Archive | May, 2012

Lemon French Toast with Cherry Sauce

27 May

I’m sure by now you’ve realised just how much I adore brunch.  Putting a proper cooked breakfast on the table shouts weekend, but I suppose because Monday to Friday it’s muesli, I like to show off experiment a lot more at the weekend.   Unfortunately, I had to dash out the door early on Sunday morning, so there wasn’t much too much time to muck about in the kitchen, so it had to something quick and easy, but something that still yelled weekend.   Weighing those up, it had to be French Toast. 

I had also been to a farmer’s market on the Saturday where I had foolishly bought my body weight in cherries.  Now I LOVE cherries and when I have them in the house I find excuses reasons to put them in EVERYTHING.  Now I suppose I could just have served them with the French toast, but that would hardly be blogworthy now would it?

For the sauce take:

  • 250gms of  fresh cherries
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2tsp corn flour
  • 4 Tbs granulated sugar
  • 300 mls of water

For the toast take

  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 a slightly stale loaf of your favourite bread
  • 100 ml of milk
  • 1 tsp lemon essence
  • the zest of one lemon

Pit and halve the cherries and add to a small sauce pan with the sugar and cinnamon.  Add the corn flour to the water and mix thoroughly then add to the saucepan.  Place on a medium heat and bring to the boil.  Allow the sauce to reduce until thick and gorgeously syrupy.

Slice the bread  and then beat the eggs, milk, lemon essence and zest together in a large flat bottomed bowl.  Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan and then dip the bread into the egg mixture allowing it to soak up some of the egg mix.

Fry the egg dipped bread  in the oil until golden brown and delicious on both sides and then serve with the cherry sauce.

For added awesomeness, serve with some greek yoghurt or creme fraiche. My idea of heaven is to use this.


Pork, Apple and Ginger Dumplings

19 May

The BH and I were recently in London for a few nights and while we were there we couldn’t resist the lure of Chinatown. One of the  restaurants we ate in while there, yes we ate in more than one,  was a Taiwanese restaurant called Leong’s Legend, where the Three Cup Chicken and Scallion Pancakes literally had me in tears.  They weren’t particularly great and the portions were tiny, but the food tasted of a place I had called home for eight years.  They say smell is powerfully emotive, I think taste is even more so.

Rather than satiating my need for Chinese food however,  all my trip did was remind me how much I love cooking with Chinese ingredients.   My Taiwanese friends should stop reading now.  My friends who fancy themselves experts ON Chinese food should probably look away.  What I’m about to make isn’t “traditional” nor is it “correct,” but it is Fudgin’ Good.

To start take;

  • 1 pkt of Dumpling skins
  • 1 onion (finely diced)
  • about 4 scallions (sliced)
  • a piece of ginger about the size of your thumb (finely grated)
  • 1 apple (coarsely grated)
  • 500 gm minced pork
  • 2 tsps corn flour
  • 60 mls (4Tbs) of soy sauce
  • vegetable oil
  • water

I’m going to mention hardware here too because you’re going to need a large frying pan/wok that has a lid to cook these babies.

Splash a generous glug of oil into the pan and bring to a medium heat.  fry the onions and scallions for a few minutes and then add the ginger and apple.   Continue to cook for a further three to four minutes and then add the pork and cook until completely done.  This is where I have deviated from traditional methods which add the pork to the skins raw, but I’m a little squeamish about raw pork, so I hope you’ll forgive me.

Add the corn flower to the cold soy sauce and stir well, then add this to the cooking mince.   This will thicken up the mixture and make it easier to stuff the pastry skins.  Allow the mix to cool and then pop on a good DVD that won’t require too much cerebral action, cause you’re going to be stuffing for a while.

Brush the edges of the skin with water and then make at least three pleats on one side of the circle.  Then take a teaspoon of the filling and place in the middle of the dumpling skin. Then press the un-pleated side to the pleated side and seal.  Repeat.  Thirty times.  *sigh*  It is worth it though.  Trust me. Look below.  See how pretty.

Clean out the frying pan/wok and heat another splash of vegetable oil in the pan and bring to a medium heat.  Once the oil is hot, place as many dumplings as you can in the pan without crowding them.  Cook until the bottoms are crispy and brown, about 3-5 minutes.  Now comes the fun part.  the thing your mother told you never to do.  Ever!  We’re going to add water to a pan of hot oil.  Get the water and the lid ready.  Splash about 100mls of water into the bottom of the pan and immediately cover with the lid.  Leave the dumplings to steam for about five minutes until the skins begin to look translucent and then serve with a dipping sauce of your choice.  Enjoy!

PS  You are you going to probably have a lot of filling left over.  It’s great on toast, or noodles or even just on it’s own.

Bacon, Asparagus and Cheddar Quiche

13 May

I adore quiches.  I really do!  I know that makes me sound like a 1970s housewife, but I don’t really care.  They’re tasty, they’re versatile, they look good on the table and compared to other mains, they’re surprisingly good value for money.  They’re also the perfect way to showcase spring’s asparagus!

Many moons back, when I was a veggie, quiches were my “go to meal” when entertaining,  as veggies and carnivores alike enjoyed them.  That said it’s been many moons since I last made one. While they’re super easy and economical, they are fiddly and demand quite a bit of kitchen time and a lot of waiting time.  It’s one of those dishes that demand a good book.   It’s not something you’ll whip up when unexpected guests pop over.  Does that still happen by the way?  I can’t remember when I last had unexpected guests.  We’ve become far to polite as a society to dare drop by without phoning ahead.  I think we should campaign to bring back the unannounced visit.   BUT I digress.

For the crust take:

  • 170 gms of plain flour (AP flour)
  • 1 egg yolk (Beaten)
  • 100gm of butter
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • cold water to mix (about 2 Tbls)

For the filling take:

  • 3 eggs
  • 150 ml of cream
  • 1 pkt bacon (grilled and chopped)
  • 1 bunch of fine asparagus (lightly steamed)
  • 2 onions (Finely sliced)
  • 60 gms of butter
  • 100 gms of cheddar cheese

To start, sift the flour with the paprika and and then mix in the butter.  You could use a pastry blender, your hands or a food processor.  I prefer to use a processor as it’s quick and you don’t have to worry about the heat from your hands melting the butter.

Mix them until just starting to resemble crumbs and then add the yolk and as much water as you dare.  The mixture should resemble the mix below.   The less water you use the harder the dough will be to work with, but it will have a much shorter texture.

Wrap the dough in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for half an hour.   This allows the gluten to relax, which stops the crust from shrinking as much when it is baked.   After half an hour preheat the oven to 180 °C and remove the dough from the fridge and place on a lightly floured surface.  Kneed the dough for a minute or two and then roll it into a rough circle.   Then place the dough into a greased and floured quiche tin.  Press it firmly into the tin and then let it rest for another half hour.

Once the dough has rested, line the tine with parchment paper and baking beans and bake it for 20 mins.   Remove the beans and then continue to bake for another 10mins to crisp. Remove from the oven and let it cool.  This, while the crust is baking, it the perfect time to prepare the filling.

Lightly steam the asparagus for about 10 minutes and grill or fry the bacon.  Over a very low heat, melt the butter in a pan that has a lid and once melted add the sliced onions and the thyme.  Cover them and allow them to cook slowly for about 20 mins until just starting to caramelise.  Stir occasionally to prevent them from catching.   Once they are just starting to brown, remove them from the heat and add the bacon and the cheese.

Once the pasty has cooled place the onion mix in in and arrange the asparagus on top.  Then beat two eggs with one egg yolk and the cream and pour over the top.

Then pop the quiche into the oven, still set at 180°C and bake for about 30-40 mins.  The middle should have the slightest of wobbles and the top should be brown and poofy.   Enjoy!

the port elizabeth blogger

The Banting Cook

Banting recipes – low carb, sugar free and gluten free. Banting recipes I have tried - those that have failed and those that have been a success! I am not a dietician, I'm just a gal who loves to cook banting food, and keep it as good as possible! Obviously all recommendations throughout this and other posts are not intended as an alternative, treatment, or prevention of diseases, medical treatments or advice. The reader takes full responsibility for counting nutritional information such as carbs, while trying any and all recipes :-)

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