Rocky Road Pear and Amarula Tart

This weeks Freshly Blogged Recipes are up and ready for viewing and voting.  I was really excited about doing this, as baking is taking me out of my comfort zone, however this recipe, to me, was a setting a new standard for my baking.

Amarula sponsored this weeks challenge, if you would like to vote for my recipe, head on over to the Freshly Blogged Page and VOTE.

I recently attended a Mad Hatters Tea Party, which brought on wonderful thoughts of tea time treats and baking. Jane Austen came to mind when she claimed “Good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness.” I didn’t have any apples to work with, but I did have a few pears…and so I got my baking on.

Although not a traditional Rocky Road, this is my take inspired by the ingredients on hand.  There are so many beautiful flavour marriages in this tart. The bitter undertones of the dark chocolate matched perfectly with the fruitiness of the pears and when combined with the velvet like Amarula, you are left with a delicious tart. Adding texture with the nuts, this tart just screams EAT ME – served best at afternoon tea with the girls.

Rocky Road Pear & Amarula Tart

Rocky road pear and Amarula tart

Crust
1 pkt PnP Cream Crackers
80g soft butter

Filling – Part 1
4 Fresh Pears
100g blanched almonds
1cup white sugar
90g dark chocolate

Custard Filling – Part 2
½ cup melted butter
2/3 cup white sugar
1 cup flour
3 eggs – separated  (if you want a harder set for the custard, use another egg)
1 cup milk
½ cup Amarula

Extra:
250ml Fresh cream, whipped lightly.

Filling Part 1
Heat the oven to 180°C
Peel the pears and slice lengthways.
In a thick botton pan, heat the sugar until melted. Place the sliced pears into the sugar and coat, removing from the sugar, set aside to cool.
Drizzle any left over sugar over the top of the pears.

Place the almonds on a baking tray and place in the oven.  Roast off until darker and lightly toasted. When cooled, chop roughly and set aside. Leave oven on as you will be baking the tart soon.
Chop the dark chocolate roughly. Set aside.

Custard Filling – Part 2
Whip up the egg whites.
Cream together the sugar and melted butter.
Add 1 egg yolk at a time.
Add the flour.
Add the milk and Amarula

Fold the egg whites into the mixture, careful to keep it light and airy.
Place a layer of the caramelized pears on the bottom of the frozen crust. Add a few bits of the chocolate and toasted almonds.
Pour half the custard mixture over the top.
Repeat layering the pears and bits of chocolate and toasted almonds, leaving enough for a final layer.
Pour the rest of the custard over the top again.

Bake at 180°C for 25 – 30 minutes. The tart should be just about baked, check by placing a skewer stick into the tart and it will come out slightly wet.  Remove from oven and place the last layer of pears, chocolate and almonds on up and place back into the oven for about 10 minutes. Check doneness by placing a skewer into the tart again, this time the skewer should come out clean.

Let cool completely.  Grate a little chocolate on top for garnish.  Serve with fresh cream which has been lightly whipped.

 

Lahanodolmades with a Spicy Green Bean Slaw

Challenge number 4 is up already.  Wow it has been a very creative journey with Freshly Blogged so far.  Week 4 was a real doozy.

I love Mezze style feasting. These small plates of tasty morsels and dips originated from the concept of ‘taste, flavour, snack, relish’.  With the cold wet weather we have been experiencing, I have been daydreaming of summer fun, sun kissed skin, crisp white wine, summery style mezzes being shared with loved ones and much laughter.  This was my inspiration for this dish.

1 can Lucky Star Pichards in Tomato Sauce
1 cup PnP Brown Rice
250g PnP plain feta
1 medium cabbage
¼ cup freshly chopped parsley
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 pkt Green beans
1 large red pepper
375ml water
salt
ground black pepper
2 eggs
75ml oil
100ml olive oil
1 tsp lemon pepper
½ tsp cayenne pepper
salt to liking

Spicy Mayonnaise
Place the eggs and cayenne pepper into a jug blender.  Mix the two oils into a pouring jug. On a medium to high setting, slowly drizzle the oil into the eggs.  Do not do this to fast otherwise you will not get the oil incorporated into the egg properly.  The mixture will become think.  Season with salt and lemon pepper.

Dolmades
Cook the rice in rapidly boiling salted water.  Set aside to cool
Bring a pot of water to the boil.
Remove 10 cabbage leaves and blanch in the boiling water.  Set aside to cool. (keep water)
Dice half the red pepper.
Cut the pilchard fillets in half lengthways and remove the little bone. Chop up the pilchards roughly, add to a bowl with the rice, feta and red peppers.  Add the parsley and paprika. Season to taste. Add a tablespoon of the sauce from the pilchards to the mixture.
Lay the blanched cabbage leaves out on a flat surface, place a tablespoon of the rice mixture in the middle of the cabbage leaf.  Tuck the sides in and roll the cabbage leaf tightly.
Repeat until you have desired amount of dolmades.

Green Bean Slaw
Top and tail the green beans, blanch in the boiling water used to blanch the cabbage leaves., set aside to cool
Julienne the remainder of the red pepper.
Shred half of the remaining cabbage, add cooled green beans and red pepper.  Mix the spicy mayonnaise with the cabbage and green beans, seasoning to liking.

Lahanodolmades with a Spicy Green Bean Slaw

If you like this recipe and wish to vote, please follow this link – PnP Freshly Blogged.

This challenge was sponsored by Lucky Star.

Beef Roulades with Potato and Turnip Dumplings

The second challenge for Freshly Blogged is out.  I love seeing the creativity from everyone, such different ideas; I am definitely going to be trying some of my fellow bloggers recipes.

This challenge was sponsored by Knorr – a brand that is a staple in my pantry.

I love comfort food – a slow-cooked meal which sends beautiful aromas through the house, enticing your senses and making you salivate in anticipation. Different cultures consider different dishes to be comfort food. To me these ingredients lend themselves to just that typical meal. Best of all, it’s the kind of dish you can eat family-style with people you love. To me, this is what food is all about… Comfort and family.

Beef Roulades with Potato and Turnip Dumplings

Beef Roulades with Potato and Turnip Dumplings

125ml PnP White Wine Vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1 punnet PnP Soup Pack (carrot, leek, tomato, celery, potato, turnip)
Zest of 1 lemon
5 Salticrax, crushed to breadcrumb consistency
500g beef shin
Olive oil for frying
4 tbsp freshly chopped oregano
1 Knorr Beef Stock Pot
1 whole PnP star anise
1 cup self-raising flour
1 egg
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 200C.

Mix white wine vinegar and sugar in a bowl, julienne half the carrot and half the leek. Add to bowl. Set aside to marinate.

Roughly dice the remainder of the carrot and leek, as well as tomato and celery. Set aside.

Mix lemon zest and Salticrax together and set aside.

Dice potatoes and turnips. Set aside.

Cut meat off the bone. Roast bones in oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove and set aside. Reduce oven heat to 150 degrees.

Using a very sharp knife, cut beef shin into 6 large chunks. Slice each chunk 3 quarters - way through the middle to make a thin fillet. Place between sheets of plastic wrap and pound gently, creating a wafer-thin slice of meat. Repeat with each chunk. Set aside.

Place sliced meat on a flat surface and season. Put a little of the lemon zest and cracker mix in the middle. Do the same with the pickled carrots and leeks. Roll tightly and secure with one or two toothpicks. Repeat until you have stuffed all the beef slices.

Note: Julienne is a culinary knife cut in which the food item is cut into long thin strips, similar to matchsticks. Sometimes called “shoe string”.

Cooking method

Use an oven-friendly dish that can be used on the hob. Heat over medium to high heat.
Brown beef roulades in a little olive oil. Set aside.
In the same pot, fry roughly diced vegetables until soft, add oregano and 3 tbsp of pickling liquid.
Add beef stock pot and 1l of boiling water. Add roasted bones and star anise and simmer. Season. Add beef rolls gently, cover pot and place in oven for 2 hours.
To make the dumplings, cook potatoes and turnips in a pot of salted boiling water until soft enough to mash. Drain water and mash until smooth. Add flour and mix through. Add egg and mix until all is well incorporated. Season to your liking. Set aside.
After 2 hours, place a heaped tbsp of dumpling mixture into pot with meat. Repeat until you have used up all the mixture. Place back into the oven at 180 degrees and cook for 1 hour. Turn off oven.
Remove pot from oven. Take out dumplings and meat and keep in the warm oven. Blitz sauce and place on medium heat to reduce slightly until thick.

Plate up and enjoy. Perfect wintery night comfort.

Note: The sauce is so versatile, you can use it as stock for your next dish or make it into a soup.

If you like this recipe and wish to vote, please follow this link – PnP Freshly Blogged.

Thai Vegetable Latkes with Citrus Phyllo Crisps & Pineapple-Orange Emulsion

I am currently part of a few blog challenges, which keeps me rather busy, so I thought I would share what I have been up to.

This challenge is called Freshly Blogged – Frozen Assets.

We were given this…

20130630_182752And had to come up with something that would knock the socks off people…

My inspiration behind this challenge was Chanukkah.

Chanukkah came straight to mind when I saw the list of ingredients for this challenge. Memories of making latkes with the kids, during their Chanukkah celebrations, flooded back. Chanukkah is a Jewish holiday, known as the Festival of Lights / Feast of Dedication, where fried foods are eaten to honour the commemoration of the miracle of the oil burning for 8 days in the menorah, which was only suppose to burn for 1 day.

This is a time for family and friends to gather and share special times together whether cooking the dishes or enjoying them around the dinner table.

I love versatility, and this dish lends itself to it. Present these latkes at your dinner party as a canapé; or serve it at the beginning of a heavy wintery meal, or enjoy as a light lunchtime dish with a glass of Chenin Blanc.

 

Thai Vegetable Latkes with Citrus Phyllo Crisps & Pineapple and Orange emulsion

Thai Vegetable Latkes with Citrus Phyllo Crisps & Pineapple-Orange Emulsion
Serves 6 – 8

Ingredients

2 packets (500g each) Findus Wok Thai vegetables
½ roll (500g) PnP Phyllo Pastry
6 tsp PnP Cook Additions crushed Garlic, Ginger & Dhania paste
1 pkt PnP 2-minute Noodles – Thai Sweet Chilli Flavour
1 orange
1 fresh pineapple
4 tbsp sugar
2 tsp coarse salt
1.5 tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ cup olive oil
½ cup vegetable oil
5 tbsp self raising flour
Small bowl of seasoning (salt & pepper)
Small bowl of sugar
Small bowl of olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200°C

Zest the orange and squeeze out the juice, keeping some of the pulp too.
Peel and slice half the pineapple into thin rings, removing the core. Slice the other half into thick chunks.

Mix sugar and water together, with the zest of the orange in a small saucepan.  Place over medium heat and let cook until a thick syrup is formed. Remove from heat.

On a dry surface, lay out a layer of phyllo pastry, brush the syrup over and place another layer on top. Repeat twice.  Using a sharp knife, cut triangle shaped crisps, place on baking tray and bake for 5 – 7 minutes, just until golden brown. Before plating, brush the crisps with the orange glaze.  Make as many crisp as you want as these are nice to snack on.

Place the frozen vegetables in a colander and pour a litre of boiling water over.  Set aside and let the water drain.

Place the noodles in a mixing bowl, pour 2 cups of boiling water over the noodles, cover with cling wrap and set aside for about 3 – 4 minutes.  Drain and sprinkle the Thai sweet chilli seasoning over the noodles.

Mix the noodles and vegetables together, with the garlic, ginger and dhania paste, add salt & pepper (season to taste), add half the orange juice and half the pulp.  Set aside.

In a small pot, over a medium heat, add the olive oil and vegetable oil.  Heat until the oil reaches 180°C.

While the oil is heating, add the pineapple chunks and left over orange juice into a blender, season and add 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp sugar and a dash of the liquid from the garlic, ginger and dhania paste. Blitz until smooth. Set aside.

Using the vegetable and noodle mixture, a heaped tablespoon at a time, roll into balls; gently drop into the hot oil, careful not to splash yourself. Repeat with a few more balls at a time, careful not to overcrowd the pot.  Work gentle with the balls, they are delicate. Cook until golden brown (about 7 – 10 minutes depending on size)

Brush a little olive oil over the pine apple pieces and grill, I used a skillet as I love char grilled look and flavour.

If you like this recipe and wish to vote, please follow this link – PnP Freshly Blogged.

Please note this challenge was sponsored by Findus in conjunction with Pick N Pay for the Freshly Blogged Bloggers Challenge..

 

Food and Wine Bloggers Indaba 2012

So it’s been almost two weeks since the 3rd Food and Wine Bloggers Indaba, and let me tell you, I still smile at the great memories, of not only the whole experience but of old friends, new friends, and of course the wonderful organizational skills of the beautiful Browniegirl aka Colleen Grove.

Before I go any further, I have to give Colleen a round of applause, I attended the first FBI 2 years ago, this year, Colleen, you have set your standards extremely high, you are going to have to pull a rabbit out of a hat to beat this experience!  You did a wonderful job, and I have to say a big thank you for not only putting it all together, and for all the hard work, but for the warm welcoming hug, and all the love you give.  As mentioned before, you inspired me not only to blog, but with day to day inspiration with your stunning desserts.

The morning started off with excited hugs and long time no see’s, and of course our lovely gifts from Yuppiechef – our knife & apron, which has a lovely space on my knife magnet between my collection of Scanpans.  After coffee, busy chattering, meeting new friends, and  buffet of welcoming cookies, off we were to the conference room to kick off the Indaba.

As each speaker enlightened us with their know how, many people where taking notes and as I looked around the room, I could see the busy fingers of fellow bloggers tweeting, causing #FBI2012 to trend.  Such an achievement for such a young event. Many things were learnt which shall soon be put into practise…which I know will only open more doors for me.

After lunch was served, a buffet of beautifully presented mezze’s of deliciousness, and wine was drank, thank you Tangled Tree, we broke up into our different workshops.  As a chef, I blog for the networking and inspiration, so for myself, the inspirational workshops were Hands On Cupcake Decorating Workshop and Bubbly & Canapé Pairing Workshop.

The hands on cupcake workshop was presented by Grace from Cupcakes by Design, and boy was it loads of fun.  Not only was Grace a wonderful teacher with her knowledge and know how, but she was so friendly and gave personal attention to each one of use that sat around the table.  We were taught about fondant, shaping, different design techniques and then left to ourselves to design away.

We could decorate 4 cupcakes which were baked by Grace, and this was my end result.

At the end of the first workshop, we enjoyed another wine break, and some lovely little pastries, which I have to just single out, the Tangled Tree Shiraz was a beautiful combination with the moist rich chocolate brownies that were served. Happiness still fills me as I remember the flavours on my palate.

The second workshop that I attended was called Gorgeous Bubbly & Canapé Pairing Workshop, presented by Pieter ‘Bubbles’ Ferreira, who had us from the first cork pop.   Chef Garth Almazan of Catharina’s cooked up a storm for the pairing.

Our first pairing was freshly shucked oysters with a Vietnamese dressing, which was paired with Graham Beck Brut Zero 2005.

I love the whole play of anything Asian influenced saucing, such beautiful fresh flavours, which just worked so very well to with the oyster.

Second up was something that really boggled my mind.  I was skeptical, but at the same time intrigued.  Malay style scrambled egg with a cured salmon terrine, paired with Graham Beck Cuvee Clive 2005.

This was without a doubt the top pairing for me.  The bubbly on its own stood out, as did the canapé, but together they complimented each other and the dance that went on in my mouth was slow and delicate with a few edgy steps and in seconds I was swaying with happiness.

Third up was a Graham Beck Brut Berry Terrine with macerated berries in a raspberry and pomegranate balsamic syrup, paired with Graham Beck Brut Rose NV and Graham Beck Bliss Demi Sec NV.

I am going to firstly admit that I am not a huge dessert fan, and I personally didn’t enjoy the texture of the terrine, but having said that, the raspberry and pomegranate balsamic syrup was out of this world.  I personally enjoyed the dish more with the Graham Beck Brut Rose NV and found the Graham Beck Bliss Demi Sec NV slightly to dry and harsh.

The day ended with a few prizes, which I never win!

And a lovely auction for Lavender in Lavender Hill Charity, and of course 3 goodie bags filled with such wonderful bits and pieces, and many hugs and kisses from old and new friends.

What a day!  Again, a big thank you to all the wonderful sponsors and people who spent hours of their times to make this all happen.  Pick n Pay, Yuppiechef, Nomu, Tangled Tree and everyone else who helped to make this all happen.  I definitely look forward to #FBI2013