Bolognaise Rotolo and a Perfect Italiano Giveaway.

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My family loves pasta and finding new and interesting ways to cook it is always welcomed in my household.  I was given the opportunity to try the new ‘Perfect Italiano Perfect Bakes’ cheese blend. I jumped at the chance to try to create a dish that I knew my family would love.

I remember seeing a recipe in a food magazine a while back that was a cross between a lasagna and a cannelloni.  So I’ve used that recipe as an inspiration.  The recipe involved stuffing lasagne sheets with bolognaise and bechamel sauce and baking it in the oven in a tomato sauce.  I added more vegetables but diced them finely so my children didn’t know they were eating it (hehe…) It’s cheesy and packed full of flavour.  It was such a hit with the family that there were no left-overs.  If you have left over bolognaise sauce you can of course freeze it . The sauce can be kept frozen and then reheated and eaten with cooked pasta for a quick meal.

The use of the ‘Perfect Italiano perfect Bakes’ in this dish meant that I didn’t need to buy three different packets of cheese.  It is a full flavoured cheddar blend with a little mozzerella for stretch and parmesan for bite.

You can re-create my dish using The Perfect Bakes or visit their website here for more recipes.

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Recipe:

  • 500g pork and veal mince
  • 1/2 cup finely diced celery stick
  • 1/2 cup finely diced carrot
  • 1/2 cup finely diced mushrooms
  • 1 small brown onion, finely chopped
  • 3 crushed garlic cloves
  • 700g bottle passata
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 16 small lasagne sheets (or 5-6 large sheets)
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup ‘Perfect Italiano Perfect Bakes’ plus extra for serving
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste

bechamel sauce

  • 30g butter
  • 3 tbs plain flour
  • 2 cups milk
  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat.  Sweat the diced vegetables for 2-3 minutes then add the mince.  Keep stirring until browned.
  2. Add the passata and 1/2 cup of stock, sugar and salt & pepper.  Cook for 15 minutes or until the liquid evaporates.  Set aside to cool a little.
  3. Make the bechamel sauce by melting the butter in a small saucepan.  Stir in the flour for 1 minute then gradually add the milk a little at a time, stirring in between each addition, making sure it’s well combined before adding more.  Cook until mixture thickens slightly.
  4. Preheat oven to 180degC.  Spread 1 lasagne sheet with about 3 heaping tablespoons of the mince mixture then drizzle over 2 tablespoons of the bechamel sauce.
  5. Starting from a short side, roll up to form a log and cut into 2 (or 3 if using large sheets).  Place cut side up in a 20cm round ovenproof dish.
  6. Repeat with remaining lasagne sheets.
  7. Combine the tomato puree and remaining stock and pour over the rotolo.
  8. Sprinkle on the Perfect Italiano Perfect Bake cheese over the rotolo and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.
  9. To serve, sprinkle more of the Perfect Italiano Perfect bake cheese over the rotolo.

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OK, So, I have also a give away for 2 lucky readers.  I have 2 Perfect Italiano cheese graters to give away.

Perfect Italiano cheese grater

All you need to do is leave a comment simply telling me what bake you would cook using the ‘Perfect Italiano Perfect Bakes’.

Competition is open now until Monday 30th September midnight and is only open to Australian residents.

Please make sure to leave your email address so I may be able to contact you.

Ingredients and giveaway courtesy of KeepLeft PR and Perfect Italiano

Good luck!

Bon Appettite,

Cherrie

Lemon Curd Meringue Cake

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I love lemon curd.  It’s so easy to make.  Sometimes, I just whip it up and serve it in a jar on top a biscuit crumb base and topped with whipped cream.  Like my recipe here.  It can be used as a topping on top of cupcakes as well. Lemon curd can be used in many ways but I think the best way, I found, is in this cake.

I found this recipe in a women’s weekly cookbook and it may look hard to make but it’s actually quite simple.  This is definitely a show stopper!  It can be served as a dessert after dinner or as a sweet treat for afternoon tea.

The cake is best eaten after being  chilled overnight but, hey, who can wait that long?  Not my family, that’s for sure!

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Recipe:

  • 4 egg whites (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 125g white chocolate, coarsely grated.
  • 1 1/4 cups thickened cream
  1. Preheat oven to 160degC and grease a 24cm springform pan and line base with baking paper.
  2. Beat egg whites and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a small bowl until firm peaks form.  Add remaining sugar and beat on high speed for about 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Fold the chocolate and ground almonds into the meringue mixture.  Spread mixture into the pan and bake for about 40 minutes.  Cool meringue in the pan.
  4. Beat the cream until soft peaks and fold in the lemon curd (recipe below)
  5. Spoon the curd mixture onto the meringue and refrigerate several overs or overnight until firm.

Lemon curd:

  • 250g cold butter, chopped
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/3 cups caster sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  1. Place the butter in medium saucepan.  strain the egg yolks into the pan.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir over low heat, without boiling for about 10 minutes or until mixture thickly coats the back of a wooden spoon.
  3. Transfer curd to medium heatproof bowl.  Cover, refrigerate until cold.

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I need to make this again very soon!

Bon appetite,

Cherrie

Filipino Fiesta Party with Style

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It was party time!  What better way to celebrate a milestone birthday than to share it with family and friends and plenty of delicious food.  I invited over my food blogger friends and asked them to bring along a Filipino dish of their choice.  Some of them have eaten Filipino food but certainly not one of them have ever cooked or baked it before.

I have held many parties and dinner parties before but I have to say, most of my focus is usually on the food.  This time though, I wanted to have more style and pazzazz at my do.  As this fiesta, the guests were bringing a dish (or two or three) each, I didn’t have to worry whether there will be enough food.  As food bloggers, we tend to over cater.

Thanks to Fleishman Hillard PR company, I was provided with a party kit which included fun retro straws and napkins, deco tea light holders and candles for ambience and a stylish wine bucket to keep the wine and drinks cold.

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candles are a great way to create an ambience

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Use a stylish ice bucket to keep your drinks cold

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Wonderful Pistachios are a wonderful addition to the nibbles

The food my friends brought along were amazing.  I was really impressed at their effort, most especially because they have never cooked Filipino food before.  We also ordered a HUGE lechon.  The meat was so tender and moist and the skin/crackling was so crunchy.  It was amazing.

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The table was laden with wonderful and delicious Filipino food. My friends rock!!

My birthday cake was the highlight of the night.  My very good friends (aka #CakeSquad) Shellie and Thanh, made me a ube, pandan and coconut ombre cake, topped with macarons.  AMAZING!

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If you follow me on istagram and/or twitter, you will know that I share my birthday with my little boy.  We celebrated his birthday with family.

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Thomas with his spider man birthday cake I made for him

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photos taken by my bro @epu3on

Here are a few tips from Style and Fashion Host Melissa Hoyer to keep guests and yourself happy whilst entertaining,.

  1. Parties are all about the people so get the guest list right.  Aim to have groups of people with common interests and that you know will “gel” together well.
  2. Three week rule: I suggest inviting your guests at least 3 weeks in advance.  Hosts should give an email address for their guests to RSVP to, that way, the confirmation is saved and you can go back to it when you finalise the guest list.
  3. Be present and available.  This can be hard when you’re constantly refilling the buffet table and justling trays of food.  More importantly, everyone has come to see you and if they see you stressed then they will become uneasy
  4. To theme or not to theme: Themed parties puts a gimmick in every guest but really gives your guests the opportunity to talk about something to other people at the party.
  5. No one goes hungry on your watch: I’m always thinking about my guests, making sure they are having fun and are relaxed.  Keep an eye out for clinking ice cubes.  Offer to refill drinks, as you carry around platter of delicious nibbles such as cheese, pistachios and gourmet dips.
  6. Provide light nibbles that are easy to serve and source: I’m pretty sure that generally people love going to parties because of the sheer hospitality they recieve.  I’m also sure that hosts put on parties to have fun too.   My typical platter of nibbles includes bowls of flavoured Wonderful Pistachios, brie, Camembert cheddar and Jarlsberg and lots of dip flavours like chili crab, guacamole baba ghanoush and beetroot.
  7. Is it OK to ask people to bring something?- Of course! Most people will want to bring something.  I often tend to ask to bring a bottle of something they like drinking.  As a host, be confident to put the request in the invite subtly.

Thanks to Fleishman Hillard for the party kit and for the Wonderful Pistachios,

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

Yorkshire Brack – Hubby Bakes!

Yorkshire Brack3 OMG! My Hubby baked!  My Hubby is an eater, not a baker. So you can imagine my surprise when he came up with this.  He did a great job and I was so proud of him :) He saw the recipe for Yorkshire brack on “Ade in Britain”, an English cooking show featuring Ade Edmondson.  You’ve would’ve seen him in shows such as “Young ones” and “Bottom”.  He hosted this cooking show which is one of Hubby’s favourites to watch.  Ade travels around Britain learning about local produce and of course, cooking along the way. Yorkshire Brack is a fruit cake with a tea infusion and is usually eaten for afternoon tea with a nice pot of tea but honestly, it can be eaten anytime you like.

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He decided to make this one day. It’s so easy to make that even a non-baker can make this.  It only has a handful of ingredients and basically everything is thrown into a bowl and mixed together.  The only thing is though, you need to plan ahead as the dried fruit need to soak in tea the night before.  No offense to Hubby, but if he can make this, anyone can. Yorkshire Brack4 I’m not really a fruit cake fan but I have to say, this cake is probably the only one I have enjoyed eating.  It has a treacley, caramely flavour and the sultanas and raisins give it a real sweetness.  You can play with the type of tea you use to give the cake different flavours. Recipe:

  • 150ml of hot tea
  • 454g of mixed dried fruit (sultanas, raisins and currants)
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 175g demerara sugar (can also use raw sugar)
  • 1 egg, beatened
  1. Soak the dried fruit in the hot tea overnight
  2. Next day, Preheat oven to 160degC
  3. Drain the dried fruit into a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well to combine. If mixture is too dry, add another egg and mix.
  4. Spoon the mixture into a prepared loaf tin and bake for approximately for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean
  5. Best served warm with butter and a slice of cheese.

Yorkshire Brack5 Bon Appetite, Cherrie

Ooey Gooey Calamansi Bars

 

 

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I love calamansi (or calamondin). I planted a tree and waited and waited for it to bear fruit.  If you have been following my blog, then you will know that I do not have a green thumb.  I kill most plants.  So when my calamansi tree started bearing fruit, I couldn’t believe it.  I planted a tree that I didn’t eventually kill.

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I eventually started harvesting bags full of calamansi.  I usually just juice them and make calamansi drink or used it as an alternative to lemon juice in recipes.  This time, I decided to bake ooey gooey calamansi bars.  I got this recipe from the Yummy iPad app.  It’s a recipe app that is filled with delicious Filipino dishes and sweets.  It’s also an iPad version of the Yummy magazine.

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  • 1 3/4 cup plus 3 tbs all plain flour
  • 2/3 cup icing sugar plus extra for dusting
  • 1/4 cup corn flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups white sugar
  • 2 tsp calamansi zest
  • 1/2 cup calamansi juice
  • 1/3 cup milk

 

  1. Preheat oven 180degC (160degC fan forced)
  2. In a food processor bowl, combine the 1 3/4 cup plain flour, icing sugar, cornflour and salt.  Add the cubed butter and process for about 15 seconds or until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Press onto a 33×22 cm (13x9inch) baking pan.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes
  5. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, 3 tbs plain flour, calamansi zest and juice and milk.  Pour mixture onto warm crust.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until firm to the touch.
  7. Cool on a wire rack.  Slice evenly and dust with extra icing sugar.

 

 

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Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

Bacon and Cheddar Loaves

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What is better than the aroma of freshly baked bread? Freshly baked bread coming from your own oven.

Lately I’ve been a little obsessed with baking bread.  More specifically, Paul Hollywood‘s bread.  I’ve baked a few.  Some successful, some not so :(  However, I have found one that was (extremely) successful and better still, damn delicious.  There are a lot of bread recipes out there. Some are complicated and some are easy.  I think this recipe falls in between.  There are also some no-knead recipes out there.  Check out my instagram feed for one I baked for our ANZAC day picnic or check out #ggbreadrevolution on instagram and twitter for more pics of yummy bread.

These loaves are baked with bacon pieces and cheddar cheese.  These two ingredients lifts the flavour profile through the roof.  It was a hit with hubby and the kiddies so it is definitely a recipe I will use again and again.

 

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400g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
100g strong wholemeal bread flour
10g salt
10g instant yeast
30g unsalted butter, softened
330ml cool water

For the filling
8 rashers of smoked bacon, rind removed, cooked and chopped into small pieces
150g cheddar, grated

 

1. Tip the flours into a large bowl and add the salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the butter and 3/4 of the water and turn the mixture round with your fingers. Continue to add the remaining water, a little at a time, until you’ve picked up all the flour from the sides of the bowl. You may not need to add all the water, or you may need to add a little more. You want dough that is soft, but not soggy. Use he mixture to clean the inside of the bowl and keep going until the mixture forms a rough dough.

2. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and begin to knead. Keep kneading for 5 to 10 minutes. Work through the initial wet stage until the dough starts to form a soft, smooth skin.

3. When your dough feels smooth and silky, put it into lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a the towel and leave to rise until at least doubled in size (at least 1 hour but can be left for 2 or 3 hours)

4. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

5. Once the dough is risen, add the bacon and cheese to it and knead it until well distributed. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly, pushing any pieces of bacon or cheese that bounce out back in.

6. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and shape into ovals, tapering the ends of the loaves into points. Place the dough ovals onto trays, spacing them apart. Dust the loaves with flour and deeply slash the tops lengthways.

7. Put each tray inside a clean plastic bag and leave to prove for 1 hour or until the dough is at least doubled in size and springs back quickly if you prod it lightly with your finger. Preheat your oven to 220degC.

8. Sprinkle the loaves with a little olive oil and bake for 20mins until golden brown. Eat warm.

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No matter how you bake and which recipe you use, home baked bread will always be better and more satisfying than bought bread.

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

Easter Simnel Cake

The Simnel cake is a cake traditionally baked during Easter in the UK. It's a light fruit cake that has two layers of marzipan, one in the middle and the other on top. The eleven balls of marzipan on top represent the 12 apostles minus Judas (for obvious reasons).

This fruit cake is lighter than the Christmas cake and the marzipan layer in the middle of the cake gives it a unique taste.

My Hubby loves fruit cakes and he has been bugging me for years to bake it for him. I finally caved in and made it for him this year. It got the thumbs up :)

The recipe, I used was Mary Berry's though I did change the number of lemons. I also changed the ratio of the dried fruits though the combined weight is still the same.
  • recipe:
  • 100g glacé cherries, cut into quarters
  • 225g softened butter
  • 225g brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 375 mixed dried fruit (sultanas, currants, fruit peel)
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 500g marzipan/almond paste
  • 2 tbs apricot jam, warmed in the microwave
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten, to glaze
  1. Preheat oven to 130degC Fan forced. Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl, until light and creamy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, to prevent them from curdling. Sift the flour and mix it in a little at a time.
  3. Add the cherries, mixed fruit, mixed spice and the zest and mix until well combined.
  4. Spoon half the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface.
  5. Take one third of the marzipan and roll it out to a circle the same size as the tin. Place it on top of the cake mixture. Spoon the rest of the cake mixture on top of the marzipan and level the surface.
  6. Bake for 2- 2/12 hours until well risen and equally browned on top. Check after 2 hours. Leave to cool in the tin for about 10mins before turning out onto a cake rack.
  7. When cooled, brush the warm apricot jam over the top of cake and roll out half of the remaining marzipan to fit the top of the cake. Press firmly on the top and crimp the edges. Lightly brush with the beaten egg.
  8. With the remaining marzipan, form eleven balls and arrange the balls around the edge of the cake. Brush the balls with the beaten egg.
  9. Place the cake under a hot grill to turn the marzipan golden-brown. Alternatively, you can use a blow torch,

Happy Easter and Bon Appetite,

Cherrie