Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Cauliflower soup and waiting for solstice

It’s that time of year when we in the southern hemisphere gaze longingly at the blogs of our northern friends, with their pictures of sunny skies, water-skiing, salads, peaches and raspberries and sorbets and ice creams, oh, I’m so jealous!
It has started to get pretty cold here in Sydney, and I, for one, am really looking forward to this Friday, which is winter solstice. Actually, I’m looking forward to it being after the solstice, because the days will be getting longer and it will be our turn for the warmer months.
I can’t say I ‘do’ winter particularly well, but thankfully, there are heaps of magazines and cookbooks out there that are more inspired when it comes to taking advantage of the wintery atmosphere. Like this cosy and very delicious soup from donna hay. I made a pot of this soup and served it in mugs and ate/drank it in front of an inviting panel heater with the cat purring on a cushion beside me.
Maybe I could get used to this ‘winter’ thing. Then again, probably not.
Cauliflower Soup with Spiced Cauliflower
serves 2-3
2 tblsp olive oil
1 leek, trimmed and sliced
2 tsp crushed garlic
400g cauliflower (about ½ a small cauliflower), chopped roughly
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
2½ cups chicken stock
1 cup cream
Salt and pepper
Spiced cauliflower:
1 tblsp olive oil
40g unsalted butter
1 tsp crushed garlic
200g cauliflower, chopped
½ tsp ground cumin
1. For the soup: Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the leek and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes until softened.
2. Add the garlic, cauliflower and potatoes and cook for another 1 minute.
3. Add the stock, cream and salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, cover with the pan with a lid, and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat and use a stick (immersion) blender to blend until smooth.
5. For the spiced cauliflower: Place the oil, butter, garlic, cauliflower and cumin in a small frying pan over medium heat. Cook and stir for about 6 minutes, or until the cauliflower is crisp and golden.
6. To serve: Spoon the soup into bowls and top with the spiced cauliflower and butter from the frying pan. Serve with crusty bread, if desired.
recipe from donna hay magazine (Jun/Jul 2013)
This cauliflower soup is light and tasty, served with crusty bread

Spoon on some spiced cauliflower with crispy bits from the pan.
A true winter warmer.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Kindlech strudel, rolled so fine

How are you with ‘getting’ a recipe from just reading it? Or do you find it so much easier – and more inspiring – to see it demonstrated, as well?
Obviously, I’m all for the see-and-do method of recipe-learning. I can count on 5 fingers the number of dishes from Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals book that I’ve flipped over, but they have become ‘must-makes’ after seeing them on his TV show.
Likewise with Little Paris Kitchen with Rachel Khoo. Seeing her whip up beef bourguignon or chocolate lava cakes in her tiny toaster oven makes me think, “I’d really like to make that and I think I CAN”. Notice how I completely ignore the fact that Rachel Khoo has done a Cordon Bleu cookery course while I have, um, almost every issue of Donna Hay magazine…
Well, I recently saw these Kindlech (strudel pastries) made ‘in real life’ by the Monday Morning Cooking Club ladies.  And I also tasted them and they were amazing, the pastry was so thin and light and crisp, with a filling of jam, sultanas and Nutella that complemented it perfectly. There was no way I’d ever imagine making these myself, but seeing them demonstrated changed all that and I ended up making a more-than-passable version myself at home.
Here is an excellent video from Appliances Online of the same demo that I was at. Watch it and tell me you don’t want to try this yourself.

And here’s the recipe.
makes 4 rolls
Pastry (start the day before):
1 egg yolk
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature, chopped
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
75g sour cream
240g plain flour
Filling (per roll):
1 tblsp chocolate-hazelnut spread (eg. Nutella)
1 tblsp raspberry, strawberry or apricot jam
2 tblsp sultanas
1 egg yolk, beaten, for glazing
1. For the pastry: Place all the pastry ingredients in a food processor and mix until a ball of dough forms, or mix together with your hands. Form the dough into a disc and wrap in plastic film and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
2. To make the rolls: Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Line baking trays with paper.
3. Remove the dough from the fridge and allow to soften slightly. Cut the dough into 4 equally-sized pieces (each piece makes one roll). Knead each piece of dough on a lightly floured surface, then, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough thinly into a rectangle about 30cmx15cm (12”x6”). The pastry should be so thin that it is a little translucent.
5. Spread the choc-hazelnut spread and jam over the pastry, right to the edges, then sprinkle with sultanas. Roll up from the long edge to form a log, then place seamside-down on the baking tray. Repeat with the other pieces of dough.
6. Brush the rolls with beaten egg yolk, then prick the rolls a couple of times with a sharp knife (to let air escape and prevent cracking). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
7. To serve, use a sharp, serrated knife to cut each piece diagonally into 10 slices.
The cut slices can be stored in a foil-lined airtight container for up to 2 days.
Recipe adapted from Monday Morning Cooking Club

Ingredients, including apricot jam, Nutella, sultanas.
Cut the dough into 4, and each piece makes 1 roll.

Spread the jam and Nutella onto the thinly-rolled pastry. You can also add chopped walnuts as well as sultanas.

When cool, cut each roll into pieces to serve.

Take my word for it: these are seriously good pastries, very moreish and just as good the next day.

Tabitha cat licking her chops at the thought of CRUMBS! 
On another note, I really should move that kitchen stool so that Tabs can't jump on it.