German Mandarin and Yoghurt Torte

Yoghurt Mandarin Torte

Yoghurt Mandarin Torte

When Craig and I were recently in Germany we came across a cake/torte who knows what, that was AMAZING. Craig is not a desert person but we just kept going out to find more of this cake. It had a mostly biscuit, sometimes pastry, sometimes a bit of sponge base, a thick and creamy yoghurt filling and a layer of mandarin oranges with mandarin flavoured jelly. That’s pretty much the best way to describe it! We were determined to try and make it when we got home.

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Now that we are home I tried to find a recipe which turned out to be a lot more difficult than I expected! I googled the name of it which returned nothing, I googled mandarin yoghurt cake/torte/cheesecake/slice etc…. in 17 different languages etc… The only thing I found was something that looked remotely similar and it was written in German. All I can say is google translate saved our valentines day! I hope I translated everything correctly, but even if I didn’t this desert turned out really well! It’s not very sweet which Craig and I liked, and the mandarins are sweet enough anyway. Its pretty much the ultimate summer desert in my mind. I can’t wait to make it again for family dinner/work bake sale, anything really! Plus I found out that the yoghurt I used is REALLY cheap at Costco. So friends and family you can expect this for a while I think!

 

Ingredients:

160g wholemeal biscuits
80g butter melted
200g whipping cream
400g creamy yoghurt ( I used fat free Jalna)
100g sugar
7 1/2 sheets of gelatin
2 small cans or 1 large can of mandarin oranges in syrup

Method

1. Grease a 22cm spring-form pan

2. Crush the biscuits (in a zip lock bag or use a food processor)  and combine with the melted butter. Press it in to the base of the spring-form pan and refrigerate it while you are making the yoghurt mixture.

3. Whip the cream and drain the mandarins. Prepare the gelatin according to the package instructions. I soaked the sheets for about 5 minutes in cold water and then squeezed the excess water out of them before placing in a small saucepan.

4. With a hand mixer combine the yoghurt and sugar in a large bowl ensuring the sugar dissolves into the yoghurt.

5. Heat the gelatin on low in a small saucepan until completely dissolved. Add about a tablespoon of the yoghurt mixture to the dissolved gelatin and mix it through evenly.

6. Add the gelatin to the yoghurt and sugar mixture and combine with a hand mixer until smooth.

7. Whisk in the cream and place on top of the biscuit in the spring-form pan. If you want you can place about a half inch of the yoghurt mixture in the pan and then place a few of the mandarin pieces in followed by the remaining mixture. If you want your mandarins on top only then don’t worry about this.

8. Place the drained mandarins on top of the yoghurt mixture and then refrigerate for at least four hours.

 

Next time I make this I want to try it with the jelly mixture on top like the one we had in Munich. I just figure you would want to have the yoghurt set first and then do the jelly on top and let that set for at least 4 hours. I’ll use the juice from the mandarins in the jelly too.

The original in Munich

The original in Munich

Some photos from our trip!

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Ice creams in Koblenz. German ice cream is seriously amazing.

Our first taste of German take out in Frankfurt.

Craig’s baguette In Liege was probably one of the highlights of his trip!

The highest peak in the Black Forrest. It was a little chilly!

Finally the sun came out in Pisa. I was really surprised by how much it is actually leaning!

At the Eagles Nest – Kehlsteinhaus

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Roast Vegetable Quinoa Salad

I’d had a naughty few days and needed a healthy pick me up. I saw a similar version of this salad online somewhere and just adapted the recipe to use up what I had in the fridge. I had some sweet potato, heaps of fresh coriander and some ricotta. The only thing I bought was the punnet of cherry tomatoes because the idea of using roast cherry tomatoes was too appealing to pass up. It was a very filling salad, but you never feel heavy after eating something like this. Oh and I LOVE olives. I usually buy them in jars, and this week at ALDI I found they had jars of olives for about half the price of the local supermarket! YAY! So I bought a few jars and have been enjoying my little snack for a few days now.

So as far as the roast vegetables go, all I roasted was tomatoes and sweet potato. Some other options could be parsnip, beetroot, brussel sprouts, pumpkin, artichoke or capsicum. Its totally up to you and your fridge! I also saw a recipe during the week that had roast parsnip, artichoke and beetroot, and they sautéed tofu in soy sauce and added it to the salad. That sounded delicious!

Roast Vegetable Quinoa Salad

(Serves 4, Prep time 10mins, Cooking time 25mins)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups of uncooked Quinoa

1 punnet of cherry tomatoes

1/2 a large sweet potato cubed

1/2 cup of pitted olives (any kind)

1/4 of chopped chopped coriander/cilantro

1/2 cup of light ricotta cheese

Fresh squeezed lime juice and salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Spray a little olive oil cooking spray onto a baking trap and add the cubed sweet potato and cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top and bake for about 20minutes qt 200C. The tomatoes are ready when the skins start to break.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the quinoa in a rice cooker with three cups of water.
  3. When the quinoa and vegetables are done, combine in a large bowl with half the coriander, half the ricotta, the olives, lime juice and salt and pepper.
  4. place the rest of the coriander and ricotta on top for serving. You could also fancy it up with a couple of wedges of lime!

 

 

 

Beef and Veggie Pasties

I make pasties about once a month or so usually when I have run out of fresh vegetables but still have some frozen. I always have some beef mince and puff pastry in the freezer so its an easy option that’s pretty fast to make, very delicious, and very popular!

Beef and Veggie Pasties

Prep time 15mins, cooking time 25mins

Serves 6

Ingredients:

3 sheets of frozen puff pastry, thawed

3oog beef mince

1 medium brown onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1/4 cup of chopped fresh parsley

1 cup of frozen peas, corn and carrot

1/2 cup of diced fresh vegetables such as potato or mushroom

1/4 cup barbeque sauce

2 tbs tomato paste

3/4 cup beef stock

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Get two large baking trays/cookie sheets and place a sheet of baking paper on each.

place a little olive oil into a medium saucepan, when hot add the garlic and onion and cook until the onion is soft. Add the beef mince and cook through.

Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl combine the remaining ingredients except the pastry!

When the beef is cooked add the bowl full of saucy vegetables and parsley to the beef, stir to combine and bring to a simmer for 5minutes or until some of the liquid has reduced. Set aside for 10minutes and allow to cool.

Cut each puff pastry sheet in half so you have 6 strips of pastry. Place one strip at a time on a baking tray, and add about half a cup of the cooling beef mixture on one end of the strip. Fold the other end of the strip over the beef mixture so the edges of the pastry touch. fold over the edges, about 1/2 cm in, and then tap down with a fork.

Repeat this process with the other 5 strips of pastry, three pasties to a baking tray. Poke the tops of the pasties with a fork a couple of times. This stops the pasties from puffing up too much while baking.

Place in the oven and bake for 20-25minutes or until golden brown and crispy on top.

Eat your pasties with some tomato sauce and a salad. Or if you really have nothing else in the fridge just eat it by itself and then go shopping the next morning ;).

 

 

 

Red Velvet Cupcakes w Cream Cheese Frosting

I made these cupcakes for a family bbq on the weekend and they were awesome! Not the easiest cupcakes you will ever make, but the little bit of extra effort is well worth it. And the cream cheese frosting is delicious. I now understand all the hype about red velvet cupcakes! I got this recipe from http://www.browneyedbaker.com which has a lot of other awesome recipes! I also made dark chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting (see the photo below) and they were also delicious!! Check them out at http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2010/06/10/dark-chocolate-cupcakes-with-peanut-butter-frosting/

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes 12 cupcakes

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Bake Time: 20 minutes

For the Cupcakes:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons red food coloring
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons distilled white vinegar

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

4 ounces butter, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2½ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard muffin/cupcake pan with liners.

2. On medium-high speed, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to high and add the egg. Scrape down the bowl and beat until well incorporated.

3. In a separate small bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, vanilla extract and red food coloring to make a thick paste. Add to the batter and mix on medium speed until completely combined. You may need to stop the mixer to scrape the bottom of the bowl, making sure that all the batter gets color.

4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add half of the buttermilk. Add half of the flour and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining milk and flour. Beat on high until smooth.

5. Again, reduce the mixer speed to low and add the salt, baking soda and vinegar. Turn to high and beat for another couple of minutes until completely combined and smooth.

6. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a thin knife or skewer inserted into the center of the largest cupcake comes out clean.

7. Cool for 10 minutes and then remove cupcakes from the pan and place them on a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

8. To make the frosting: Using the whisk attachment, whip the butter and cream cheese on high speed for about 5 minutes, scraping the bowl down as necessary. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar until all is incorporated. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Increase the speed to medium high and whip for a few minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy, scraping the bowl as necessary.

Try the dark chocolate with peanut butter frosting! http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2010/06/10/dark-chocolate-cupcakes-with-peanut-butter-frosting/

 

 

 

Thai Fish Curry with Sticky Rice

Thai Fish Curry with Sticky Rice

I haven’t posted anything for ages! We have had a few good meals but the camera hasn’t been around, or I’ve been lacking in time due to study/work/sleep etc. Craig has been asking for fish curry for a while and tonight turned out to be the night. I lost one of my cookbooks in a move recently (if anyone has my Modern Asian book let me know!) and so tonight’s curry resulted in an amalgamation of several recipes found via google. We really loved the curry, it had a nice kick too it, but wasn’t too hot, was really tasty, fresh, very fast and worked perfectly with our favourite sticky rice.

It only takes about half an hour to cook, so its a great option for a midweek dinner. Let me know what you think!

Thai Fish Curry

(Prep time 10mins, cooking time 20mins, serves 6)

Ingredients:

Curry Sauce

1/2 cup fresh coriander stems and leaves, chopped

1 can good-quality coconut milk

4 green onions, sliced (including green stem)

1 thumb-size piece galangal or ginger, grated

4 cloves garlic

2 tbsp fish sauce

2 tsp chilli powder (plus or minus depending on how hot you like your curry)

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp brown sugar (or more to taste)

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp shrimp paste (from an Asian grocer, if you don’t have any you can replace it with an extra tbs of fish sauce)

1 fresh red chilli or1  tsp of dried chilli flakes

Curry

1 large fillet of firm white fish ( I used Ling because it was on special at the supermarket!) – see note.

2 cups of fresh vegetables. I use sweet potato, red capsicum and green beans.

A handful of fresh coriander and lemon wedges for serving .

Sticky Rice

3 cups of glutinous/sushi rice and lots of water – see note

Method

  1. Put your three cups of rice into a mixing bowl and cover with water, stir until the water becomes cloudy and drain. Repeat this process and the third time keep the rice in the water and allow it to soak for 20 or so minutes. As long as you can. If you don’t have time that’s okay, your rice just wont be as sticky.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C
  3. Put all the ingredients required in the curry sauce into a food processor and pulse until it forms a smooth sauce.
  4. Place the fish fillet in some aluminium foil and cook in the oven for 8-10minutes.
  5. While the fish is cooking, put the sauce into a large pot or wok and bring to the boil. At this stage, drain the rice and add it to the rice cooker with three cups of water. Start cooking the rice!
  6. Reduce to a simmer and add the fresh vegetables.
  7. Remove the fish from the oven transfer to a bowl and break the the fish into small pieces.
  8. Add the fish to the curry sauce and vegetables keep on very low heat until you are ready to serve it/until the rice is ready.
  9. Serve with the fresh coriander and a lemon wedge.

Note: You can find glutinous rice, or sushi rice at Asian grocers for about the same price at regular medium or long grain rice. If you don’t have any you can pretty much you any kind of rice, it just wont be as sticky.

You can easily swap the fish for chicken, prawns or keep it as a vegetarian curry. If you want your fish in larger pieces cube it pre cooked and add it to the sauce about five minutes after adding the vegetables. Cook for a further five minutes and the fish should be ready.

Carrot and Walnut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

My Mum, Kim and sisters Camilla, Kimberley and Shanna came over for dinner on Tuesday night and we made this carrot and walnut cake. Craig is not a big desert eater and earlier that night as I was thinking about what to make for desert I had asked him if he wanted me to make carrot cake. He said only if it had walnuts in it. So, we made a carrot and walnut cake, and Craig pretty much ate all that was left for dinner the night after!

I had heaps of carrots and luckily Shan was able to stop by Aldi and pick up some cream cheese (which I pretty much never have) which turns out to be quite a bit cheaper than the other supermarkets (along with icing sugar, eggs, and brown sugar which I had run out of, hahaha)!

This is a good recipe I think. Its nice and soft, moist and the prefect sweetness with the cream cheese frosting. Also I think you feel a little better eating it because it has carrot in it……

Carrot and Walnut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

(Prep and cooking time 60mins, serves 8)

Ingredients

2 cups self-raising flour

1 teaspoon mixed spice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 cups grated carrot (approx two large carrots)

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs, lightly beaten

Cream Cheese Frosting

125g cream cheese, softened

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind

1 1/2 cups icing sugar

Walnuts to decorate

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Grease a 6cm-deep, 21cm round cake pan. Line base and sides with baking paper.

Sift flour, spice and cinnamon into a bowl. Add sugar, carrot, chopped walnuts, oil and eggs. Stir to combine. Spread into prepared pan.

Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into centre comes out clean (cover loosely with foil if over-browning). Stand in pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and lemon rind until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar until smooth.

Spread frosting over cake. Decorate with walnuts. Serve.

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

For my birthday I received the Jamie Oliver 30 minute meals book. It is unlikely that I will ever actually do one of the complete meals, but there are plenty of great recipes to try. One of the first ones that stood out to me was the Cauliflower macaroni. It looked tasty and had very cheap ingredients. Considering it was part of a 30minute meal I’d say it takes about 25minutes to prepare and cook, with plenty of time for some chatting (or desert making) in the process. It tasted great, and I’d say its  good way to hide vegetables. Who doesn’t love Mac and Cheese!? The crunchy was my favourite and you could do it with or without the bacon. The original recipe had pancetta instead of the bacon, I didn’t have any and I have a freezer full of bacon which worked great instead. Also, I swapped creme fraiche for sour cream, which is pretty similar. It is so easy to buy sour cream here, and not so easy or cheap to buy creme fraiche.

I hope you try this one. Its super easy, delicious, and cheap. Oh and it makes enough to feed about 5,000 people (…8)

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

(time: 25mins, feeds: 8)

Ingredients

6 rashers of bacon

1 large head of cauliflower

500g dried macaroni

250g cheddar cheese grated

4 thick slices of old bread

a few sprigs of fresh rosemary

2 cloves of garlic crushed

250g sour cream

Salt and Pepper and olive oil

Method

Preheat oven to 220c

Place a large pot of salted water onto the stove and bring to the boil.

Place the rashers of bacon in a large baking dish (big enough for the finished mac and cheese) and place in the hot oven. Allow to crisp up.

While the bacon is cooking, trim the cauliflower of the leaves and stalk and roughly chop into medium sized florets. Add the pasta and cauliflower to the pot of boiling water. Return to the boil and cook until the pasta is cooked but  still a  little on the firm side. Drain the pasta and cauliflower and keep a few cups of the pasta water for later.

By this stage the bacon should be done. Remove the bacon from the oven and then the baking dish and set aside. Keep the oven on. Put the cauliflower and macaroni into the baking dish.

In a food processor combine the bread, rosemary, garlic, cooked bacon and a little olive oil. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.

Add the cheese and the sour cream to the pasta with about a cup of the pasta water and mix through with some salt and pepper to taste. Add a little more pasta water if you think you need to cook your pasta a little more, or add less water if you pasta is fully cooked. Once combined, pour the breadcrumbs over the top and spread evenly.

Put the cauliflower mac and cheese in the oven and bake for 8-10minutes or until the breadcrumbs on top are nicley browned and crispy and the macaroni and cheese is bubbling.

Serve while still hot!

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

 

I got the idea for this from Kat Brown on Pinterest of course! There is something about being exhausted during a week of night shifts that makes me want to bake. Probably because i’m always baking comfort food. I went to the IGA down the street today and got some old bananas from the boys to make some banana bread. It was DIVINE. The cinnamon makes a beautiful difference to the original.

I did alter the original recipe slightly to suit my pan and my tastes. I prefer my banana bread not too sweet.

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

(Prep time 10mins, cooking time 40mins)

 

Ingredients:

 

For the bread

3 over-ripe bananas, smashed up

1/3 cup melted butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

dash of salt

1 1/2 cups flour

 

For the swirl

1/4 cup sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 180. Butter a loaf pan. Mine was 12 x 22cm, but you could use any sort. Just keep a close eye on it in the oven, and adjust the time as needed
  2. Mix bananas, butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla together. sprinkle baking soda and salt around on top of the banana mixture. Then gently stir in flour. Be careful not to over-mix!
  3. In a small dish, mix together the sugar and cinnamon.
  4. Add half of the batter to the loaf pan and then sprinkle half, or a little more than half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture all over the batter in the pan. Add the rest of the batter, and then sprinkle the leftover cinnamon-sugar on top.
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. Remember, if you’re using a different-sized loaf pan, be careful and keep a close eye on it.
I ate mine still warm, and walked down the street to share it with the boys from the IGA. According to them I’m an ‘absolute legend’!
Notice the steam coming off the bread in the photo!
 
However, I think It will still be delicious cold!

Leek and Zucchini Slice

Sometimes you just feel like something simple and healthy and thats how I was feeling today. I wanted lots of flavour without all the carbs, and I wanted some vegetables.

This recipe has been altered to fit leek into it and it came from an ancient recipe book I found at my mums house. Both my mum and mother in law make a great Zucchini slice, so hopefully this one is up to their level!

Leek and Zucchini Slice

(Prep time 15mins, cooking time 45mins, serves 6)

Ingredients

2 medium sized zucchinis grated

1 medium leek finely sliced

3 rashers of bacon finely diced

1 large brown onion finely diced

1 lightly packed cup of tasty (cheddar) cheese grated

3/4 cup self raising flour

4 medium eggs, lightly beaten

1/3 cup vegetable oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C

Add the onion leek and bacon to a lightly oiled frying pan on medium heat and cook until the onion and leek are soft but not browned, about 5-7minutes. Once soft, remove from the heat and allow a few minutes for t to cool.

In a bowl combine the grated zucchini (squeeze some of the excess liquid from the zucchini with your hands first), cheese, flour, onion, leek and bacon mixture and salt and pepper. Once combined, add the egg and oil and mix well.

Line a 18x28cm oven proof dish with baking paper and pour the mixture into the dish. Spread evenly and put into the hot oven.

Bake for 45minutes or until nicely browned on top.

Serve hot or cold!