My mum and I made this SUPER easy recipe for brittle (courtesy of Cooking Light magazine) last weekend. Holy cow – AMAZING!! The crunchy sweetness of this almond version beats the peanut variety any day. Low fat, low calorie AND ready in under 45 minutes? Yes please!!
Enjoy, and buon appetito!
TOASTED ALMOND BRITTLE
Serves: 12 to 14
1 cup finely granulated sugar
1/2 cup lightly-colored corn syrup
3/4 cup coarsely chopped almonds, toasted
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1. Line a jelly-roll pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Combine sugar and syrup in a 2-quart microwave bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes (sugar mixture will appear clear and bubbly).
3. Stir in almonds. Microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes or until mixture is a light caramel color, stirring every minute.
4. Stir in butter, vanilla and salt. Microwave on HIGH for 1 1/2 minutes or until mixture is the color of peanut butter. Add baking soda and stir until the mixture is foamy.
5. Quickly pour mixture onto prepared pan. Spread to 1/4-inch thickness and let stand for 30 minutes. Break brittle into pieces to serve.
Per serving: 142 calories, 4 grams fat (0.8 grams saturated), 1.3 grams protein, 27.3 grams carbohydrates, 0.8 grams fiber, 2 mg cholesterol, 0.2 mg iron, 136 mg sodium.
ORANGE CHEESECAKE TART WITH ROASTED PLUMS
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/4 cup icing sugar
9 tbsp cold butter, chopped
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp iced water
18 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp finely grated orange rind
2/3 cup finely granulated sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tbsp plain flour
1/4 cup orange juice
8 small red or black plums, quartered
2 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp brown sugar
1. Grease a rectangular (19cm x 27cm) or circular (26cm) loose-based flan tin.
2. To make crust, process flour, icing sugar and butter until crumbly. Add egg yolks and iced water; pulse until ingredients come together. Knead dough on floured surface until smooth. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Roll chilled dough between sheets of baking paper until large enough to line tin; press into sides, trim edges. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Cover pastry with baking paper, fill with dried beans or rice; place on oven tray. Bake 10 minutes. Remove paper and beans; bake 10 minutes or until pastry is browned lightly. Cool.
6. Reduce oven temperature to 160 degrees Celsius/325 degrees Fahrenheit.
7. To make filling, beat cream cheese, rind and sugar in the medium bowl of an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add remaining ingredients; beat until smooth.
8. Pour filling into cooled crust and bake for 50 minutes. Cool tart, then refrigerate for 3 hours.
9. To make topping, increase oven temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit/200 degrees Celsius. Place quartered plums in a single layer on a baking tray; sprinkle with juice and sugar. Roast plums for 20 minutes or until soft. Cool.
10. Serve tart topped with roasted plums.
TANGERINE-GLAZED EASTER HAM WITH BABY CARROTS
Makes: 10-12 servings
1 (8 to 10-pound) smoked ham, bone-in, skin on
Kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch fresh sage leaves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut in chunks
2 tangerines, sliced thin, seeds removed
2 cups tangerine juice
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Put the ham in a large roasting pan, fat-side up. Using a sharp knife, score the ham with cuts across the skin, about 2-inches apart and 1/2-inch deep. Cut diagonally down the slashes to form a diamond pattern; season the meat generously with salt and pepper. Chop about 8 of the sage leaves and put it in a bowl; mix with the oil to make a paste. Rub the sage-oil all over the ham, being sure to get the flavor into all the slits. Bake the ham for 2 hours.
3. To make the glaze, place a saucepan over medium heat. Add the chunks of butter, tangerines, tangerine juice, brown sugar, water, and spices. Slowly cook the liquid down to a syrupy glaze; this should take about 30 to 40 minutes.
4. After the ham has been baking for a couple of hours, pour the tangerine glaze all over it, with the pieces of fruit and all. Scatter the remaining sage leaves on top and stick the ham back in the oven and continue to cook for 11/2 hours, basting with the juices every 30 minutes.
5. Scatter the carrots around the ham and coat in the tangerine glaze. Stick the ham once again back in the oven and cook for a final 30 minutes, until the carrots are tender, the ham is dark and crispy, and the whole thing is glistening with a sugary glaze.
6. Set the ham on a cutting board to rest before carving. Serve the carrots and tangerine glaze on the side.
As my loyal readers (hi mum and dad!) will know, sometimes I try to write up a witty wee paragraph or two about the recipe I’m posting, and sometimes I just throw in the towel on writer’s block and get straight to it. This is definitely a morning for the latter…
It’s caprese. In a soup. And it’s A-M-A-Z-I-N-G with a buttery grilled cheese sandwich. Definitely a recipe for the ‘make this again!’ folder – buon appetito!
CAPRESE SOUP WITH SOURDOUGH GRILLED CHEESE
1 kg fresh mixed tomatoes
1 large garlic bulb, cut in half width-wise
Extra-virgin olive oil
4 sundried tomatoes in oil
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
50 grams fresh basil leaves + extra to serve
1 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 (125 gram) ball fresh buffalo mozzarella
4 slices sourdough bread
Cheddar (or other preferred sandwich) cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). Place the tomatoes and garlic on a large roasting tray, drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and roast in the oven for 25 minutes, or until tomatoes have burst and garlic is soft. Remove tray from oven and set aside to cool slightly.
2. Squeeze the roasted garlic from its skin and place in a blender with the roasted tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, sugar, basil, vinegar and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Blitz until smooth, run through a sieve (if desired, to remove tomato seeds), then transfer to a jug and set aside to cool to room temperature.
3. Spread butter on both sides of bread slices. Place one slice on a preheated griddle or grill pan, cover with cheese slices and grill until bread is of desired texture and consistency. Top with second bread slice, flip sandwich, and grill as desired. Repeat with remaining bread slices and cheese.
4. Transfer soup to serving bowls and top with shredded buffalo mozzarella and basil. Serve at room temperature or heated through with grilled sandwiches.
I know, I know - this doesn’t look like a recipe for turkey leftovers and isn’t – *gasp* – holiday related. While I love this time of year as much as the next girl – I got positively GIDDY picking out my Christmas tree yesterday – I want to keep a bit more variety in my diet over the holiday season. That isn’t to say that holiday recipes aren’t right around the corner on this blog – they are! – but I’m starting December off with something a bit more out of the box.
My boyfriend has been clamoring for “less turkey, more beef” as of late, and I was more than happy to oblige with this hearty, delicious beef stew. I made a number of substitutions to the original 5-star recipe featured on Paula’s Home Cooking (Food Network); I added a wee bit of extra cornstarch to achieve my desired consistency and, as usual, pitched the onion in favor of chopped potatoes and mushrooms. While I loved the result, I will probably omit the celery as well when I make this stew in the future. In any event, the original recipe is featured below – I encourage you to tinker around with it as you like.
Fair warning – this stew smells DIVINE while cooking – my boyfriend and I were both starving within 15 minutes of placing it on the stove!
2 pounds stew beef
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups water, divided
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 clove fresh garlic, peeled
1 or 2 dried bay leaves
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
Dash of ground allspice or ground cloves
3 large fresh carrots, sliced
3 ribs fresh celery, chopped
2 tbsp cornstarch
1. Brown stew beef in hot oil over medium-high heat. Add water, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, bay leaves, onion, salt, sugar, pepper, paprika and allspice. Cover and simmer 1 to 1 ½ hours.
2. Remove bay leaves and garlic clove. Add carrots and celery, cover, and cook for 30 to 40 minutes longer.
3. To thicken gravy, remove 2 cups hot liquid from pot. Using a separate bowl, combine ¼ cup water and cornstarch until smooth. Mix a little hot liquid and return mixture to pot. Stir to incorporate and cook until bubbly.
4. To serve, ladle hot stew into bowls.
While I thought long and hard about featuring a Thanksgiving-themed post on the blog this week, I’ve decided to pay homage to an annual Washington state tradition – the Apple Cup – instead. The Cup – a fiercely competitive college football battle between the University of Washington Huskies and the Cougars of Washington State University – is a much-anticipated November event for many Washingtonians (or uprooted Washingtonians, as the case may be!). As an alumni of the University of Washington, I’m looking forward to the Huskies 68th victory over the Cougs on Friday!
I’ve chosen to feature this recipe for Apple Cider Doughnuts after drooling over the very idea every day for the past month. I don’t often eat store-made doughnuts these days – as I don’t particularly care for fried foods – but I ADORED them as a child and was eager to try this unique recipe from Smitten Kitchen. Although the original recipe’s author fries her doughnuts, I decided to bake mine in mini doughnut tins (see note below). As a result, these doughnuts are far more cake-like than traditional doughnuts, although very tasty in their own right! They are soft, slightly sweet and perfect with a cup of tea, coffee or even dark beer!
NOTE: I purchased a mini doughnut pan for US$10 from Amazon last year, and absolutely love it! If you love doughnuts, you’ll find baked versions to be healthier, easier to make and very versatile. Mini (12-cavity) pans are available for US$9-12 while full-sized (6-cavity) pans are available for US$8-10.
APPLE CIDER DOUGHNUTS
Makes: 32 mini, 12-15 full-sized
1 cup apple cider
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 fresh eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
Non-stick cooking spray
For topping (glaze): 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, 2 tbsp apple cider
For topping (cinnamon-sugar): 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1. In a saucepan over medium or medium-low heat, gently reduce the apple cider to approximately 1/4 cup (20 to 30 minutes). Set aside to cool. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.
3. Using an electric mixer on medium speed (with the paddle attachment, if using a standing mixer) beat the butter and granulated sugar until mixture is smooth. Add the eggs one at a time and continue to beat until the eggs are completely incorporated. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
4. Reduce mixer speed to low and and gradually add the reduced apple cider and buttermilk. Mix just until combined. Add the flour mixture and blend just until the dough comes together.
5. Spray doughnut pan with non-stick cooking spray. Fill each doughnut cup half full and bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes (for mini doughnuts) and 20 minutes (for full-sized doughnuts). After baking, immediately remove doughnuts to a wire rack to cool.
6. Meanwhile, make desired topping using the ingredients listed above. If using glaze, dip slightly cooled, inverted doughnuts in topping for 5 seconds and leave to dry on a wire rack over newspaper or a kitchen towel (glaze will drip). If using cinnamon mixture, brush donuts with melted butter and immediately sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.