Stromboli- a Fantastic Picnic Loaf

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This one has been sitting and waiting to be blogged.  I don’t know why it took me so long because I really wanted to share this recipe with you as it’s a family favourite. You will never have a boring sandwich for your picnics ever again!

This was the first time I’ve made a stromboli.  I’ve made similar loaves but this one was far the best one I’ve made and eaten.  We took it out on one of our family days and it was a hit with the family.  It’s basically a sandwich and filling baked all in one.  You can choose what ever filling you and your family wants.  I made one with two different fillings.  One side for me and hubby with roasted peppers, pastrami, salami, and mozzarella cheese while I filled the other half with ham and cheddar cheese for the kids.   A two in one!!

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The recipe below is slight variation from Jo Wheatly, the winner of BBC’s The Great British Bake Off.

Recipe:

  • 340g strong white flour (bread flour), plus extra for kneading
  • 7g fast action yeast
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 200ml warm water
  • 4 springs of rosemary

fillings:

  • 1 jar of basil and parmesan tapenade
  • 1 small jar of roasted peppers in olive oil
  • 100g sun-dried tomatoes
  • 150g mozzarella cheese
  1. Combine the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre.
  2. Add 2tbs of olive oil from the roasted peppers and add 200 ml of the water.  Mix until you have a soft dough.
  3. Knead with hands for 10 mins or mixer with a dough hook  for 6 mins.
  4. Once the dough is smooth and elastic, place in a large oiled bowl .  Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  5. Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead for 1 minute to knock back and then roll into a 40cm x 20cm rectangle.
  6. Spread the tapenade then scatter the fillings evenly over the dough.
  7. Fold the shorter ends of the rectangle over and roll the dough into a tight Swiss roll spiral.
  8. Carefully transfer to a baking tray with the seam on the bottom.
  9. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to prove again for another 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  10. Preheat over to 220degC (200degC fanforced)
  11. Brush with a little olive oil and push the rosemary springs onto the top.
  12. Bake in the middle of the oven for 30 mins until golden brown, then turn down the temperature to 200degC (180degC fanforced) for another 10 minutes
  13. Cool and then cut into thick slices to serve.

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Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

 

 

Make time to enjoy Afternoon Tea

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Make time to sit down and enjoy an afternoon treat.  Lately life seems to go by so quickly.  Life is fast paced and full of activity.  For me, working long hour days, I don’t get the chance to sit down and enjoy and a cup of coffee or a pot of tea with a little treat.

 

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Having some down time is very important.  It’s time to collect thoughts and enjoy some quiet time.  I know it’s hard.  Even though I sit down, I’m constantly thinking about planning our family meals for next week or what chores and events I need to attend to next weekend.

The ritual of sitting down for a cuppa is long gone but I would like to bring it back.  I enjoy a cup of coffee or sometimes a pot of freshly brewed tea.  I always need to accompany my drink of choice with a sweet treat.  Of late, I have put aside my Sunday afternoon, even for just half an hour to sit down, enjoy a cuppa.  I often read a magazine while partaking in a sweet treat.

If I can do it al fresco, it’s even better.

 

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For treats, I like scones.  I’ve recently had the delicious range of scones from baker’s delight.  Or if you’re up to baking up a storm to create your own special treat to enjoy, you can look here for some of my recipes.

Scones and the Christina Re tea cup came courtesy of Baker’s Delight and Keep Left PR

Bon appetite,

Cherrie

 

 

Mini Limoncello Meringue Pies

 

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I’m happy to say that our lemon tree is now giving us constant supply of lemons.  Having said that though, I need to keep finding ways of using up all the lemons.  So far, I’ve managed to use them up in mostly sweets and desserts. Hey, what can I say? My family love desserts :p

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I found this recipe in one of my many Women’s Weekly cookbooks.  I’ve made lemon curd many times before and I usually use the same recipe but I thought I’d try this one as it also uses limoncello.  I like this recipe too.  It’s not as tart and it’s a little sweeter.  This recipe states that you should make the curd the day before, unfortunately, I wasn’t quite so organised.  I let the curd chill in the fridge for a few hours before using it.  It was still a little runny but it didn’t affect the flavour or the final outcome.

I used a blow torch for the meringue on top, however if you don’t have a torch, you can place in a hot oven (240degc) for a couple of minutes until the meringue gives a nice brown colour.

 

mini lemon meringue tart

 

Recipe:

  • 260g plain flour
  • 40g icing sugar
  • 185g cold unsalted butter, chopped coarsely
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp iced water, approx.
  • 3 egg whites
  • 165g caster sugar

 

Limoncello curd:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 1tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 60ml lemon juice
  • 90g cold unsalted butter, chopped
  • 1 tbs limoncello liqueur

 

Make the limoncello curd:

  1. Whisk egg yolks and sugar in medium heatproof bowl until pale and thickened slightly.
  2. Add the zest and juice, stir over medium saucepan of simmering water about 10-12 minutes or until mixture coats the back of a spoon.
  3. Remove from heat, gradually whisk in butter until combined between additions.
  4. Stir in limoncello; cover, refrigerate overnight.

 

Make the pie :

  1. Process flour, icing sugar and butter until crumbly.  With motor operating, add egg yolk and enough of the water to make ingredients cling together.  Turn dough into floured surface, knead gently until smooth.  Wrap pastry in plastic.  Refrigerate for 30 mins.
  2. Grease two 12 hole mini muffin pans.  Roll out the pastry between sheets of baking paper until about 5mm thick.  Cut out 6cm rounds then press into holes of the pan.  Prick base of cases with a fork.  Refrigerate 30mins
  3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 220degC
  4. Bake cases about 8-12mins then stand for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool.
  5. Beat egg whites ina small bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Gradually add caster sugar, beating until dissolved between additons.
  6. Divide the limoncello curd into cases.
  7. Spoon meringue mixture into piping bag fitted with 1cm plain tube.  Pipe meringue over curd.
  8. Use a blow torch to brown the meringue.

 

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Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

How Do You Eat Your Hot Cross Buns?

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So, how do you eat your Hot cross buns?

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Do you eat it toasted with lashings of butter for breakfast at the kitchen table in your pyjamas or do you like to scoff them down with butter and jam for afternoon tea with friends?  Either way, it’s time to eat them now!

I was given a chance to try eating them with all kinds of spreads.  Some of which I haven’t even thought of.  For me, I like to eat them with a thick layer of butter with a good cup of coffee.  Thanks to to Baker’s Delight, I was able to try them with caramel spread, honey and lemon curd.

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In my house, my family eats them all different times of the day depending on when we crave them.  Most of all, while they are available, they are best eaten fresh when they are still soft.  We can go through so many packets during Easter.  It’s definitely a favourite with everyone in our house.

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Whilst the kiddies like them with strawberry jam, I have discovered my love for caramel spread on warm hot cross buns. I have a sweet tooth, as you can tell from all the baking I do.  This really hits the spot when I have my late night sweet cravings.  Hubby tried the lemon curd and he loved it! He loves the combination of the spices and sweetness of the hot cross buns mixed with the sourness of the lemon curd.  If you haven’t tried it before you need to try!

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Anyway, however you enjoy these sweet spiced buns, I hope it’s shared with family and friends together filled with love and laughter this Easter.

From my family to yours,

Hope you have a blessed and happy Easter.

Cherrie

Eating out with kids AND a Giveaway

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You must know by now that I have two small children.  I know, I probably go on about them in my blog, but this one is especially for them.  Hubby and I love eating out. I especially love it when we go out as a family. Taking our children out for a meal is a great way for them to learn about different cuisines. It gives the kids a chance to experience different food and they can make up their own minds on what they like and don’t like.

As a family, we were given the opportunity to try out a couple of kid-friendly places in the inner north suburbs.  We don’t live there but like to venture out to cafes and restaurants.  In the past we have enjoyed meals at various places and we love to return over and over again.

To celebrate all things inner north, a Facebook page has been set up where you can click “like” to keep up to date with events and festivals.  Head on over to their page for your chance to win the Ultimate Northside Experience valued at $4000!  Check it out for more details.

One place that was a must try was breakfast at the Auction Rooms in North Mellbourne.  This place has a great breakfast menu for both adults and children.  The staff are friendly and the food is tasty and beautifully presented.

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 Hubby really enjoyed the crumbed black pudding with tomatillo salsa and pickled pine mushrooms whilst I ate the tasty gammon ham steaks, spinach pancakes and poached eggs.

 The kids enjoyed poached eggs on sourdough and a bruleed french toast.  The french toast was to die for and was thoroughly enjoyed by all of us.  The servings were quite big for the children but mummy and daddy didn’t mind helping them out at all ;)

Another go-to place for children in the inner north is Shocolate.  All kids love chocolate.  This cafe is located on the corner of Johnston & Brunswick streets, Fitzroy.  Their glass display of éclairs and macarons looked gorgeous and they have a great kids menu.  The cafe is intimate making it very family friendly and the service was happy and cheerful.

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Look at the smiles on their chocolate covered faces.Shocolate5

 We “inhaled” their fantastic iced chocolate, the kids ate crispy and crunchy dessert (chocolate ice cream with crisp pearls – cereal balls in chocolate) and the shocolate éclair.

Shocolate

My tips on eating out with small children:

  • I like to check out the menu before heading out to the restaurant to make sure it’s kid friendly.  Also, if you have picky children or children with allergies, this will also aide on deciding if the cafe/restaurant menu is suitable for your family.
  • I like to have wet wipes every time we go out to eat.  Little hands tend to get very sticky, very quickly.
  • Keep the kids occupied while waiting for their meals.  I like to bring along pencils and paper or digital devices to keep them busy before their meals come.  There’s nothing worse than having hungry AND bored children.
  • If you need high chairs, I suggest you give the cafe a quick call before heading out there as not all supply them.  Some are also not pram friendly so keep that in mind if you need to have the pram with you.
  • Try visiting places you may not usually go. This will help expand your kid’s palettes.

I’m hosting a giveaway on my blog to win a $50 voucher for 400 Gradi,  an Italian Pizzeria located in East Brunswick featuring wood fired pizzas and a Neapolitan menu.  To enter, leave a comment below telling me which cafe or restaurant in the inner north you frequent and why.  Get on it now!!

This giveaway ends Midnight 27th April and is only open to readers who are able to dine in at the restaurant in East Brunswick.  Please share by tweeting or facebooking.  Good Luck! 

My family dined at Shocolate and Auction rooms courtesy of Keep Left PR, Hockingstuart and Live North.

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

 

Easy Rice Crispies Easter Nests

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I love making little treats for the kiddies.  I try to find recipe that are quick and can be made in a moments notice, provided you have the ingredients of course.

Since Easter is coming up fast, I’ve  decided to make these Easter egg nests for a treat.  It’s also perfect if you want to bring a little something to a friend’s place to eat after a meal.

This has only 4 ingredients and the kids can help decorate them.  You can garnish these nests with anything you like, it doesn’t have to be for only an Easter treat.  Use your imagination :)

 

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Recipe:

  • 1 tbs butter
  • 100g mini marshmallows
  • 2 cups Rice bubbles (rice krispies)
  • Mini Chocolate Easter eggs

 

  1. Prepare a 12 hole muffin tin with cupcake cases.  Set aside
  2. In a saucepan melt butter over low heat then add the marshmallows
  3. Continue stirring until the marshmallow has melted.  Careful not to burn the bottom of the pan
  4. Add the rice bubbles and stir until all the cereal has been coated with the marshmallow mix.
  5. Using a tablespoon that has been lightly coated in oil, spoon  the mixtures into the cupcake cases.
  6. Use the back of the spoon to make a little dent in the centre.
  7. Place in fridge for about 15-30 mins to set a little
  8. Garnish with Easter eggs

 

Easter Nest

Happy Easter.

Cherrie

 

Leche Flan Ice Cream

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Hands up if you like ice cream.

Keep your hands up if you like eating ice cream any time of the year.

I love ice cream and I can eat it by the bowl full and not only during summer.  I can eat ice cream at midnight in the middle of winter while comfortably tucked under a thick warm doona.

While it’s nice to go out and buy good quality ice cream from stores, there is nothing better than home made ice cream.  Hubby bought me an ice cream maker and  have yet to use it.  I wanted to make my own creation using the best base recipe.  Creator of Harry’s Ice Cream, Lawrence Harris has shared his tips and recipe for making the best home made ice cream.  Harry’s ice cream has dessert flavoured ice creams that are out-of-this-world good and you can do the same at home. Nothing beats home made ice cream especially if you get to chose your own mix-ins.

The hard part was deciding what flavour and mix-ins I wanted to add.  When I decided to make my ice cream, my family was (and still is) obsessed with leche flan (Filipino creme caramel).  It was a brilliant idea.  To Lawrence’s base recipe, I added 2 more egg yolks and a tablespoon of custard powder to get the base flavour more custardy.  I also used sweetened condensed milk instead of sugar.  I use condensed milk in my leche flan so I wanted my ice cream to have the same flavour.  I then added a swirl of palm sugar syrup and topped it off with praline.

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Lawrence Harris’  tips for making the best home made ice cream.

  1. Keep it simple with a maximum of three additions; you want to be able to taste each element
  2. If you’re adding a very sweet mix-in such as white chocolate or honeycomb, consider reducing the amount of sugar in the base mix to ensure the end product is not overly sweet
  3. Think about each flavour on a plate and consider if they complement each other – match flavours that have a natural affinity to each other or reflect an existing dessert that works well.
  4. The freezer bowl you’re using should be completely frozen before starting the process – put it in the freezer for 24 hours prior
  5. Mix- in ingredients and flavours should be no larger than a 10 cent piece.

Leche Flan ice cream Recipe:

Ice cream:

  • 300ml pure cream
  • 300ml full cream milk
  • 395g can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 tbs custard powder

Palm sugar syrup

  • 200g palm sugar
  • 3/4 cup water

Praline

  • 1/2 cup white sugar

Make the palm sugar syrup

  1. Place the palm sugar and water in a small pot.
  2. On a low heat, melt the sugar then simmer until the mixture thickens a little.  Leave aside to cool

Make the praline:

  1. In a small saucepan, place 1/2 cup sugar on medium heat.
  2. Melt the sugar until golden brown in colour.  Do not stir, instead, swirl the pot until all the sugar is melted.
  3. Pour over baking/silicon paper and leave to cool and harden completely.
  4. Once hard, break into small pieces and set aside.

Make the ice cream:

  1. In a double saucepan on a low to medium heat, add the cream and milk and heat to 40degC
  2. Mix the custard powder with 2 tbs of the 300ml milk.
  3. Add the condensed milk and eggs and whisk continuously until the temperature reaches 80 degC.
  4. Remove from the heat and put the bottom of the saucepan in a bowl of ice water to prevent the mixture heating further.
  5. Let the mix cool to room temperature and then refrigerate to 4 degrees.
  6. When you’re ready to make your ice cream, remove the freezer bowl from the freezer and assemble your machine.  Turn the machine on first then pour in the mixture.
  7. The ice cream will take 15 to 30 minutes to thicken ( depending on your machine).
  8. When the ice cream is almost solidified, slowly drizzle in the cooled palm sugar syrup.  Let the ice cream churn a little longer to allow the syrup to be swirled into the ice cream a little.
  9. Once the ice cream is churned, transfer the mixture immediately to a freezer-safe container and put it in the freezer.  Freeze until your desired consistency or until ready to serve.
  10. When ready to serve, scoop ice cream into serving bowls and sprinkle the praline on top.

leche flan ice cream

Ingredients were provided by Keep Left PR and Harry’s Ice cream

Bon Apetite,

Cherrie