Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Homemade Gnocchi

Recently I had a week off work and figured it would be a good time to make some foodie items that I could freeze - mainly PASTA. I found this great website that provided a gnocchi recipe and amazing photos - check it out here and this is what I based my recipe on below. 

What you will need: 
1kg starchy potatoes (e.g. russet), unpeeled
300g / 1½ Cups Plain Flour
2 Egg Yolks
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive OilSalt
Wash your unpeeled potatoes to get rid of any dirt. 

Boil your potatoes until tender (for small potatoes this will take about 10–15 minutes to boil; medium potatoes about 20–25 minutes; and large potatoes 35–45 minutes). Avoid piercing them to check they are tender as water and gnocchi are not a good match. Boil an 
extra potato that can be your tester. 

Once the potatoes are cooked, let them cool and then peel the skins of gently. 
Boiled & Peeled Potatoes
Mash them into a large bowl with either a potato ricer, or if like me you don't have one of those, a fork. You want the mash to be as lump-free as possible. Allow mash to cool to room temperature.

Mashed potatoes
Mix the flour and salt together in a small bowl. Mix the egg yolks and olive oil into the mash potato. 
Add yolks and salt
Sprinkle the flour over the potatoes and mix gently until the flour is moistened and the dough looks crumbly.  
Add flour
Crumbly texture
On a lightly floured surface, knead the potato dough gently to incorporate the flour. Press on the dough with your hands and then fold it in half, turn it and repeat. Knead for about 1 minute. Your dough should now be soft and smooth. If sticking occurs, sprinkle a little more flour to your work surface. Be careful, you don't want to add too much extra flour as 
it will harden the dough. Place your dough in a bowl and cover with a kitchen towel.   

Potato dough
You will need a clean work surface for the next bit so make sure any excess sticky dough etc has been cleaned away and the bench is completely dry. Sprinkle the surface with a little bit of flour. Tear of a lemon sized piece of dough and roll into a rope. Use a knife to cut out square bites (the size will depend on how big you want your gnocchi to be). To finish off you can either leave the gnocchi pillows as is or indent them with a fork to give them 
Cut Gnocchi
Arrange your gnocchi in a single layer on baking sheets, making sure they don't touch. To freeze place the gnocchi on the baking sheets into the freezer. When hard, transfer to freezer bags or an airtight container. Smart idea is to portion them out into freezer bags so 
you don't defrost too much. 
My  homemade Gnocchi
To cook gnocchi bring a salted pot of water to the boil and place the gnocchi in the water. When they rise to the surface they are cooked, this can take a few minutes. Use a slotted spoon to fish them out of the water and serve with your favourite sauce. Goes well with pesto and burnt butter sauces. 
Do you have a favourite sauce to match your gnocchi? 

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Mastering the Art of Baking Recipe: Jumbo Chocolate Fudge Cookies

After a little bit of a baking hiatus, I pulled out my Mastering the Art of Baking by Anneka Manning, and got stuck into some delicious chocolate cookies.  I'm really into finding the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe (read about it here and here) and this one I tried is still chocolate, but not your traditional chocolate chip cookie. It is a Jumbo Chocolate Fudge Cookie.

What you will need: 
225g / 1½ Cups Plain Flour
80g / ¾ Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
285g / 1½ Cups Light Brown Sugar, lightly packed
180g Unsalted Butter, chopped
300g Dark Chocolate, chopped
3 eggs, lightly whisked
75g White Chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line 2 baking trays with baking paper (if you have a hot oven like me you may want to lower the temperature. I baked my cookies on about 120°C and it worked fine). Depending on the size of your trays, you may need more. Sift the flour and cocoa together into a large mixing bowl (or use a whisk to sift like I do). 
Flour and Cocoa
 Stir in the brown sugar and make a well in the centre. Set aside. 
Flour, Cocoa, Sugar, well in centre
Bring a small saucepan of water to a gentle simmer and melt the butter and half the dark chocolate in a small heatproof dish on the saucepan. Set aside for about 10 minutes or until it is lukewarm. 
Melted chocolate & butter
Add the chocolate mixture and eggs to the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Mix in the white chocolate. The cookie dough is a wet mixture so don't be too alarmed if you think it's too wet. Stir in the remaining chocolate. 
Cookie dough
Using your hands, roll out about 2 tablespoons worth of dough and place on the trays about 7cm apart (cookies will spread). Using your fingertips, gently push down on the cookies to spread them slightly. 
Cookies ready for the oven
Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes or until firm but still soft in the centre. 
Cookies fresh out of the oven
Leave the cookies on the trays to cool for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 
Jumbo Chocolate Fudge Cookies
If you want smaller cookies, use about 1 tablespoons worth of dough. Keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week. 

I loved these cookies more than my chic chip ones here. They were also a hit my niece and FIL. They are the perfect combination of sweet and chewy. I can guarantee that kids and adults will love these. The great thing was there was minimal cleaning up as well! Give them a go and tell me what you think. 

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Foodie Friends Friday

This week's Foodie Friends Friday is all about Don Thomas Coffee. Be sure to visit all the hosts this week because not only are they reviewing Don Thomas Coffee, some are also providing coffee related recipes think Tiramisu and even a coffee body scrub. Personally I don't drink coffee but the husband is a massive coffee drinker and lover of Tiramisu. The only thing I ever use coffee for is my chocolate mud cakes. What about you? Do you like coffee or mainly use it in cooking?

For an easy tiramisu recipe check out Taste's recipe here

This week's Hosts are:
Foodie Friends Friday
Busy Vegetarian Mom
Robyn's View 
This and That 
Walking on Sunshine
Family Food Finds
Cindys Recipes and Writings
From Calculus to Cupcakes
Feeding Big
Binomial Baker 
Spatulas on Parade
A lil Country Sugar
Chef PickyKid and Me
A Virtual Essence

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

30 minute meal: Speedy Chicken & Mushroom Casserole

There are some nights when I just need something quick and easy to cook and some nights when I want to try a recipe I’ve been dying to try (but the husband won’t want). I love those nights when I get to combine both of these wants. A recipe I had my eye on for some weeks I found on the taste website – Speedy Chicken and Mushroom Casserole. With just a few ingredients and 30 minutes you can have a delicious dinner that all the family will love.

What you will need: 

2 teaspoons Rice Bran Oil (or the oil you prefer to cook with)  
400g Chicken Breast, diced
1 Medium Brown Onion, chopped
2 Rashers Middle Bacon, trimmed and chopped
250g Button Mushrooms, quartered
¼ Cup Plain Flour
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 Cup Chicken Stock
½ Cup Thickened Cream
2 Tablespoons Parsley, chopped
Heat your chosen oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until golden. 
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked chicken to a plate. Add the onion and the bacon to the frying pan and cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes or until onion has softened. 

Bacon and Onion
Add the mushroom. Cook, stirring for 2 minutes or until the mushrooms have started to soften. 
Add Mushroom
Stir in the flour and Dijon mustard. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Gradually stir in the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Return the chicken to frying pan and cook, covered, on low heat for about 15 minutes. 
Simmer casserole
Add the cream and season with salt and pepper.  
Add cream 
 Cook, without boiling, for 3 minutes or until heated through.
Cook for 3 minutes 
  Stir in parsley. Serve with rice.

Chicken and Mushroom Casserole
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Friday, November 2, 2012

Foodie Friends Friday & Giveaway

It's been awhile since I've participated in Foodie Friends Friday but now that I can stand the sight of food again I'm back in the game.It's always fun to be part of a group that loves food as much as I do. This week I'm sharing my homemade croissants. The first batch took awhile to make but buy, they were worth it. Reheated in the oven to make them crispy and slathered with butter or jam, they were enjoyed by everyone at a recent birthday brunch. The great thing about these is you can make them ahead and freeze them for when you want them.

Check out all the croissant action here

Homemade Croissants

Homemade Croissants

Now on to this week's giveaway and sponsors: This week Home Matters 1st is giving away a beautiful handmade towel and Adorned Well is giving away a beautiful handmade  scarf. To enter the giveaway click a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to link up one of your recipes in the linky party below (check out the rules and disclaimer at the bottom of the page).

This week's Hosts are:
Foodie Friends Friday
Busy Vegetarian Mom
Robyn's View 
This and That 
Walking on Sunshine
Family Food Finds
Cindys Recipes and Writings
From Calculus to Cupcakes
Feeding Big
Binomial Baker 
Spatulas on Parade
A lil Country Sugar
Chef PickyKid and Me
A Virtual Essence 

get the InLinkz code