Chocolate-dipped Coconut Macaroons

Christmas/Hanukkah Gifts: Coconut Macaroons

So recently I was looking for a recipe that was +gluten free +dairy free +lowfat (sort of) +hanukkah-ish (if possible – or at least not too christmass-y) and, through the magic of googling, got interested in coconut macaroons. Now there are many coconut macaroon recipes out there, but in the end I decided on these chocolate dipped ones, as they really are just egg, coconut and sugar (and chocolate).  They are also very easy to make and YUM!

Christmas/Hanukkah Gifts: Coconut Macaroons

A few notes on the recipe:

I have never heard of sweetened shredded coconut, so just mixed in some icing sugar in addition to the granulated (castor) sugar, to taste.

The recipe somewhat jumps the shark toward the end,  by not giving the amount of chocolate required for melting and dipping, but instead including a chocolate ganache step which seems entirely unrelated to the rest of the recipe. I just melted what I thought was enough chocolate (~80-100g) for dipping, and then melted a bit more when it turned out I needed it.  For the record, I have no problem using a microwave for chocolate melting.

While the vanilla was nice, another recipe I have since misplaced suggested adding lemon rind, and I may well do that if I  make them again for a lemony kick.

Also?  I doubled the recipe and only ended up with about 4 extra macaroons compared to what the recipes says.  I assume mine were giant sized (they seemed ok to me…)

Spiced Mango Chutney 2011

Christmas Gifts: Mango Chutney
So two years ago I made Spiced Mango Chutney, got very positive feedback from those I gave it to, and I’ve been fondly thinking of it ever since. Time to make some more! This year we elected to cook it in the slow cooker on low heat, for about 10 hours, used dark brown sugar instead of light brown (it’s what we had),  and tried adding some mustard seeds in pace of the nigella. We still had some of the plastic preserving jars last over to use,  but this time we didn’t try sterilising them (which lead to jar melting last time), but just spooned it in once it had cooled a bit. To be honest we eat the chutney so quickly,  you don’t really need to preserve, just keep it in the fridge.

And it’s still fabulous with sharp cheddar cheese on a corn thin. Mmmm… corn thins…

Chocolate Lime Cookies

Chocolate Cookies with Cocoa Nibs and Lime

So you know how oranges and chocolate goes well together? Turns out chocolate and lime does too! I only found this out whilst looking for a recipe that used cocoa nibs, and I stumbled upon this recipe from Garret McCord from Simply Recipes. They’re seriously good. As an aside, coca nibs are also seriously good, though a little unsettling to eat by themselves – they have the consistency of coffee beans with a serious chocolate flavour. I need to find more recipes for them.  As another aside, Simply Recipes is also a great recipe source – I’ve been reading their RSS feed as long as I’ve been reading RSS feeds!!!

Cue the food porn…

Chocolate Cookies with Cocoa Nibs and Lime Chocolate Cookies with Cocoa Nibs and Lime Chocolate Cookies with Cocoa Nibs and Lime

Review: Lunch at Little Stove

Little StoveLittle Stove
08 9319 9811
Melville
Shop 97, 103 Harris St Map
Bicton, WA 6157

Little Stove was an unexpected find in the wilds of Bicton suburbia (well, ok,  I found it through Urbanspoon). The cafe is fairly large, airy and quite funky.  It has two huuuge blackboards, filled with a coffee and tea options, and a pretty interesting looking lunch menu (and a breakfast menu too, I understand,  but I didn’t see that). I wanted to *love* Little Stove because of the atmosphere, but unfortunately, the food was missing a certain wow factor and was also on the expensive side.

Little Stove

My green myrtle tea was refreshing (quite lemongrassy) and scored points on the unusual factor – probably the highlight of what I ordered. However, my latte was average, and my roast vegetable quiche was a bit low on roast veges (and while the egg component was creamy, it was quite bland. pastry was not bad.).

The BF enjoyed his lamb burger (apparently the relish was very good),  but the berry milkshake was all milk and not much berry.  If Little Stove was my local cafe,  I may well be back a lot.  However,  given there are better options in closer to me, I probably won’t…

Little Stove Little Stove

Little Stove on Urbanspoon

Vegetable Spaghetti

Zucchini and Carrot 'Pasta'One thing we are enjoying quite often these days is vegetable spaghetti – basically just very thin strips of zucchini and carrot, often in the place of pasta with a pasta sauce or meatballs.

Now, I’m sure you can make these thin strips using a knife and sweet chopping skills, but we invested instead in a vegetable julienne peeler (this exact one actually) and have found it to work a treat!*

To cook, we just stick them in a microwave proof bowl and microwave for a couple of minutes on high, stirring every minute of so. You can also steam them, but you are more likely to end up with mushier vegetables ( or at least *I* am!) and microwaving is way quicker anyway.

*Note:  You will be left with some pieve of vegetable which you can’t further julienne with the peeler (or it becomes hazardous to your fingers to do so!).  I normally just chop them up as finely as I can and add them to the mix – or you can just eat them as a raw snack before dinner!!

Chocolate Ancho Creme Brulee

I was looking for a recipe to complement a Mexican Feast, and this chocolate ancho creme brulee ticked both that box, and the ‘i don’t use my brulee torch nowhere near enough’ box as well. I had planned on taking some photos while we torched them, but in the heat of the moment,  I totally forgot about photographing, and concentrated on eating instead. Still, these brulee were soooo rich,  that there were some leftovers that I got a shot of this morning.

Some comments on the recipe:  I  really don’t think boiling the cream with a cinnamon stick for 5 minutes really imparted any cinnamon  flavour to the cream.  I’m not sure I’d bother next time. The custard is really easy – in that you don’t actually make custard, just mix the egg yolks through the chocolate/cream mix and then bake, and I might try this with other brulees in future as it really does cut down the prep time. I’m not sure if it’s because I just used the chilli powder I had in my cupboard, rather than  ground ancho chile pepper, but I didn’t get much (any?) chilli kick from these – I might add more in future.  Then again,  the recipe does call for ~120 g of chocolate and I decided to just put in the whole 200g block I’d bought, which maybe drowned out the chilli flavour  :-).  I’d probably also prepare more cinnamon sugar for the top next time (maybe 3 tbps worth?) as the sugar layer was relatively thin on top.  How authentically Mexican is it actually?  No idea, but still very tasty 🙂

Chocolate-Ancho Creme Brulee

Carnitas (aka 16 hour slow cooked pork)

CarnitasWe use our slow cooker a lot – mostly for stews and curries.  However, once I saw nomnompaleo’s Slow Cooker Kalua Pig recipe,  I had to give it a go (particularly given our Hawaii trip last year!).

Now the Kalua pork was fantastic, but it occured to us that with a slight adjustment of spices,  this recipe would also make a fantastic carnitas for burritos and the like. So we put together a spice rub including coriander, cumin and – most importantly – chipotle chillie, and we have not looked back (although admittedly we’ve eaten a heap of slow cooked pork!).

~*~

The Spice Rub

2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
2 tsp coriander leaves dried
Carnitas Spice Rub

What To Do

This amount of spice rub is good for 2-2.5 kg of pork. We typically buy a boned pork shoulder, take off any webbing or binding and then liberally rub the spice over all surfaces (although less usually ends up on the skin).  If you do this in the early evening, you can put it straights into the slowcooker pot and store in the fridge until later that night.  Just before bed,  I’ll get the pot out and set up with slow cooker with a timer to start at 2-3 am (depending on when you want to eat the next day). It is rather thrilling to be woken up by delicious pork smells in the morning,  though I do recommend cooking this dish on a day you will be mostly out of the house, as otherwise you will be distracted by pork for the rest of the day!   Once you reach 6-7 pm,  you take the pork out (usually in pieces by this time) and place it in a serving dish.  Separate off the skin and fat (which normally comes off very easily),  and then shred the meat using two forks.  You can spoon the juices at the bottom of the  slow cooker, to give an extra bust of flavour to the shredded meat, though be careful not ot make it too salty.  The meat is then good for tacos, burritos or just by itself….