Monday, June 30, 2008

Strawberries in July

I find it strange, very peculiar indeed, to find strawberries in July. Beautiful, long-stemmed, crimson red, glossy skinned, plump and most definitely, sweet. You see, I wouldn't have a problem with this phenomenon if I were in any other part of the world. But I am in Australia. IT'S MEANT TO BE WINTER!!!

Well, I guess it was announced that the June just past was the warmest it has been for a long time, averaging 16 degrees celcius. Is that why? It's not a good thing I bet since it's obviously a big smack in the face for us about global warming, or as they like to say it here in Australia... "climate change". Such is a euphemism for something so devastatingly horrid. I promise I will turn off the humidifier when I leave the house next time. =)

But in any case, I did succumb to the $2.50 a punnet strawberries and bought myself 3! And all I wanted was to have them in my big bowl of granola in the morning and of course, a tart. A buttery and sweet tart crust lined with my beautiful strawberries topped with a raspberry jam glaze. No curds, custards or cremes. HAPPYHAPPY!

Seeing that this tart would fit in snugly with Joelen's FRUIT FRENZY theme over at her blog, I will join her in her cooking adventure! Head over to her blog to check out future events and the roundup! =)

Tart Crust adapted from Sharing Sweet Secrets by Pamela Moriarty
8 tbsp white rice flour
2 tbsp almond meal
2 tbsp coconut flour (may replace with rice flour)
1 tbsp tapioca starch
1 tbsp potato starch
1/4 cup cornflour
2 tbsp glutinous rice flour
1 tbsp gf custard powder (optional)
2 tbsp caster sugar
50g coconut oil (it will be hard, straight from the fridge)
30ml grapeseed oil
1 egg

1) Place flours, custard powder and sugar into a food processor and whizz.
2) Add in coconut oil (hardened) and oil and whizz again (10-15 seconds)
3) crack egg into the food processor bowl and pulse until combined. It may look wet but keep whizzing. Add 1 tbsp coconut flour if too wet.
4) Add 1-2 drops of water IF NECESSARY
5) Remove pastry from food processor and press* into prepared tin. (20 or 22 cm tin)
6) Freeze in tin for 10-15 minutes before baking at 190 degrees celcius for 18-22 minutes or until cooked through.
7) Cool before filling with strawberries.
* My pastry was too wet from the oil to be rolled out.

To Assemble:
1-250g punnet of large strawberries
3 tbsp raspberry jam, warmed.

1) Remove stems of berries and halve. Arrange on top of baked tart shell and glaze with raspberry jam. Serve chilled or warm. =)


I'm back! =) I've been missing because my camera's been dead so I haven't been able to take ANY photos. But since my mom so kindly bought me a brand-spankin'-new one, I'm here to celebrate! Yippee!

I had 4 egg whites leftover from a dairy-free vanilla creme anglaise I made for to go with my new-found love, sticky date pudding, and because I NEVER have egg whites lying around, I was desperate to find the RIGHT recipe since such a chance is so rare. I wanted to make this meringue pie crust, or baby meringues to crush with fresh strawberries and the vanilla creme anglaise but I reallllyy wanted to make these cookies I had a few days back. I'll describe them to you... they were flat-ish, and filled with almond silvers and chunks and chocolate bits scattered throughout it's chewy interior, all enrobed with a crunchy exterior. BUT I CAN'T FIND A RECIPE FOR IT.. I don't even know what it's called. Does anyone have any idea for a recipe? I asked the chef what was in it and she said eggwhites, almonds and sugar. Sounds simple but it's hurting my brain trying to figure it out... I settled for this recipe in the end. Both Fanny and Mary have used the recipe, each with their own interpretations... =) I followed Fanny's recipe, with the addition of chocolate slivers and chopped toasted nuts (I used toasted walnuts).

Something funny happened though. The first batch of my cookies I baked in the lowest shelf of my oven had their bottoms perfectly browned while the ones I baked in the middle shelf was still kinda..wet when I tried to peel them off the baking paper. Still yummy no doubt but... do you know why that happened??? Now those from the second shelf look like they have hollow bottoms! Maybe I should just fill the holes with chocolate icecream and be done with that! yum.


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Celebrate with me

Hello everyone!

As I keep repeating to myself that I must be happy, I have something to shareeee! I'm inviting you to my 'END.OF.ESSAYS' party. =) It's pretty lonely to celebrate it alone so I made a cake to celebrate with me. =) It's more fun feeling lonely with cake than sans cake. Besides, it kept me really occupied-so much so that I forgot to each lunch. I KNOW! I NEVER forget to eat. Oh, could also be due to the fact that I ate allllllll the scraps of fluffy cake with the leftover lemoncurd filling, all smooshed in a little ramekin, topped with the leftover icing. I know I know. Could it been any more nutritious?


But then it'll mean what I look forward to the most will be gone: FRED'S EXPRESSION!

must.must.i must...resist. Oh well, there are still blocks of un-iced, un-filled cake. I'll have that while I wait.

Here's what I used:
1.5 x Vegan vanilla sponge from here
1 x lemon curd recipe from here
1 x Sugar Dough recipe (below)
1 x Sugar Icing recipe (below)
1 x Piped Sugar Icing (below)

Sugar Dough (Recipe from Australian Gourmet Traveller August 2006)

3/4 tbsp powdered gelatine
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
250gm icing sugar, extra 15g icing sugar for firming
65 gm cornflour, plus extra for dusting
tiny drop pink food coloring

1) Combine 55ml warm water, gelatine and cream of tartar in a bowl, stand for 5 minutes then stir until it dissolves. (I put mine in the microwave for a minute coz it didn't dissolve)
2) Combine the 250gm icing sugar with the 65gm cornflour with an electric mixer with paddle attachment, add gelatine mixture and 1 drop of food coloring and beat until dough forms. (I had to add a few tbsp more icing sugar). Tip of onto a floured bench and knead for a minute until smooth. Return to bowl, cover with a damp towel and rest for an hour. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight. Makes 300gm.

Process 100gm of sugar dough with 15gm of icing sugar in a food processor until its malleable. It comes together when you use a spoon to stir. Rest dough for 2-3 minutes then put on a bench dusted with icing sugar. Roll out with rolling pin until 2mm thick. Use heart shaped cutters to cut out. Place onto baking paper to dry. =)

Sugar Icing (from Australian Gourmet Traveller August 2006)

Beat 200gm pure icing sugar with 1 tbsp liquid glucose and 2 tbsp margarine (butter) until combined. Add in 1 tbsp boiling water and beat with electric mixer for 6 minutes until smooth and shiny. Add food coloring if desired. Spread icing immediately on cake and scatter with sugar hearts. Stand for one hour for icing to set before serving. =)