Otaki Grans Sunday Sponge

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For as long as I can remember a trip to Otaki on the Kapiti Caost of the North Island always included one of grans famous sponge cakes with home made jam of her choice to finish of a Sunday roast was tradition! Some of the earliest food memories and my passion for sharing comes from my Gran Anne Joynt. When she passed away I was lucky enough to be given her Kenwood stand mixer and famous sponge tins, something that I will cherish and look after for the rest of my life! I remember the first time I attempted a sponge cake with grans mixer and tins and it turned out a success and the true judge was my dad he was happy, but again he would have to say its good right?

Well anyway there’s a wee bit of background surrounding the Otaki Sunday Sponge. In turn fashion it is layered with homemade jam I chose a apricot one I made a few months back but you can use any jam you like.

Otaki Grans Sunday Sponge

Ingredients:
4 eggs, separated
1/2 cup. caster sugar
1/2 cup. flour
1/4 cup cornflour
1 tsp. baking powder
pinch salt
25 gm. butter, melted and cooled
Whipped cream, homemade jam and a dust of icing sugar to serve

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 190 degress bake.
  2. Line two sponge tins with baking paper base and sides.
  3. Separate egg whites into a stand mixing bowl, whisk until foamy.
  4. Whisk in caster sugar and egg yolks, whisk for 5 minutes until pale and fluffy.
  5. Sift all dry ingredients into separate bowl and fold into the egg mixture. I use a rubber scraper, start by going around the edges then a figure 8 pattern through the mix. Do not stir as you will loose all the air that makes it fluffy and light.
  6. Once flour is basically folded in fold in butter.
  7. Pour sponge batter evenly over the two sponge tins and bake for 24 minutes until sponge comes away from the edges of the tin.
  8. Cool and spread jam and whipped cream on the bottom layer followed with the lid, dust with icing sugar and enjoy!!

Serves 6-8

Baked Chicken and Mushroom Risotto with Fennel

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Wanting to keep dinner pretty simple tonight and made a one dish wonder! Only had to brown a few things in a hot pan and the oven did the rest. Baked risotto rice with creamy chicken breast, mushroom, fennel, spinach and tarragon turned about to be a winner! You could serve alongside some steamed vegetables if you wanted but we kept it simple and just had the risotto bake! Could make it vegetarian and use big chunks of pumpkin for a meatless dinner.

One Dish Baked Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Risotto with Fennel

Ingredients:
250gm. button mushrooms, sliced
2 tsp. crushed garlic
1/2 brown onion, diced
1/2 fennel bulb, core removed and sliced
1 tbsp. dried tarragon
3 tbsp. oil
1/4 leek, sliced
2 cups. baby spinach
1 cup. Arborio or short grain rice
2 cup. chicken stock, warm
3/4 cup. cream
1/4 cup. white wine (optional)
Salt and Pepper
700 gm chicken breast or thigh

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven 180 degrees fan-bake.
  2. In large oven proof dish slice mushrooms and scatter over the base followed by rice and half the spinach.
  3. Heat fry pan over high heat add half the oil, onion, garlic, tarragon and fennel with a good sprinkle of salt and pepper. Sautee until browned add leek and cook for 2 minutes then pour in wine to deglaze the pan. I also chopped about 1 tbsp. of top of the fennel and added to the fry pan.
  4. Add to baking dish followed by remaining spinach.
  5. Add remaining oil to fry pan and season your chicken I used breast, add to hot pan and brown both sides around 2-3 minutes per side,
  6. Add to baking dish with hot stock and cream.
  7. Cover and bake for 30 minutes then remove cover and bake for a further 15 minutes until rice is tender.
  8. Serve as is or with a side of steamed vegetables.

Serves: 4-5

Jumbo Cinnamon Rolls

 

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Weekends call for something sweet don’t they? Well I have to agree to that, they do! Not just your average cinnamon roll but jumbo size, soft and fluffy homemade dough layered with cinnamon and brown sugar baked until sticky and topped with vanilla glaze.

Jumbo Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients:
4 1/2 cup flour
1 1/4 tbsp. active instant yeast
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
75gm butter, melted
Filling
150gm butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. cinnamon
Glaze
2 cup icing sugar
4 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla essence


Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 100 degrees for 15 minutes then turn off.
  2. Heat milk for 40 seconds in microwave until warmed not to hot, sprinkle over the yeast and allow to sit for 5 minutes until frothy.
  3. In a stand mixer bowl add eggs, sugar, salt and melted butter.
  4. Pour in yeast/milk mixture followed by flour and salt.
  5. Using a dough hook mix for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is pulling away from the sides of the bowl.
  6. Spray an oven proof bowl with oil spray and place the dough in the center, your dough will be slightly sticky but not runny if so add 1/4 cup more flour and mix in.
  7. I spray the top of the dough lightly with oil to prevent it from getting a crust, glad wrap the bowl and cover with a towel.
  8. Place in the warm oven for 45 minutes until dough has doubled in size. If you have a warm house you can leave it on the bench but this was a great way to speed up the proving process.
  9. Remove from oven the dough should have doubled in size.
  10. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees fan forced.
  11. Dust the bench with flour and “knock your dough back” this means hitting the air out of it. Turn the dough out onto the floured bench and press out into a large rectangle about 2cm thick, You could use a rolling pin but with this soft dough I find hands is much easier.
  12. Now combine the filling mixture to form a paste spread all over the dough and now roll up tightly.
  13. Once you have the roll,  line baking tray and cut the roll into 8 even pieces, place them close together on the tray and bake for 28 minutes until brown and golden.
  14. Allow to cool slightly and combine all ingredients for the glaze and drizzle over the rolls.

Serves: 8, best served warm from the oven.

Snickers Slice

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Sweet and crunchy snickers slice is not for the faint hearted. It sure has a caramel packed kick with nutty peanuts and dark chocolate. Everyone’s sweet tooth was extremely happy when I presented them with this one to try. I enjoyed mine with a nice hot cup of tea on a Sunday afternoon.

 

Snickers Slice

Ingredients:

Caramel
2x tin 395gm condense milk
100g butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 cup toasted peanuts
Base
1 cup toasted peanuts
250gm packet malt biscuits
180gm butter, melted
Topping
250gm Dark chocolate
2tbsp coconut oil

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven 180 fan bake.
  2. Toast 2 cups plain peanuts for 15 minutes until golden brown.
  3. In food processor add malt biscuits and 1 cup of toasted peanuts. Blitz until a chunky texture has formed add , melted butter.
  4. Line baking dish with baking paper and press in the crumb. Press crumb firmly into the dish.
  5. Combine  condense milk and golden syrup in a microwave safe jug. Microwave for 2 minutes, then stir repeat 2 times and on the 3rd time add the butter and stir in.
  6. Pour caramel over base and sprinkle with remanding 1 cup toasted peanuts, bake for 25minutes, until golden and bubbling.
  7. Allow to cool completely, combine chocolate and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl and melt for 1 minute. Stir well to remove all lumps and pour over the set cooled caramel. Allow to set and enjoy a slice with a nice cup of tea or coffee.

Lemonade Scones

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Lemonade scones are the most simple scone recipe I have ever come across simply 3 ingredients and you can’t really go wrong.  Light and fluffy perfect spread with butter and topped with homemade plum jam and a sneaky topping of whipped cream. They could even be topped with cheese for a savory version or add 1/2 cup chopped dates to the mixture.

Lemonade Scones

Ingredients:

4 1/2 cup self-raising flour
300ml lemonade
300ml cream

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees fan bake.
  2. In large bowl combine  flour, cream and lemonade.
  3. Mix until dough has formed, sprinkle bench with light dusting of flour and turn dough out, knead slightly until smooth.
  4. Flatten slight around  3-4 cm thick and cut scones.
  5. Dust your cutter with flour after each cut as the dough is so soft.
  6. Place on a lined baking tray and brush with milk.
  7. Bake for 26 minutes until lightly golden.
  8. Serve warm with butter, homemade plum jam and a sneaky dollop of whipped cream.

Serves: 10

Summer Time Apricots

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Apricots are very cheap at the moment here in New Zealand, especially the ones suitable for jams and preserving. I got some Central Otago apricots last week which cost $1.89 a kilo and what a bargain.  I spent a small amount of time looking through them to avoid picking the really unusable ones. Here is a super simple crunchy tart apricot crumble sponge pudding with hokey pokey ice-cream is a summer stunner pudding! I strongly suggest serving with hokey pokey ice-cream but vanilla would be just as good and a sneaky pour of cream.

This crumble sponge pudding would also be suitable for berries, stewed pear, apples or even a lemon curd filling. Change it up or keep it as an apricot one.

Apricot Crumble Sponge Pudding

Ingredients:
8-9 ripe apricots, halved and stone removed
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp butter
Sponge:
1 cup self-raising flour
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 cup canola oil
1x egg
3/4 cup milk
Crumble:
1 1/2 cup oats
1/4 tsp cinnamon
100g butter, soften
1/4 cup brown sugar

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven 180 degrees.
  2. Grease the edges of the pie dish  with the first amount of butter and lay down halved apricots so the bottom of the dish is completely covered and sprinkle with cinnamon.
  3. In medium bowl combine self-raising flour, sugar and whisk in egg, milk, oil and vanilla until smooth and no lumps. Pour over the apricots.
  4. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon and oats in another bowl and rub in softened butter. Crumble this over the sponge filling evenly
  5. Bake for 55 minutes, check sponge with knife and it should come out clean , if not continue to cook. for a further 5-10 minutes.
  6. Serve hot with hokey pokey ice-cream.

Serves: 6

Chocolate Plum Cake

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Layered with chocolate and tart plum, this cake is a show stopping treat and must make for anyone! Summer is here and the amazing produce that it brings is here too! However it is coming to an end so are the rays of beautiful sunshine, lets make the most of it and get ahold of some seasonal summer plums.

The base to this cake is vegan and if you substitute the butter for margarine in the icing the cake will be fully vegan and even the non vegans will be happy!

Chocolate Plum Layer Cake

 Ingredients
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
2 cup cold water
2 tbsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tbsp white vinegar
2 cups plums, sliced
2 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
200gm butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp water

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven 180 degrees bake.
  2. Line two sponge tins with baking paper.
  3. Sift all dry ingredients into bowl, whisk in oil, vanilla essence, vinegar and water. Whisk well to combine and no lumps in the batter.
  4. Pour batter evenly over both tins and scatter plums over both tins.
  5. Bake for 45minutes until cake springs back when touched.
  6. Allow to cool
  7. Soften butter, in a stand bowl sift icing sugar and cocoa add softened butter and vanilla essence. Beat until light and fluffy around 3-4minutes.
  8. Turn one cake out of the tin and spread with icing, place second cake on top and spread remanding icing.
  9. Decorate  with cut plum, thread coconut and ground chocolate oreos.

Serves: 8-10 slices

Chewy Dark Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

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Sometimes you just need to make a cookie to go with that cup of tea, well scratch the tea I just wanted a cookie when feeling down.
Yes this is a gluten-free recipe however if you wanted to you normal flour you can and it will be fine. However I highly suggest just make them gluten-free you wouldn’t be able to tell unless you were told!
Pams is one of my go to brands, its cheap and affordable but the quality is perfect. Wish they made a gluten-free flour blend though.

In the recipe it says to chill the dough, please do this or the cookies with turn into very flat cookies, probably still edible and very tasty but not the look you’re wanting. I also used pullet eggs which are a lot smaller than normal size 7 eggs I used 2x but 1x 7 egg would be enough in total mine weighed 80gm.

Gluten-Free Chewy Dark Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

Ingredients:
1 1/2cup Edmonds gluten-free flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2cup brown sugar
1/4cup white sugar
150gm butter softened
pinch of cinnamon
2x pullet eggs or 1x size 7
1cup Pams dark chocolate chunks
1/4cup dried cranberries

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees fan bake.
  2. In stand mixer combine both sugars, cinnamon and softened butter, beat for 2 minutes until pale and creamy. This is important that you do this step to achieve a tasty chewy cookie.
  3. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add eggs one at a time, turn up beater after each addition. I used pullet eggs which are considerably smaller than your every day egg. 1x size 7 egg will do around 80gm in total.
  4. Add chocolate chunks, cranberries, baking soda and gluten-free flour. beat in slowly or you will have a large mess to clean up. Scrape down the side of the bowl and mix in the remainder by hand.
  5. This cookie dough is much wetter than your usual, DO NOT PANIC. Place cookie dough in fridge for 15 minutes to set it slightly.
  6. Line baking tray with baking paper, I used a dessert sized spoon to make the cookies however an ice-cream scoop would be perfect.
  7.  Shape dough into rounds and space apart, I made 8 cookies and had enough dough for around 3 more left but I didn’t have space on my tray so I froze it for when I am in need of making a cookie craving.
  8. Once you have shaped your cookies place the tray in the fridge for a further 15 minutes. This is very important or you cookies wont be cookies and not chewy.
  9. Remove tray from fridge and bake for 15 minutes.
  10. Remove cool and eat or just go straight for it off the hot tray.

Makes: 8-11 Cookies

Perfect As Pie

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One of my biggest loves in life is making pies and if you know me you’ll know how much LOVE LOVE LOVE and appreciation I have for a good potato top or cottage pie. Something about them comforting and warm with perfect crunchy pastry topped with clouds of creamy mashed potato. So I took it upon myself today to create cottage pies family and individual size.

This recipe is made from scratch just for you all and it sure made me smile tucking into one straight from the oven this morning, It’s never too early for a pie in my book right?

Cottage Pie

Ingredients:
Pie Filling
1kg Beef mince
1 Onion, finely diced
1/2 Leek sliced
2tbsp Crushed garlic
4tbsp The Good Oil (or canola)
2tsp Dried rosemary
1 tin Diced tomatoes
3tbsp Tomato paste
250ml Worcester sauce
2tbsp Malt vinegar
1ltr Beef stock
2tbsp Soy sauce
1cup Frozen peas
1/2tsp Salt
1tsp Cracked black pepper
1/2cup Cornflour
1/4cup Cold water
Mash Potato
6-8 Large Agria potatoes, peeled
1tsp Salt
1/2tsp Cracked pepper
1tbsp Dried Parsley or fresh
1tbsp Wholegrain mustard
1cup Potato flakes
100gm Butter
150ml Cream

4x Sheets puff or savoury pastry (I used puff)
2tbsp Butter
2tbsp Plain flour
1/2cup Tastey cheese, grated

Method:

  1. Heat fry pan over medium to high heat, add 1tbsp the good oil followed by onion,leek and garlic cook until brown add to a heavy based large pot, over a low heat. Browning  the components develops the flavour of this pie.
  2.  Add 1/4 cup water to remove the caramilsation and add to the pot, dry pan with a paper towel.
  3. Heat fry pan over a high heat add 1 tbsp of oil and half of the mince in large chunks, do not break the mince up let the large pieces brown, this is where a huge part of the flavour is going to come from. Once it has been cooking around 2-3 minutes turn the chunks over and start to brake them up. Add to the pot.
  4. Repeat step 3 until all mince is browned add to pot.
  5. Place stock, diced tomatoes, soy sauce, tomato paste, salt, pepper and rosemary into the large pot, stirring well. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 hours.  Making sure you are stiring occasionally to prevent burning.
  6. Taste and check the seasoning, add frozen peas and turn the heat up to high to get a rapid boil happening.
  7. Mix the cornflour and 1/4 cup  water to create a slurry, stir this into your boiling beef mixture. Cook out for 5 minutes, stirring as this can catch on the bottom once thickened.
  8. Spread your pie mix out on a lined deep roasting tray to cool down fast.
  9. Now to make the mashed potato.
  10. Boil potatoes until tender with 1tsp of salt.
  11. Drain and add salt, pepper, butter, cream, parsley and mustard. Mash well until smooth, stir in potato flakes. The potato flakes help give the mash structure on top of the pie.
  12. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees.
  13. Time to assemble, once your pie mix is cool if using this hot it can make the pastry soggy and not achieve a crunchy finish.
  14. Butter and flour pie dishes I have used some small and a large Family size round dish as well. Bang the dish on the bench to remove excess flour. You can you muffin tins for mini versions perfect for the kids lunch box.
  15. When cutting your pastry you want to cut it slightly larger than the pie dish to avoid shrinkage, any off cuts keep for the edges on the larger pie.
  16. For the large pie I used one sheet of pastry on the base and the off cuts from the small pies around the edge. *see photos below
  17. Once you have lined your dishes with pastry, trim the edges the a knife resting it on the edge of the dish and cutting the overhanging pastry if there is any.
  18. Fill the dishes 3/4 of the way up with the pie filling, you want to make sure there is room for the potato.
  19. Top with potato mixture, for the smaller pies I placed a large spoonful in the center and worked the mash to the edge of the pastry making sure there was no gap left or the mince with boil out in the oven.
  20. For the large pie I placed spoonfuls of mash over the top and repeated this until it was cover. Smooth over the top making sure you get to the edges of the pastry just like the smaller pies to avoid the mince escaping.
  21. Top with grated tasty cheese and bake for 40 minutes until golden brown.

I was left with about 1/4 of the pie mix left over, you can make more pies or freeze this down to use later on when you want the pie again.  It could also can be served hot over pasta or creamy mash for an easy mid-week dinner.

Superb Chocolate Caramel Slice

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Everyone loves a chocolatey caramel sweet treat every once and a while. Most of us also have some stray Weet-bix lying around. This recipe uses Weet-bix in the base and is super delicious with the gooey baked caramel topped with simple chocolate icing. Why not give this one a go this week or even better get in there with the kids and have a family baking day with some other tasty treats.

I’ve used EquaGold Premium Dutch Cocoa in this recipe and it just takes it from average to amazing with such a deep chocolate flavour!  You can purchased here.

Weet-Bix Chocolate Caramel Slice

Ingredients

Base
180g butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup weet-bix, crumbled
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp equagold dutch cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup coconut, shaved/thread or desiccated
Caramel
1 395g tin condense milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla eseence
80g butter, cubed
Icing
1 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp equagold dutch cocoa
3 tbsp water

2 tbsp coconut to garnish

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Line square 20cmx20cm cake tin with baking paper base and sides. (help you to pull out once cooked.)
  3. Combine all base ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Press into the lined cake tin.
  4. In small saucepan combine condense milk, brown sugar, vanilla and butter over a medium heat. Bring to a simmer stirring constantly. Once thickened pour over base and bake for 30 minutes, until caramel is golden brown and bubbling.
  5. Allow to cool, once cold remove from tin.
  6. Sift icing sugar and cocoa together into bowl stir in water, add more if necessary. (needs to be a thin icing)
  7. Pour over cooled slice and smooth out evenly, top with coconut once set cut into 12 squares.

Squares: 12

Perfect with a hot cup of tea!