Saturday, 29 June 2013

Anzac Biscuits

Anzac Biscuits

Back to baking on a rainy Saturday afternoon. In order to give a friend her last taste of Australia before she leaves (back to Germany!) we are making Anzac biscuits.
Now such a traditional recipe can only be taken from the Australian Women's Weekly cookbook of course- naturally with a few small variations. A little less sugar and a little bit of nutmeg to spice it up. This also qualifies as an incredibly simple recipe (even my brother could follow it!).
Start with a few basic ingredients. Plain flour, oats, butter, bi-carb soda, desiccated coconut, golden syrup and brown sugar.
In a large mixing bowl, add 1 cup of rolled oats. 
Add 1 cup of plain flour too. 
Along with half a cup of brown sugar. The original recipe calls for 1 cup, but as I'm trying to save your teeth, you are only allowed half a cup. (It still tasted good, fear not!)
 Then add half a cup of desiccated coconut, and that's all the dry ingredients needed for now.
 Stir to combine, and break loose any balls of sugar or flour.
Now for the secret ingredient. Add 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg. Only if it's raining outside as this will make it taste even more homely.
Now onto the wet ingredients. Melt 125g of butter in a saucepan. 
While it's still melting, add 2 tablespoons of golden syrup
1 tablespoon of water and half a teaspoon of baking powder.
 Stir away! It looks pretty cool when it foams up with the baking powder.
 Now time to combine the 2. Pour the wet mixture into the dry.
 Fold it in.
 Until you have a sticky mess. (and all the flour is combined).
Now would be a good time to find 2 baking trays and line with baking paper. I have also sprayed mine with a bit of cooking oil, but this isn't necessary. Take a tablespoon measure, squish as much mixture in as fits, and place these little balls onto your baking paper, about 5cm apart so they have room to grow.
You might need to round them out and flatten them slightly with your hand. 
 When you've used up all your cookie dough, place the trays in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes. The bottom shelf will usually need an extra minute or 2 once you take the top shelf out if your oven is anything like mine.
Make sure you have a timer on, because even 2 minutes longer can make them too hard. Unless you like them that way.
 Slide them immediately off the baking tray and onto a cooling rack.
 They taste about 10 times better when they're warm, so eat!

Anzac Biscuits


1 cup plain flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
125g butter
1/2 teaspoon bi-carb soda
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 tablespoon water


1. Mix dry ingredients (excluding bi-carb soda!) together in a bowl - that is flour, oats, coconut, sugar and nutmeg.
2. In a saucepan over low heat, add butter, golden syrup and water until the butter is melted and mixture combined. Stir while you add the bi-carb soda to the mix. It will froth up slightly.
3. Pour the butter mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir to combine.
4. Take 1 tablespoon of mixture, arrange in a round ball on baking paper-lined baking trays.
5. Bake for 15 minutes at 150 degrees.
Guten Appetit! This makes about 24 tasty chewy small cookies. 

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Moroccan Spice drumsticks with roast eggplant

Moroccan Spice drumsticks with roast eggplant

I must admit that I don't eat that much turkey outside of Christmas day- I probably should given it's low-fat, healthy, super juicy and tasty all at the same time! So when I found a pair of turkey legs on special at the local supermarket, I thought it would be a great time to get back into it.

I am also on a bit of a middle eastern spice kick at the moment, having been lent a few Ottolenghi books, and have discovered a great tv series on spices on SBS. All of these influences (along with having a great jar of preserved lemons to use up from my mum) contributed to this recipe.

Just a note: if you don't have turkey- try this with chicken legs- the spices will work just as well, and chicken is just a little bit juicer.

Before we get started on the turkey, start preparing the eggplant for baking. I have 3 small eggplant (aubergine) which I sliced down the middle. Sprinkle a little salt over these and leave them to sit for at least 20 minutes. While this doesn't seem like a necessary step- salting and drawing water out of the eggplant makes them roast so much better.

Onto the turkey marinade- start by making a little moroccan spice mixture called Ras el hanout. For the 2 Turkey drumsticks make up a mixture of 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, and black pepper.
Plus 1/4 teaspoon of salt, cayenne pepper, cloves and ground fennel seeds. 
As you can see, my fennel seeds are not ground up. Either way- mix it all in together.
Now to add some preserved lemon to the mix. I suppose if you really don't have any preserved lemon, you could just grate some lemon zest... but the flavour will be very different, and well preserved lemon zest is rather amazing. Sweet, salty, spicy and smooth all at the same time.
Take one lemon chunk out, throw away the pulp (it comes off really easily) and keep the skin. This is what we'll be dicing up. 
Once chopped up, add it to the spice mix. 
Add a little olive oil (1.5 tablespoons or so) to turn your spice mix into a marinade. 
Mix it all around to make a paste
Take your turkey drumsticks - or your chicken ones
Smear the marinade all over the turkey. Try to pull back the skin and slide some marinade next to the meat, before covering back up again. Place it in a baking dish with a little extra olive oil.
 By now some water will have risen out of the eggplant. Mop it up with some paper towel.
And place in a baking dish with your turkey .
I threw a few halved tomatoes into the pan too, for some added colour and health to dinner. Feel free to roast up as many other veges that will fit in the dish. 
Bake at 180 degrees c for 1 hour 20- 1 hour 30. I wasn't quite sure I believed that these would take such a long time, however sure enough (as the internet told me) I stuck a knife into them after an hour and there was still a lot of pink juice. So back in the oven for 20 minutes it went.
Chicken drumsticks should only take 45-50 minutes.
....
sweet baking spice and preserved lemon aromas filling the house
....
Here is the finished product - the spices have infiltrated the turkey meat, the cinnamon and preserved lemon keeps just a hint of sweetness. And the eggplant is beautiful and soft inside after such a slow cooking time.
 
 You could mix a little natural yoghurt with lemon juice if you would like a sauce to go with it! We ate it with some chutney.

Moroccan Spice Turkey with roast eggplant

2 Turkey drumsticks, or 6-8 chicken drumsticks
3 small eggplants
3 tomatoes (or other veges to roast)
extra olive oil for baking

Ras el hanout marinade:
1/2 teaspoon each of: ground cumin, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, and black pepper.
1/4 teaspoon each of: salt, cayenne pepper, gound cloves and ground fennel seeds.
1 preserved lemon rind- diced
1.5 tablespoons olive oil

1. Slice eggplants in half longways. Sprinkle salt on top and leave for at least 20 minutes for the water to come out of the eggplant. 
2. Make marinade by mixing all ingredients together.
3. Smear marinade all over Turkey drumsticks, including under the skin where possible. Leave to marinate if you have time. 
4. When ready to bake, splash a little olive oil in a large baking dish, arrange turkey legs in centre of dish.
5. Wipe the water off the eggplants with a paper towel, and place around the turkey. Chop tomatoes in half and place in dish.
6. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes at 180 degrees c, or until no pink juices run from the legs when pierced.
7. Let the turkey sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 3.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Hommus

Hommus / Hummus

Home made hommus- this was inspired by a trip to a great Turkish restaurant last night with a group of my old flatmates. Their hommus was super creamy, but I wished it had just a little more zing to it. So for Saturday afternoon snack, I made some up with a few little tricks to give this one an extra kick! Namely garlic and lemon rind. I promise you'll get comments at your next dinner party if you make your own dips for pre-dinner snacks!

Start with one tin of chickpeas. Open it up and drain all the liquid out.
 Put the chickpeas in a microwave safe bowl and cover (a piece of paper towel will do). Then place it in the microwave on high for 40 seconds. 
 This will be just enough time to let some the chickpeas split open. Warming it up makes the chickpeas release a little more flavour, and will also make it creamier when blending up.
Leave the chickpeas to the side for a minute. Peel a clove of garlic, crush it with the side of a knife and roughly chop it up.
Place the garlic into the blender or food processor, with the juice of a whole lemon.
 Throw a little strip of lemon rind in here too! You might want to chop this up a little, as my piece of rind didn't 'process' too well in my food processor, and I had to chop it up smaller afterwards.
Add one tablespoon of sesame seeds. Hommus usually calls for Tahini, which is sesame paste, but I quite like having the seeds through the dip.
Place your chickpeas in the food processor. (If it's small like mine, you might need to do this in 2 batches and combine at the end). Before you blend, add in 3 tablespoons of olive oil. 
Halfway through blending... looking super creamy. If it's too dry, you can always add a little more olive oil or lemon juice. And if you still have some chunks of chickpeas left in it at the end, it's not the end of the world- I think it gives it some homemade charm!
There we have it, all finished. Serve in a little pot for dipping. 
Drizzle a little olive oil on top 
Sprinkle some sesame seeds on 
And serve with some tasty sourdough crusty bread! 

Hommus

1 400g tin chickpeas, drained
1 clove garlic, crushed and chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
small piece of lemon peel
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (plus more for serving)
3 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for serving)

1. Heat chickpeas up for 40 seconds in microwave.
2. Add all ingredients in a blender or food processer and blend until creamy and combined. (Add some more olive oil or lemon juice if too dry).
3. Serve to friends with some fresh bread.