Saturday, 24 May 2014

Ina Garten's Lemon Bars

I had a heap of lemons in the fruit bowl that needed to be used this week, you know how it is, you just buy more each week. 

I decided to try a recipe I have been looking at for a while.  Ina Garten has some fantastic recipes and this always looked good and fairly easy.

Shortbread Base

250gm room temp butter
1/2 cup castor sugar
2 cups plain flour

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 


Add flour half a cup at a time until just mixed. 

When mixed in turn out onto baking paper and combine together into a ball. 

In a lined or buttered and floured 9in by 12 in pan/tray press the base into the pan with your fingers, also press up the sides half and inch so it looks like a tart shell.  Place in the fridge and rest for 1 hour.  Bake at 175C for 15 to 20 minutes. 

Take out of the oven but leave the oven turned on and make the filling.

Lemon Filling

2 1/2 cups castor sugar
6 whole eggs
1 cup lemon juice (approx. 5 to 6 lemons)
2 tablespoons lemon zest (approx. 2 lemons)
1 cup plain flour

Place everything in a bowl and whisk or if your lazy like me blitz with your barmix.  Place tray back in oven and pour the lemon mix into the base.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the centre is set.

Cool in pan and cut.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Sponge Cake

It has long been a joke in our family that my mother made sponge cakes that bounced and even the dog would not eat them.  I however had the knack for making a light fluffy sponge.  Last year Mum made a sponge for me just to prove to me that she could! 

Yes Mum had found a fool proof recipe that told her how to get a good sponge every time, learning the small tricks I already knew.  Some of the things I know because I asked a WI lady in England and she kindly shared her secrets with a lonely 17 year old in a caravan park in England.

4 eggs
3/4 cup castor sugar
1/3 cup corn flour
1/3 cup self raising flour
1/3 cup plane flour

Pre heat your oven to 180C.

Stick the four eggs in your mixer with a whisk attachment and turn it on high.  Now for the tips.  Set your timer for 10 minutes and walk away!  This is what it looks like.

Now still with your mixer on high add the sugar a bit at a time.  When you have added all the sugar leave it for 5 more minutes on high while you do the rest.


Sift together the flours.  The normal recipes say sift it 2 times,  tip number 2.  Sift it 4 times, easiest way is to use 2 sheets of baking paper.

Sprinkle the sifted flour over the egg mixture, you will do this in four batches.  Tip number 3.  Use a clean dry metal spoon to mix the flour through the eggs in a bottom to top light motion, turning the bowl 90D after each time to mix through.

Place into 2 x 20 cm butter and floured or paper lined spring form tins.  Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and firm.

Allow to cool on rack.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Sultana Slice

There are some things, places, smells and tastes that just remind you of a time and a place when you were a child and things were a lot simpler than they are now.

This slice always takes me to Auntie Ann's kitchen when I was a child.  We would go and stay at Auntie Ann and Uncle Doug's house when Mum and Dad were going out or had something on.  My brother Owen and I would run into the kitchen and go straight to the 3 cake tins on the bench to see what Auntie Ann had been baking.

There was always Anzac's and Sultana Slice, I don't know about the third tin or I don't remember what it had because the slice was my favourite and I stopped there.

This was one of the first things I learnt to cook/bake.  I remember ringing Auntie Ann for the recipe and writing it in the back of one of Mum's Women's Weekly Cookbooks.  I think it is still in the recipe book shelf at Mum's, I now make it for my family and love eating it myself.

90gm room temp butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup Self Raising flour
2 eggs
1 cup sultanas

With and electric mixer crème the butter and sugar until light and fluffy approx. 5 to 10 minutes.

Add the eggs separately with mixer running on low until smooth.

Add sifted flour to the mixer and mix on low until just combined.

With a spatula stir through the sultanas.

Spread mixture into a slice or lamington tray.  It is easier to use a pallet knife or just a dinner knife that has been heated under hot running water to spread the mixture.

Bake for 30 mins at 180C or until cooked and golden on top.

Allow to cool on cake rack until cold.

For the icing 2 cups of icing sugar and the juice of one lemon are mixed together until smooth.

Spread icing on the cooled slice and then if desired top with flaked coconut or leave with just icing. 

The icing will take about an hour to set completely when it will be easier to cut into squares.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Not my Mama's Tiramisu

Happy Mother's Day to my Mum, Nana and both of my Aunties, I love you all very much, each and every one of you has shaped who I am and how I think and cook!

Now the title doesn't mean I don't love my Mum's Tiramisu!  I however find it a little heavy, so I tried many things to find a slightly lighter one, lots of chefs recipes some Italian Nona's recipes etc., etc. 

In the end I mixed a couple of recipes together including Mum's and the Italian Nona's.

**Warning this recipe has raw egg yolks**

4 egg yolks
1/4 cup castor sugar
2 x 250g mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup Marsala (or other type of liqueur eg rum)
1 1/2 cups cools strong coffee eg espresso
1 package of lady finger biscuits or savioradi (Italian sponge fingers)
dark chocolate to grate or cocoa powder

In your stand mixer or mixing bowl place the egg yolks and sugar. 

With a whisk attachment whisk together on high until doubled in size and light and fluffy.

Lower the speed to medium and add 1/4 cup of Marsala, 1/4 cup of coffee, and the mascarpone. Whisk until smooth.  Set aside.

Combine the remaining 1/4 cup Marsala and 1 1/4 cups coffee in a shallow bowl.

Dip one side of each ladyfinger in the coffee mixture and line the bottom of a 9 x 9 x 2-inch dish.

Pour half the mascarpone cream mixture over the top and spread evenly.

Repeat another layer of the dipped ladyfingers over the mascarpone cream.

Top with the remaining half of the mascarpone cream and spread evenly.

Grate dark chocolate generously over the top and refrigerate.

Refrigerate for at lest 4 hours.  Serve

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Sausage in Brown Onion Gravy

We had a bit of a blah weekend just gone,  the chief taste tester/bottle washer and I were sickies.  Winter has set in early and given us both colds, so no cooking bar the essential stuff. 

Sunday was our quarterly trip to Sydney for Costco and Sizzlers,  the other half hates shopping so his reward for driving to Sydney early on a Sunday morning and spending 30 minutes pushing the trolley around Costco while I "get" is to have lunch at Sizzlers on the way home.

So we have a midish week blog, I hope you don't mind.

Do you ever look at the sausages in the fridge and you just cannot face another boring sausage?  That was me this evening!  I gave my boys the options sausage and mash or sausage in brown onion gravy.  They chose the latter without the blink of an eye, I must say it is a nice change and easy to whip up on a weeknight.

1kg good quality sausages
1 tablespoon olive oil
20g butter
3 large brown onions, sliced
1/4 cup plain flour
2 cups beef stock
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup  tomato sauce

Cut sausages into 4 if using thin sausages 3 if using thick (manageable sized pieces).  Heat olive oil in pan and cook sausages, sausages just need to be browned on all sides.

Remove the sausages from the pan and place aside.

In the same pan melt the butter and add the onions,  you may need to turn down the heat so the onions don't burn.  Cook until translucent, add the flour and cook for 3 to 5 minutes stirring occasionally to ensure the flour doesn't burn.

Add the stock a little at a time stirring to create a thick sauce with no lumps.

Add the sauces and stir through and allow to come to a simmer.

Add the sausages back to the sauce, cover and allow to simmer over a low heat for 20 to 30 mins.

Serve with mash and peas.