Tuesday, October 5, 2010

French Vanilla Ice Cream

This is from the manual that came with my Kitchen Aid Ice Cream Maker. I've only made it once and had some coaching from my former-chef friend, but it certainly looks and tastes like "real" quality ice cream, and is a recipe I hope to practice again soon!

600ml (2.5 cups) full cream milk
8 egg yolks
230g (1 cup) sugar
600ml thickened cream
4 teaspoons vanilla
a pinch of salt

In medium saucepan over medium heat, heat full cream milk until very hot but not boiling, stirring often. Remove from heat; set aside.

Place egg yolks and sugar in mixer bowl. Attach bowl and wire whip to mixer. Turn to Speed 2 and mix about 30 seconds, or until well blended and slightly thickened. Continuing on Speed 2, very gradually add full cream milk; mix until blended. Return full cream milk mixture to medium saucepan; cook over medium heat until small bubbles form around edge and mixture is steamy, stirring constantly. Do not boil. Transfer milk mixture into large bowl; stir in cream, vanilla and salt. Cover and chill thoroughly, at least 8 hours.

Assemble and engage freeze bowl, dasher and drive assembly as directed in attachment instructions. Turn to Speed 1. Using a container with a spout, pour mixture into freeze bowl. Continue on Speed 1 for 15 to 20 minutes or until desired consistency. Immediately transfer ice cream into serving dishes, or freeze in an airtight container.

The biggest challenge with this recipe is cooking the milk/egg mixture to just the right point where it's hot but not so hot that the egg scrambles. If it scrambles, it puts little bits like sand into your ice cream and so it really needs to be thrown out, but of course, that is a very expensive exercise when you're throwing out 8 eggs... I think with practice you'd learn when it was warm enough.

I found the ice cream maker really easy to use. The only downside I can think of is that you have to freeze the bowl for at least 24 hours before you want to make ice cream. It does take up a fair bit of room in the freezer, and it's not like you can whip up a bowl of ice cream whenever the mood grabs you. Also, the milk/egg/cream mixture has to go in the fridge for at least 8 hours (I left it for 24 hours since it was easier to concentrate when the kids are asleep), so there is a bit of waiting around. Otherwise, it gets a big thumbs up! When it's done the 15 minutes, it comes out like soft serve ice cream but without all the additives. I can't wait until summer!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Chocolate Topping

Yes, you can make this yourself! I've only made it once, so I've got no tips yet, but it's easy to make and you end up with about 900mL of chocolate topping so it's heaps cheaper than buying ready made too!

6 Tablespoons Golden Syrup
6 Tablespoons Cocoa
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 1/2 Cups Sugar
1 1/2 Cups Water

Mix all ingredients together in a large saucepan and boil for 3 minutes. This will keep indefinitely. If using hot do not reboil.

See, could it be any easier?

Chicken risotto

I think I got this from the SunRice website years ago, but it's evolved over the years as I've had to cut corners because of time limitations with the kids. Here's the original recipe:

4 finely diced chicken thigh fillets
1/4 cup dry white wine
420g can Heinz Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
1 tbsp oil
1 peeled and diced onion
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
2 cups arborio rice
3 cups chicken stock or water
2 cups well packed, tender spinach leaves

1. Heat the oil in a large lidded saucepan, add the onion and chicken and cook over a moderately high heat for 3-5 minutes until the chicken is browned and the onion softened.

2. Add the arborio rice and toss to coat in the onions.

3. Add the Condensed Creamy Chicken Soup, wine and chicken stock or water and stir to mix well. Cover and simmer very gently for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally until the rice is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed.

4. Stir in the spinach and parmesan cheese and stand for 2 minutes to allow the spinach to wilt and the parmesan to melt.

I use chicken tenderloins instead of the thigh fillets, only because they're easier to cut. I use Campbells Cream of Chicken and Corn soup, but any of that variety work OK. I don't use stock, only water, because the girls don't like it salty.

I'm not very good at planning ahead with meals yet, so I usually use frozen cubes of spinach (from the frozen vege section of the supermarket) as well as frozen peas, corn, sometimes capsicum and onion.

I put it into tupperware containers and put it in the freezer for quick meals. I know freezing rice is not ideal, but I don't cook it all the way the first time, so when I reheat it, I sprinkle some water on the top and it takes it to risotto perfection, rather than overly gluggy.

OK, so it's not fancy, but it's nutritious and it's one of the few things I cook that the girls never refuse, so it's staying on the menu rotation for now....

Playdough- cooked

OK, so this is not strictly food, although E had a good snack on it today, complete with face pulling, but she did keep going back for more. Crazy child!

2 cups plain flour
4 tablespoons cream of tartar
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cup salt
food colouring
2 cups of water

Mix the above ingredients in a saucepan, and stir over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, until the mixture congeals.

That's it! I leave the food colouring until the very end, so you can make a few lumps of playdough and put in different food colouring for each lump so they have a few colours to choose from.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I've been baking bread for a few weeks now, and just cannot believe how easy it is with the Kitchenaid mixer. I was doing an OK job, but I got some tips from a friend who used to be a chef, and now the results are magnificent!

Here's the short version of the recipe:

630g plain flour
12g yeast
10g salt
6-10g bread improver (depending on strength of bread improver)
350ml warm water

Mix dry ingredients together.
Knead for 10 mins.
Put bowl in sink with a bit of warm water at the bottom and cover with a pot lid for 30-45 mins until it doubles in size.
Knead for less than 5 mins, just until it becomes a blob of dough again.
Put into bread tin and let rise ("prove") for 1 hour.
Cook in oven for 10 mins at 220°C, turn and then cook for another 5 mins.

Here's the finer details:
Flour- regular plain flour is fine. Don't waste your money on fancy baking flour, and especially not the "Simply No Knead" flours. Just buy the cheapest flour you can find in the supermarket.
Yeast- I use Lowans brand from the supermarket and store it in the freezer.
Bread Improver- You can buy this from the flour section of the supermarket, but I don't like it because it's full of additives and numbers that I don't understand. I'm currently using the Simply No Knead Bread Improver that I bought from a health food shop and it works fine. You should also store the bread improver in the freezer after you open it too. Apparently straight Vitamin C powder could work, but I haven't tried it yet...

Put the KA bowl on the scales, and then tare it. Then add the ingredients straight into the bowl (you'll need scales that have 2g increments). Less dishes that way, and easier to measure the small ingredients. Turn the mixer on just for a little bit until the dry ingredients are mixed together.

The water needs to be warm, not hot. I think the Simply No Knead site says 200ml boiling water, 300ml tap water (remembering that for this you only need 350ml) but I've been using water from the hot tap- just the warm bit before it turns scalding. Too hot and the yeast won't work.

Turn the mixer on, add say three quarters of the water then watch it until all the flour is mixed in. What you want is a big ball of dough, so if it's still dry, add some more water, but if it's sticking at the bottom then you've gone too far. I don't know what you can do to fix that yet, besides adding more flour, but then you run the risk of not having enough yeast, and so on. Not enough water in the dough and it won't rise enough. It's a delicate balance!

Set the timer for 10 minutes and go do something else. But as an aside, while kneading the dough, the KA bowl can get really firm at the base where it screws in, which makes it difficult to remove at the end. To avoid this, every so often just unscrew the bowl gently to loosen it. You don't have to stop the mixer or anything, but if you don't do it, it could be near impossible to get the bowl out at the end!

When the 10 mins are up, put the KA bowl and it's contents in the sink with an inch or two of hot water in the bottom (of the sink, not the bowl!), and then put a pot lid on top to help it maintain the warmth. Don't fill the sink too much or the yeast will die where the hot water is touching the bowl and the bread won't rise so much.

Let it rise (prove) for 30-45 mins, just until it doubles in size. There's nothing to be gained by leaving it longer. Put the KA bowl back in the mixer and turn it on just until the dough becomes one big lump again. I put the dough on the floured bench and roll it into a log the size of the bread tin. You can oil the tin and shake some sesame seeds around in there too if you like. Then, put the bread tin back in the sink (making sure the water in the sink is warm) and leave it to prove for an hour or so.

Preheat the oven (I often turn it on when I put the bread tin in the sink just so I don't forget) and when you're done proving the bread, put it straight in the oven. In my oven it takes about 20-30 mins, but usually I'm too lazy to turn the tin. When time is up, tip it out onto a cooling rack and sit the cooling rack on top of the bread tin so the air can circulate around the bread properly.

And that's it! Lovely warm bread. Don't cut it too soon, because it's very soft and squashes easily. I usually let it cool for at least an hour, and then slice it up with an electric knife and a slicing guide. If we're not eating it straight away, I put it in a ziplock bag and into the freezer. It's great for sandwiches, the toast can be a bit dry, but I'm still working on that!

It's really not that hard, just a few little tricks to help it along. I've been making almost all our own bread for the last 3 weeks, and if I can do it, anyone can.

Good luck!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Marbled Loaf

A new recipe from this month's Recipes Plus magazine (August 2010). I have a ton of old cooking magazines and I can only justify buying new ones if I actually try out the recipes each month. G helped me cook it, she's learning to break eggs, which she does just by squeezing the eggs and pulling the shell out afterwards. It's not a great technique, but it is effective, even if it takes ages picking out the shell fragments afterwards...

Here's the recipe:

Marbled Loaf

Serves 10

150g butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup milk, plus 1 tablespoon extra
Few drops pink food colouring
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
Chocolate Glaze (recipe to follow), to serve
2 tablespoons flaked almonds, toasted

1. Preheat oven to 180°C/ 160° fan forced.
Grease and line a 6cm deep, 19x9 cm (base measurement) loaf pan with baking paper, extending paper at long sides for handles.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl until light and creamy. Add eggs, one by one, beating well after each addition. Transfer to a large bowl. Fold in sifted flour and 1/2 cup milk, in 2 batches.

3. Divide mixture evenly among 3 bowls. Tint 1 portion pink. Combine cocoa powder and extra milk in a small bowl; stir into another portion. Leave remaining portion plain. Drop alternate spoonfuls of the mixtures into prepared pan. Swirl with a skewer to marble; smooth surface.

4. Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted at centre comes out clean. Remove from oven. Stand in pan for 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

5. Make Chocolate Glaze as recipe directs. Spread glaze over cooled loaf. Serve loaf sprinkled with almonds.

Chocolate Glaze

*Prepare glaze while cake is cooling. Makes enough for 1 loaf.

75g dark eating chocolate, chopped
40g butter, chopped
1/3 cup icing sugar, sifted
1/4 cup sour cream

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook and stir for 2-3 minutes or until smooth. Cool slightly. Chill for 1 hour or until glaze thickens.

I didn't have any sour cream, so just used regular cream, which seemed to work OK. I put the glaze in the fridge, but then got distracted putting the girls to bed, and by the time I got back to it it had set solid. I nuked it in the microwave, and it was back to normal in no time, so that was a relief!

We haven't tasted it yet, it will be tomorrow morning's morning tea, only because we didn't finish icing it in time...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Chocolate Caramel Brownies

I love these!

I've only made it once so far, but I will definitely be making it again. The recipe says to use caramel easter eggs, but I used a block of caramello chocolate instead (though I might use Rolos next time).

Here's the link where I found it:


And here's the cut-and-paste recipe from the website:




  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 200g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup plain flour, sifted
  • 2 x 110g packets caramel Easter eggs (we used Red Tulip)
  • cocoa powder, to serve


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Grease an 18cm x 28cm rectangular slice pan. Line base and sides with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang at all sides.

  2. Place butter and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes or until smooth and combined. Remove from heat. Stir in sugar. Set aside for 5 minutes.

  3. Stir in beaten eggs and flour. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Spread top evenly with a spatula. Press chocolate eggs in brownie mixture. Bake for 25 minutes or until brownie is firm to touch. Cool in pan. Cut into 15 squares. Serve dusted with cocoa powder.

The only thing I don't like about this recipe is that you need to have the caramello chocolate ready whenever you want to cook it. So, it probably needs a bit more planning than something straight out of the pantry, since if there's a block of chocolate in the cupboard, I'd be really tempted to eat it straight and not wait to cook (although these brownies really are worth waiting for!).