Best Ever Anzac Biscuits

Or at least that’s what my bowl tells me…

Anzac Biscuits

And actually I’ve modified this recipe to make them even better.

I couldn’t quite bring myself to add so!much!sugar, so I normally reduce the cup of sugar to 3/4 of a cup (every little bit helps). And unless you like them extra crispy, cooking for 20 minutes in my oven is far far too long. At 160 degrees in a non-fan-forced oven, my biscuits take about 15 minutes (it’s about 12 minutes in a fan-forced oven). If you have two trays, set the time for 10 minutes, and then swap them over for the final five. You’ll notice that there are no directions for the size of the biscuit dough balls (gasp!). A generous dessert spoon of dough makes an approximately 1 inch ball,  which in turn makes a biscuit that is generous but not excessive (remember – you can always eat more than one!)

Anzac Biscuits Anzac Biscuits Anzac BIscuits

To be fair I am not such an Anzac Biscuit connoisseur to be able to define these as Best Ever. However I often have all the ingredients on hand, which means whipping up a batch for unexpected visitors is very quick and easy, and they never last long.

Mini Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecakes

Baked Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecakes

I made these mini chocolate and raspberry cheesecakes by adapting this slice recipe from Taste.com. The biscuit layer is made the same way, with a teaspoon or so of the mixture packed into the bottom of 24 cupcake liners (which I stood into mini cupcake trays).  I folded the chocolate into the cheesecake filling, but not the raspberries, and then dolloped the cheesecake filling into each cupcake liner, followed by a raspberry centred in the middle of each. You can make about 24 mini cheese cakes using half the mixture, which was enough for my entertaining purposes,  so I used the rest to make a slice in a loaf tin. The cupcakes took about half the baking time suggested, though I’d recommend you just keep checking them. It was delicious both ways 🙂

Recipe: Ginger Rice Pudding

Ginger Rice Pudding

So a few weeks ago we accidentally bought 2L milk, when we had an unopened 2L milk in the fridge.  (The main use  for milk in our house is the BF’s cereal so it’s quite easy for us to use less then 2L in any given week. 4L of milk is a LOT of milk for us!).  So I went trawling for dessert recipes which used a substantial amount of mil (2L ideally), for which I had all the other ingredients already. Fairly quickly I came across this recipe for Milk Rice Pudding:  milk (check), aborio rice (check), vanilla, sugar and cinnamon (check, check and check), rind of a lemon… (um… no).  However, we had bought a really lovely piece of fresh young ginger yesterday – the sort you don’t see too often, with really thin translucent skin that comes off really really easily.  So I decided to swap out the lemon rind and cinnamon for ginger. The result pudding is super easy to make, creamy (despite only having 2% fat milk in it), and has a ginger bite that reminds me of nothing more than Arnott’s Ginger Snap Biscuits. It’s very moreish.

Ginger
Ingredients
1.8 L 2% fat (Hilo) milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp grated ginger
3/4 cup of sugar
250 g arborio rice

Place milk, vanilla, ginger and sugar in a large saucepan and bring to the boil over medium-high heat, stirring fairly frequently.  Stir in rice, then reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 40-50 minutes or until rice is cooked and thickened slightly. The mixture will still be quite wet at this stage. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature (it thickens up considerably during this time). I reckon you could eat it warm, after it has cooled for 30 minutes or so. However, we followed the original recipe to the end and refrigerate for 3+ hours or until chilled. We ate ours plain,  but I think stewed apples or pears would go particularly well.

Easy Yoghurt Cake

Yoghurt Cake with Orange Icing

So yoghurt cake sounds a bit weird, but it’s actually quite tasty – and pretty light too.  And the best thing about this cake?  You don’t need any other measuring device other than a teaspoon!  Everything else it measured out with the pot of yoghurt you used.  I used a plain vanilla flavoured yoghurt in my cake,  but I think it would be interesting to make this cake with a pot of fruit yoghurt too.

Ingredients
1 pot of yoghurt (then use the pot to measure everything)
3 eggs
1 pot of sugar
3 pots of flour
1 pot of oil (or melted butter)
1 teaspoon of baking powder

Mix all the ingredients together, spoon the mixture in to a greased and prepared cake tin, and bake around 20 min at 180°.

For the icing, I decided to go with orange flavoured icing, mixing icing sugar with a tiny bit of orange juice and the zest from an orange, which gave the cake a fresh edge.

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

From Hawai’i: Haupia Squares

I’m just back from a trip to Hawai’i, and I’ve come back with a new appreciation for pinapple and coconut, and a new recipe book! Aunty Audrey’s Big Island Eats is a great compendium of food from the Big Island, but also has some great history and a big slice of the community as well – good reading for more than just the recipes. My first from the book is Irma Ikawa’s Haupia (Coconut) Squares, which I made for a a late (Jan 3) family Christmas dinner we had after we got back.

Irma Ikawa's Haupia Squares

The squares are very simple to make, light and soothing to eat. The recipe book is a little challening because all the measurements are imperial, not metric,  but I muddled my way through

Ingredients:
(Crust)
4 tbsp powdered sugar (which I took to be icing sugar)
1 and a half cups of white all-purpose flour
3/4 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
3/4 cup butter

(Filling)
2x 14 ounce (400 g) cans coconut milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
7 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1/3 cup cold water

(Topping)
The recipe suggests a (8 oz) container of frozen whipped topping (aka Cool Whip).  I’m not sure we can get that in Aus,  and whipped cream didn’t really appeal in this case, so I melted some dark chocolate and drizzled it over the top of each square

For the crust: Mix the sugar, flour and chopped nuts, cut the butter into small pieces and work into the dry ingredients (I  used my fingers).  Press the mixture into a 9×13 inch baking pan.  Bake at 180 deg C for 20 minutes (my oven took a bit longer), or until slightly brown around the edges

For the filling: Put the coconut, milk and sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Mix the corn starch and cold water and add to the coconut mixture.  Cook until the mixture boils and thickens, stirring frequently.  When thick and smooth, remove from the heat and cool to lukewarm. Pour the haupia mixture over the baked crust and chill for 3-4 hours (or overnight).

If you’re interested in using coolwhip or cream, spread over the haupia when it is  thoroughly chilled and then cut into 24 squares.  Instead I drizzled melted dark chocolate ‘artistically’ on each square after they were cut. Yum!!

Poached Pears

I have to make a confession, these poached pears were all about using up some rose we were probably never going to drink ( it was okaaaay, but not great. AND I’d had a case so there were lots of bottles left).

Poached Pears

The recipe came from the internet – there were lots of recipes out there but in the end I went with this one from Taste.com.

We didn’t have marscapone, so I served them with honey flavoured greek yoghurt. The only thing I’d do next time (and there will be a next time, if only because I have more rose!!) is make sure I reduce the sauce more.   I  had a lot left over and I think it could have been thicker and richer.

Poached Pears