture and gently stir to combine, trying not to crush the rice bubbles.
Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave, stirring every so often until smooth and liquid.
Press mixture firmly into the greased pan. Spread slice with topping and refrigerate overnight.
To loosen the slice, fill your sink with boiling water and place the slice, in its tray in the sink for a couple of minutes to loosen it. Turn it out onto a chopping board and slice to the desired sized pieces, dipping a sharp knife in a cup of boiling water in between slices. the slice will be quite hard, either wait 10 minutes or cut with a sawing motion. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Tip: You could use baking paper rather than greasing the pan, this will be a hell of a lot easier as long as you have some overhang.
Want to know more about the death by chocolate blog hop? Find out more more over at The Hungry Australian.
I have to admit that I’m a little bit surprised by my own cooking these days. There are times when it is just so damn…traditional. I find myself saying things like ‘the classics are classics for a reason.’ The cookbooks I’m collecting are published by the Australian Women’s Weekly. I find myself craving things like a sausage. On white bread. With tomato sauce. Could this be my palate’s backlash against the multicultural Australian table? Will I be reduced to eating meat and three boiled veg the rest of my days?!
Somehow I don’t think so. Although I enjoy the pleasures of a simple meal as much as the next minimalist cooking guru, I don’t think my love of fresh baked bread with butter is going to kill off my longing for a good Vietnamese feed, adapted from the real deal or not. Another thing to remember is that while some food may seem exotic to me, they’re just business as usual for those that grew up with them.
All this is really just a roundabout way of saying that when I signed up for today’s pavlova blog hop, I knew I wouldn’t be getting fancy. I knew I’d be sticking with ‘old faithful’, The Australian Women’s weekly 4 egg pav. I’m lazy, so I knew I’d be topping it with whipped cream and frozen raspberries and nothing more, even thought there’s nothing I like better than what I consider the classic pav fruit combo: passionfruit, mango, banana, kiwi fruit and strawberries.
Raspberry Pav (From The Australian Women’s Weekly)
4 eggs whites (tip: separate them in a separate bowl, pouring them into the bowl you will beat them in one by one. Nothing worse than having to chuck out 4 yolked whites rather than two)
1 cup sugar
300ml cream, thickened or pure
3 teaspoons icing sugar mixture
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Frozen raspberries, to top – I used close to two cups
Preheat your oven to 120°c (110°c fan forced). Line a flat tray with baking paper, draw a 15-20cm circle on it if you like.
Make sure everything (bowl, beaters) is completely dry. Beat the eggs for about 10 minutes on high speed, until firm-ish peaks form. I use an electric hand beater, this may take less time with a standing mixer, I have no idea.
Add the sugar bit by bit, still beating. Wait until the sugar is completely dissolved before adding more. I did this in about 5 lots, it took about 3 minutes.
Shape your pavlova on the tray, levelling it so that it has a flat top. Bake for 1 to 1½ hours, turn off the oven, open the door and allow the pav to cool completely in the oven.
Meanwhile, whip together the cream, icing sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.
When the pav is completely cooled, carefully peel off the baking paper, place on a plate and decorate. It’s great served immediately or over the next few days.
What about you? What’s your fave ‘traditional’ recipe?
ANZAC crispies – that’s what my mum always calls them so that’s what I call them. That’s because they should be crisp (but not burnt). We ate these a lot when we were kids as they’re super easy and only contain only one non-pantry ingredient – butter.
The story goes that these bikkies were often sent as part of care packages to the men of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during World War I. The recipe came to be because something high energy, solid and transportable was needed, and the ingredients in the biscuit were basic and plentiful at the time. Eggs were scarce, so a recipe without eggs yet was developed. The recipe itself is only allowed to bear the Anzac name if it adheres to the original, as the Department Of Veteran’s Affairs owns the term ‘Anzac’.
A quick tip: These bikkies are made to spread while baking but sometimes, inexplicably, they don’t. I usually put this down to stale bi-carb soda, so be sure to keep yours in an airtight container.
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup plain flour
2 Tablespoons golden syrup
1 ½ Tablespoons teaspoons bi-carb soda
2 Tablespoons boiling water
Preheat the oven to 160°c (140°c fan forced). Line two biscuit trays with baking paper.
Mix the rolled oats, sugar, coconut and flour in a large bowl. In a small pan, melt the butter and golden syrup together. Boil the jug.
When the butter and golden syrup are melted to liquid, take the pan off the heat. In a small bowl, place the bi-carb soda, followed by the boiling water. Once the bi-carb is dissolved, add it to the butter mixture. The whole mix will foam up, pour is immediately into the dry ingredients and stir through.
Form heaped soup spoons of mixture and place them on the trays. Leave plenty of room for the biscuits to spread, I only fit about 5 per tray.
Cook the biscuits for 16 minutes, swapping the trays after 8 minutes. They should be golden brown and very flat. If not, they may need a little longer.
Leave the ANZAC crispies to cool on the tray until mostly cool and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Serve with a cup of sweet tea or a glass of milk.
Makes about 18 biscuits.
Did you eat a lot of homemade treats when you were a kid?
Last week I talked about reliving travel through food. Taste is a powerful memory trigger and that almost explains why, about a week after my return from Argentina/Brasil I found myself showing up for drinks at a friend’s place in Newtown not with a 6-pack of beer but rather, sipping a pineapple filled with rum.
I’m not in any way implying that people in Northern Brasil show up to people’s houses with a pineapple dangling from their chops, far from it (and also, if they did, they’d use cachaça, not rum). But I couldn’t really get my head around not drinking a caipirinha and drinking it out of a pineapple, although touristy and tacky, was my favourite way to do it. This explains why Senhor R and I found ourselves hacking away at a pineapple one Sunday night to make a cup for our rum caipirinha. Sticky.
What follows is a recipe of sorts for how to turn a pineapple into a drinkable, alcoholic treat.
Caipirinha no Abacaxi
3-4 dessert spoons of caster sugar
6 ice cubes
2 limes, quartered
Cachaça, or, failing that, rum
A couple of toothpicks
If the leaves of the pineapple are still attached, remove them. Chop the top off the pineapple and save it for a lid. With a long, sharp knife, cut around the inside of the pineapple almost to the bottom, leaving about a half inch border. Then cut a cross through the centre of the flesh that you hope to remove. Hack away at this with knives and spoons until you win.
In a glass or shaker, smash the hell out of the ice, sugar and limes, either with something blunt or by shaking the shaker until the sugar is dissolved. Pour into the pineapple and cover with cachaça, stir and taste. Add more sugar if needed.
Whack in a straw. Attach the lid with a couple of toothpicks. If you’re drinking your caipirinha on the beach, no worries but if you’re somewhere you don’t wanna get too sticky and your pineapple is quite ripe, you might want to put it on a plate or cling wrap it.
There are some recipes that are solid crowd pleasers, and these are the ones I tend towards when it’s time to celebrate something. This orange cake, which I first saw on Food Safari is a classic Jewish Middle Eastern cake made of Oranges, almond meal, sugar and eggs. It takes about 10 minutes to throw together and although it’s been blogged to death, I can’t resist posting it here. Believe the hype, I’ve made this cake more times than I can count and I’m not about to stop now.
The flavour is intensely orange, the texture is creamy and dense. One tip though; make sure you don’t use oranges with very tough, thick skins, as this will give a bitter flavour. I once made this cake with very thick-skinned oranges (I didn’t realise it at the time) and although it was still tasty, it left a bitter aftertaste that I wouldn’t want you to repeat…
Kosher Whole Orange Cake – Batia Slater via SBS Food Safari
250g caster sugar
250g almond meal
1 tsp baking powder
Canola spray (for greasing the pan)
Wash the oranges and place unpeeled, in a pot of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 hours. Drain the water and allow the oranges to cool for at least 10 minutes. You can boil them ahead of time if you prefer.
Preheat oven to 190°C. Grease a 20 cm round baking tin with canola oil spray, cut a circle of baking paper and place it in the bottom of the tin (use the tin as a template).
Break 6 eggs into a mixing bowl. Add caster sugar and blend together with an immersion blender.
Place the two oranges into the egg mix. Break up the oranges and then blend together to a smooth consistency. Add the almond meal and baking powder and blend.
Pour batter into the pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour and a half or until the top is golden brown. If it starts to brown too early or too much, cover it with foil. Makes 16 slices.
I know I can’t be tho only one whos’ kitchen experiments sometimes turn out…questionable. Or is it questionably? Whichever is grammatically correct. Anyway, we’ve all had moments where we’re sure the lightning bolt of genius has his us. ‘Mustard éclairs!’ we shout ‘Twice-baked rum-soaked polenta!’ ‘Chocolate steak!’. But, by and large, it is disaster, not genius that has struck.
Personally, my mistakes aren’t usually to do with creativity. I’m not much for crazy fusion projects (Italian sushi, anyone?). Rather, my disasters are the fruit of my impatience. I will drop or undercook or burn myself on things in my haste to prepare food quickly. I’m never going to make a mustard éclair, but I cook the same way I eat…fast. And as a result, sometimes my creations can resemble a kind of indigestion.
I have been putting off posting this recipe because for this very reason; I’m just not sure about it. Something about it just isn’t quite right. It isn’t terrible. It does work, in theory. It tastes ok. It’s good on paper. Nobody died. But I’m not convinced by it.
Maybe it’s because I love panettone, buttered and dunked in coffee so much that it seems a bit redundant, like bread and butter pudding made with croissants – as if there’s any such thing as a leftover or stale croissant. Maybe it’s just not as good as the sum of its parts – all the components are delicious, so you’d expect the finished product to be even more so, but it isn’t. Maybe you can tell my what’s missing, or maybe you can fix it. Either way, here it is: Panettone Trifle.
Raspberry Upside-down Panettone Trifle
1 Panettone, sliced into thick rounds (as you would a layer cake, I’d imagine)
About 400g frozen raspberries
1 portion Portuguese custard or any other custard you like
About 300ml fresh coffee, cooled and in a flat dish
Find a container roughly the same size as or a bit smaller than the panettone. Line it with cling wrap.
Dunk a round of panettone in the coffee, press into the container. Scatter a few raspberries and slather on some custard, repeat with all layers – you should have art least 1/3 of the custard left. Cover and refrigerate.
To serve, turn the trifle out onto a plate, cover in custard and sprinkle with raspberries. It will be a mess but maybe you will like it.
So, do you have any questionable kitchen experiments you’d like to share?
Keep in touch!
By PDGACO payday loan
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Disclaimer:All opinions in this blog are mine, an everyday, real-life person. I do not claim to be an expert on anything. I do not accept payment for reviews and nor do I write sponsored posts. From time to time I give away products and experiences to my readers, all competitions have completely arbitrary rules, all decisions are final and all prizes awarded as I see fit.