food for thought

by michelle

Archive for the ‘cakes & desserts’ Category

orange passionfruit sorbet

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Our first crop of passionfruit inspired this fresh and fragrant sorbet. Serious Eats’ The Science of the Best Sorbet provided me with all the information I needed

orange-passionfruit-sorbet

When I buy sorbet I’m usually disappointed as the taste of the fruit is secondary to the sugar. In order to make my sorbet not too sweet and as it was mostly citrus juice (which doesn’t have much fibre or pectin), I opted for 100% glucose syrup (or corn syrup) as it is ⅓ as sweet as sugar and is highly viscous. The result was perfect! To make 1 litre you will need the juice (with pulp) of 6 oranges and the pulp of 6 passionfruit. If your glucose or corn syrup is thick, warm it with some of the orange juice to dissolve before mixing into the entire liquid. Churn in an ice cream machine and freeze for a few hours before serving.

Written by michelle picker

April 5, 2017 at 5:43 am

burrata and honey panna cotta with candied walnuts

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A lovely delicate cheese and honey flavour pair well with crunchy candied walnuts

burrata-and-honey-panna-cotta

To make the panna cotta pour ¼ of a cup of milk into a small bowl and sprinkle over 7g (¼ oz) of powdered gelatine. Allow it to bloom for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan heat ½ a cup of cream with ½ a cup of honey until the honey is dissolved. Dissolve the gelatine into the cream and honey mixture, mixing until you have no lumps. Allow the mixture to cool. In a blender or food processor combine 200g (7 oz) of burrata cheese (a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream) with an extra ¾ of a cup of milk and ½ a cup of cream and process until smooth. If you prefer you can substitute crème fraîche, yoghurt or buttermilk for the burrata. Whisk the cooled gelatine mixture into the cheese mixture then strain through a fine sieve into a jug. Pour into 6 ramekins, moulds or glasses (depending on how you wish to serve them) and allow them to set in the fridge for at least 4 hours. If you are un-moulding, briefly dip the bottom into hot tap water. To make candied walnuts, heat a fry-pan and add 1 cup of walnut halves, ¼ of a cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of butter. Heat over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. When the sugar mixture starts melting, stir constantly until all the nuts are coated. Immediately transfer them onto baking paper, separating the nuts. Allow them to cool until crunchy.

Written by michelle picker

March 18, 2017 at 5:55 am

fine dining in Aukland

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sky-tower-aukland The Sky Tower in Aukland, New Zealand is a distinctive landmark. Thanks to Nicolas who generously gave me a voucher, I ate there with 6 others at The Sugar Club on the 62nd floor. We tried many dishes from chef Peter Gordon’s degustation menu.

turmeric-cured-salmon

 

 

 

First there was an amuse-bouche of turmeric cured salmon over an anchovy paste with crispy lentils.

The menu is designed to go from lighter dishes to heavier so here, in the same order, are some of the outstanding dishes we ordered followed by equally good desserts.

Hiramasa kingfish with nori, cucumber, orange, chilli soy dressing, peanuts and wasabi cream

kingfish

miso eggplant with medjool dates, feta, crispy buckwheat, tahini yoghurt and mango puree

eggplant

asparagus and spiced quails eggs with shiitake, miso and almonds

asparagus-and-spiced-quails-eggs

spiny crayfish and Marlborough saffron linguine with pine nuts and aged parmigiano reggiano

spiny-crayfish

creamed Pāua (the Māori name for abalone or ormer shells) with kiwi dip and frybread

creamed-paua

octopus with corn puree, quinoa, celery and capsicum

octopus

tempura aubergine (eggplant) and blue pea inari with panch phoron spiced tomato pickles, rhubarb and guava

tempura-aubergine

line-caught fish with tempura oyster, mussels, cucumber and dashi

_fish-tempura-oyster-mussels-cucumber-dashi

Hawkes Bay lamb rump with pecorino gnocchi, pesto, lamb floss and preserved lemon dressing

lamb-rump

Mahy Farms beef fillet with spiced beef cheek, smoked mash and spinach

_beef-fillet

Aukland harbour sunset from the Sky Tower

aukland-harbour

berries and meringue

meringue-berry-sorbet

Zealong Oolong panna cotta with matcha sponge, blueberries, fennel confiture and red shiso

panna-cotta

peanut butter parfait with miso caramel, sesame, paprika and orange

peanut-butter-parfait

chocolate cru virunga 70% semifreddo with spiced pineapple, mochi and tamarind caramel

chocolate-semifreddo

Written by michelle picker

February 4, 2017 at 5:57 am

flan

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The history of flan begins with the ancient Romans who spread their culinary traditions throughout Europe. Originally a savoury dish, it became popular as a sweet dish of slowly cooked custard with caramelised sugar. Christopher Columbus’ discovery of America brought flan with it and nearly all of Central and South America loves flan in one form or another. It has become particularly associated with Mexico where it is an absolute classic. This rather more modern recipe comes from a Mexican family member.

flan

Blend 1 can of evaporated milk, 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract and 4 eggs. Allow this mixture to rest. In the pan in which you will cook the flan, put 8 tablespoons of sugar and heat carefully to make a caramel. Allow the caramel to cool then pour the milk mixture over it. Cover the pan with foil and place it in a large baking tray in the oven. Pour boiling water around the flan dish at least half-way up the sides and bake in a moderate oven until the custard is set. If you have a pressure cooker, place the covered flan on a trivet with some water below and cook at pressure for 20 minutes. Chill before turning out and serving.

Written by michelle picker

January 17, 2017 at 5:48 am

christmas 2016

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naked-cherry-tomatoes

Christmas day 2016 was a hot 37ºC day, so we opted for some cold dishes in our 5-course menu.

We started with an amuse-bouche of naked cherry tomatoes from this recipe by Chef John. This method really brings out the flavour in tomatoes.

The second course was a wonderfully fresh chilled green gazpacho soup with burrata cheese, also a Chef John recipe.

gazpacho-verde-with-burrata-cheese

For the third course I served cured salmon which I made following this recipe. If you make this recipe be sure to make the dressing a day ahead – it improves with time.

cured-salmon

Our fourth course was a roasted porchetta served with roasted potatoes and carrots and a dragoncello sauce which I recently learnt to make at this masterclass.

porchetta-with-dragoncello-sauce-potatoes-and-carrots

Dessert was a brandy ice cream with a chocolate shell served with brandied prunes.

brandy-ice-cream-with-chocolate-shell-and-brandied-prunes

brandy-ice-cream-eaten

Here’s an inside view of the ice cream.

rum-balls

 

And finally, with coffee and tea, some delicious rum and apricot balls thanks to Carolynne.

hazelnut cake

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Italian in style and dotted with pieces of dark chocolate this cake is glazed with an apricot jam. Perfect for afternoon tea!

hazelnut-cake

Preheat your oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Grease a spring-form cake tin and line the bottom with baking paper. In the mixer, cream 100g (3½ oz) of butter and ¾ of a cup of sugar until light and fluffy. Incorporate 4 eggs (one at a time), ¼ of a cup of olive oil, and 2 teaspoons of orange zest. Beat for a couple of minutes. Whisk or sift together 1½ cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, and (if you haven’t used salted butter) ¼ of a teaspoon of salt. On low speed, incorporate the flour mixture in a few batches. Fold in 100g (3½ oz) of ground hazelnuts and 85g (3 oz) of roughly chopped dark chocolate by hand. Bake for 45 minutes or until the cake tests clean. Cool in the pan. When completely cooled, remove from the cake tin and spread with apricot jam. Serve with cream.
 hazelnut-cake-piece

 

Written by michelle picker

December 24, 2016 at 5:49 am

aniseed and blackberry ice cream

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licorice-and-blackcurrant-bonbons-2The inspiration for this ice cream flavour comes from a favourite bonbon of mine – white liquorice surrounded by tart blackcurrant. Happily, I managed to create a very similar flavour, despite the use of anise instead of liquorice and a different berry.

For the ice cream measure 2 cups of milk. Remove 2 tablespoons of the milk and make a slurry with 2 tablespoons of cornflour (cornstarch). Heat the remainder in a saucepan with 1¼ cups of heavy cream, ⅔ of a cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of glucose and 1 tablespoon of anise seeds. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour in the cornflour slurry. Stir, return to the heat and allow to thicken. In another bowl whisk 3 tablespoons of softened cream cheese with ⅛ of a teaspoon of salt. Pour in the hot milk mixture and whisk until smooth. Cool the mixture down by placing the bowl in an ice bath. When the mixture is cold, strain to remove the seeds and churn in an ice cream machine, sorbetière or even over ice and salt.

aniseed-and-blackberry-ice-cream

To make the blackberry swirl empty a can of blackberries in syrup into a saucepan and cook until the liquid is almost all gone, or if you have fresh blackberries cook them in a saucepan with some sugar to taste – they should still be tart. When they are soft, pass them through a fine sieve (discarding the seeds) and set aside. When the ice cream is churned, remove it to the container in which you will freeze it. Pour the cooled blackberry sauce over the top and, with a chopstick or skewer, swirl it through the ice cream.

Written by michelle picker

December 6, 2016 at 5:43 am