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Coconut and Ginger Ice Cream

17 May

The countdown to my around-the-world adventure continues and departure is only 18 days away! As a follow-up to my clean out the pantry challenge, coconut cream was another ingredient on my hit list. For some strange reason, coconut cream and canned tomatoes always seem to make it into my bag, even when not on the shopping list.

Thai curries sprung to mind when I first thought about using coconut cream. However, I was out of homemade curry pastes and quite frankly, I’m not keen on the store-bought varieties. I needed another idea. In Brisbane we are in the midst Autumn but the weather has been balmy with temperatures reaching 24 to 26C on some days. For me, that’s still ice cream eating weather. Anything below 20C and it’s off the menu. With curry idea out of the way, ice cream became the choice of the day. Besides I had few sweet toothed friends coming over for dinner who were keen to try this flavor, along with a sample of the beetroot and chocolate ice cream.

Have you tried making ice cream without a churner? When I lived in Brazil, I made Indian ice cream (Kulfi) several times and would serve it as a dessert to help my diners put out the post-curry flames (strangely, Brazilians generally don’t eat spicy food). One thing I detested though was having to beat the ice cream every hour to avoid those dreaded crunchy ice crystals. That’s why I recommend: if you love ice cream, by an ice cream churner. I was lucky enough to get mine on special for $20 at the local supermarket. It really opens up new doors to the world of homemade ice cream.

Whilst I am not a Vegan nor mock meat and ultra-processed soy cheeses lover, I do appreciate the simplicity and creativity of some vegan dishes. This is one of them. The natural fats in the coconut gave it a lot of creamy goodness, no need for eggs or cream. I added young ginger because I love the contrast between sweet and pungent. I also infused the coconut cream with lemongrass just to add another flavor and clear my freezer of one less ingredient.

So here it is. Adjust the proportions to suit your tastes. Experiment with kaffir lime leaves instead of lemongrass, it’s up to you. Enjoy and let me know what you think. 🙂

Ingredients

  • 500ml Coconut Cream (you can use coconut milk for a lighter version)
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 lemongrass stick
  • 10 cm (4 inch) piece of young ginger (grate half and slice half)
  • 1 cup of water

Directions

In a heavy based pot, add water and grated ginger. Simmer uncovered on low heat until all the water has evaporated.

shredded young gingercooking ginger

Then add the brown sugar and an equal amount of water. Stir and simmer until the sugar has dissolved and begins to darken. Set aside to cool.

cooking gingercandied ginger

In a second heavy based pot, add coconut cream, lemon grass stalk and sliced ginger. Simmer uncovered on low heat for about 10 minutes. Strain the coconut cream into a bowl and set aside.

infused coconut creamstraining

Combine the cooled brown sugar syrup, coconut oil and ginger to the coconut cream. Stir to combine then place in the refrigerator for 2 hours minimum (preferably over night). Then pour into your ice cream maker and churn per instructions.

woolworths ice cream maker

Lebanese Feast

6 May

In early April, I blogged about making cheese and the search for my cooking mojo. It was a two-pronged attack: to return to blogging after a long absence and rekindle my love for cooking. I’m glad to say that I feel inspired again to both blog and cook. I’m even getting excited about the opportunity to share my food and travel experience with you in June.

I also promised to post about the Lebanese Feast which I was planning for an overdue dinner with a handful of friends. As with all my dinners, the diners get to choose the cuisine. The other options included Asian, Brazilian, Pizza, Mexican, Vegetarian, Vegan or low-n-slow. But choice is not the only thing. Suffer from a food allergy? Just say so! Don’t like tomatoes? I will prepare a non-tomato based dish. I feel it’s my duty to please everyone, something I’ve inherited from my mother. Thankfully I didn’t have to cater to special dietary requirements this time.

The Lebanese Feast menu included:

Mezzes

mezze

Clockwise from top left: Pistachios, Labneh, Tarator, Olives & Fetta Cheese

Main & Sides

lebanese feast

Clockwise from top left: Baba Ganoush, Tarator, Labneh, Kibbeh, Tabouleh, Fatoush, Homous (I ran out of time otherwise I would have included Falafel too)

Desserts

Baklava and Mafroukeh

I don’t have recipes for each dish because I’ve made them so many times it’s almost instinctive. However, the recipes for the desserts were sourced from other blogs (links provided below). The Lebanese don’t usually make desserts at home but not having the luxury of “sweetery” nearby meant I had to make it myself. I was happy with the result considering it was my first attempt.

I have included a glossary for those who aren’t familiar with Lebanese food at the footer of this page and can provide recipes if interested, just let me know ;).

Step-By-Step Pictorial Guide

Baba Ganoush

smoked eggplantpeeled eggplantpeeled eggplant with garlic

tahinibaba ganoushbaba ganoush 

Fatoush

pomegranate extractfatoush dressingfried lebanese bread

making fatoushfatoush salad

Tabouleh

(For recipe click here)

tabouleh

Kibbeh

making kibbehkibbeh mixture

making bottom kibbeh layerkibbeh layers

filling over bottom layertop layer on

kibbeh ready for baking

Baklava

(For recipe click here)

orange blossom waterlayering baklavarolled and chopped baklava

baklava ready for bakingcrushed raw pistachios

baklavabaklava tray

Mafroukeh

(For recipe click here)

dry roasting semolinaroasted semolina

sugar syrup with orange blossom watermafroukeh topped with ricotta and almonds

 

Glossary:

Baba Ganoush – smoked eggplant dip with tahini, lemon juice, garlic & salt

Baklava – sugar syrup coated puff pastry stuffed with nuts & flavored with orange blossom water or rose water

Fatoush – peasant salad of cos lettuce, radish, fried Lebanese bread, tomato, cucumbers & dressed with a pomegranate extract, lemon, olive oil & salt dressing

Kibbeh – baked layers of ground lamb, wheat, basil, onion, spices and filled with lamb mince, pine nuts, onion & mint

Homous – chick pea dip with tahini, lemon juice, garlic & salt

Labneh – strained yoghurt almost with a consistency like cream cheese

Mafroukeh – roasted semolina mixed with sugar syrup topped with clotted cream & crunchy almonds

Orange Blossom Water – essentially distilled water from orange blossom flowers for scenting syrups

Tahine (Tahini) – sesame seed paste

Tarator – tahini sauce with lemon, garlic, vinegar, water & salt

Tres Leches Cake “Three Milks Cake”

2 Feb

pastel tres leches

I suck when it comes to making desserts. This is not to say that I don’t have a sweet tooth. On the contrary. I would go as far as holding back on ordering a big main to reserve some space for dessert. But when it comes to making desserts, I always seem dissatisfied with the result. Perhaps it’s because I don’t stick to the recipe because I see myself as a non-conformist?

There is one dessert though that I can make which has improved with time. Perhaps the secret lies in not just the taste but in the fact that it allows much room for error. It’s difficult to get this one wrong. One thing I do know is that this cake has turned heads since the first time I made it. And it’s very popular with the girls. It’s got it all: sweetness, creaminess, nuttiness and zestiness. Add cinnamon and can you start to see why it’s a to-die-for dessert?

Now that I’ve convinced you to put on your apron and warm up your oven, you’re probably asking how do I make a Three Milks Cake? Easy. Vanilla cake, milks, cream and pecans, in that order. It can even be a packet cake mix if you wish to cut back on a few steps. Next I infuse the milks (sorry no short cuts here) and poured over the cake. Finally once the cake is completely cool, top with cream and pecans.

The quantities I describe below will produce a cake the size of an A4 sheet (12” x 8”) by about 5 cm (2”) thick. It’s very rich and yield 12 serves. I usually make everything a day ahead and finish it off on the day with whipped cream. This recipe could easily be modified to make it vegan friendly by substituting eggs with flax, dairy with soy or rice or oat milk. Cream can probably be replaced with whipped up silken tofu. I haven’t tried it but am planning too.

Let me know if you try it.

Ingredients

Cake Batter

Dry Mixture

  • 1 1/2 C flour
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder

Wet 1

  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 C vegetable oil
  • 1/2 C cold water
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Wet 2

  • 2/3 C egg whites (from about 5 eggs)
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • pinch of salt
Milk Mixture
  • 1 can evaporated milk (375ml/12.5oz)
  • 1 can of condensed milk (400g/14oz)
  • 300ml heavy whipping cream (10oz)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • one orange peel
  • one lime peel
Whipped Cream Topping
  • 1 C  heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest

In my world, 1 C = 1 cup = 250ml = 8.5oz

Method

Cake

1. Preheat oven to 160C (325F). Sift flour into bowl, stir in sugar and add baking powder (Dry Mixture)

2. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks. Then add oil, water and vanilla extract one at a time as you whisk the mixture. (Wet 1)

3. Fold Wet 1 mixture into Dry Mixture. Then beat for about one minute to aerate slightly.

4. Combine egg whites and salt in a bowl and whisk until you get a soft peak. Then add sugar and keep whisking until it holds a firm peak. Fold Wet 2 mixture into batter.

5. Pour into baking tin and bake for about 30 minutes.

6. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool, then pierce with a skewer all over. These holes are to help the milk mixture get absorbed by the cake. (Tip: if you’re patient enough, allow the cake to go stale)

vanilla cake batterbatter mix

cake batter mixingwhisking egg whites

vanilla cake batter preparing cake

Milk Mixture

1. Pour milks into a heavy based pot, add lime and orange peels, cinnamon sticks and bring to boil. Drop temperature and simmer uncovered for 5-10 minutes on low heat.

2. Allow milk mixture to cool, pass through a sieve then pour mixture over the cake.

3. Place cake in the fridge to chill.

three milksorange peel

three milks cakepoured milk on cake

Whipped Cream Topping

1. Whip cream, sugar and zest.

2. Spread whipped cream across the cake and arrange pecans.

3. Cover with cling film and return to fridge until ready to serve.

heavy creamwhipping cream

spreading creampecans

 

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