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Rover Park and Caramel Popcorn

July 15th, 2012 | Posted by Ruby in Favourite Places | Holidays | Snacks - (Comments Off on Rover Park and Caramel Popcorn)

This is the 2nd year that Cheri and family along with some friends spend a long weekend at Rover park.  Camping in the middle of winter. The reason – Monster Trucks…. it’s a boy thing. But for the children it was a great holiday in the country.  Sadly Rover Park has now closed.

 

 

 

And lots of fun around the fire at night.

Well needless to say, Cheri and Beth were planning menus months in advance, including a Ragu Napolitano that is always a huge success – from a recipe given to me by an old Italian friend.  I’ll post this recipe sometime soon.

The star of the show was definitely the Diddle Daddles (aka caramel popcorn), however these apparently didn’t last much beyond the drive up to Rover park.

Recipe for Diddle Daddles

Ingredients:
1 1/2 litre jug filled with popped popcorn (starting with about 150 grams un-popped corn)180 grams butter
1 cup soft brown sugar
1 cup caster sugar
100 grams liquid glucose or corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Bicarb
1 Tablespoon cream
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Method:
  1. Set oven to 120 C
  2. Line 2 baking trays with wax paper
  3. Place ready prepared popcorn in a large heatproof bowl
  4. In a deep saucepan melt butter and then stir in sugar, glucose and salt 
  5. Bring to boil stirring frequently, once boiling stop stirring and let boil for about 5 minutes, remove from heat
  6. Add Bicarb and stir (be aware that the Bicarb will cause the mixture to bubble up rising vigorously)
  7. Stir in cream and vanilla
  8. Pour caramel over the popcorn and stir briskly – a bit of a challenge as it becomes very sticky
  9. Spread popcorn onto the trays to achieve a single layer of popcorn as best you can
  10. Place trays in oven for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes
  11. Remove trays from oven and allow to cool
  12. When popcorn is cool break into pieces 
  13. Store in a ziploc bag
  14. It lasts as long as you can keep away from it 

Nectarines, Lavender and French Almonds

July 8th, 2012 | Posted by Ruby in Cakes - (Comments Off on Nectarines, Lavender and French Almonds)

I have been pondering for the past few days what to do with the bowl of nectarines.  Also, for the past few weeks I’ve had a packet of edible lavender sitting on the kitchen table.  While discussing options with Cheriece this morning she suggested a nectarine tart with a frangipane filling and from there I made a small leap to frangipane and lavender.

And it all came together with lavender, almond and vanilla creating a balmy redolence.

 

Recipe for Nectarine, lavender and frangipane tart

Ingredients

For the shortbread pastry
200 grams all purpose flour
150 grams butter
75 grams almond flour (ground almonds)

150 grams castor sugar
2 Tablespoons edible lavender
1-2 Tablespoons ice water
For the Frangipane
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup fresh cream
1 vanilla pod
100 grams castor sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoons french almond extract
50 grams almond flour
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
3 Nectarines
3 Tablespoons peach or nectarine jam
1 teaspoon lavender
Method
For the shortbread pastry
1.  Grease a 8 inch pie dish and dust with flour
1.  Rub the butter into the flour until you have a crumb texture
2.  Mix in the almond flour, sugar and lavender
3.  Add a few drops of water and bring the mixture together into a ball, adding a few drops more water if necessary.
4.  Press the mixture into the pie dish and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
5.  Then bake in an moderate oven (about 320C) for 15 minutes
6.  Remove from oven and allow to cool
For the Frangipane
1.  Place the milk, cream and vanilla pod in a saucepan and bring to boil, then take off heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes
2.  Whisk the eggs and sugar until creamy, add the almond flour, almond extract and flour to the egg mix and whisk again until smooth
3.  Return the milk and cream to the heat and add the egg mixture stirring continually
4.  When the mixture starts to thicken remove from heat and cool.
To assemble and bake
1.  Slice the Nectarines into 12 slices each
2.  Pour a little of the frangipane mixture into the pastry case
3.  lay the nectarine slices in a circular pattern
4.  Pour the remaining frangipane mix over the top of the nectarines
5.  Bake for 30 minutes until set.
To finish
1.  Heat a little peach or nectarine jam diluting with water to reach a syrup consistency, add the lavender.
2.  Brush the top of the tart with the jam glaze

Breakfast Pancakes with Raspberry Syrup

July 2nd, 2012 | Posted by Ruby in Breakfasts - (Comments Off on Breakfast Pancakes with Raspberry Syrup)

I have to confess, breakfast is my least favourite meal.  For the first meal of the day i’m not sure if the issue is the limited  options or my limited appetite.
My preference generally is to eat something savoury in the morning, and definitely not within the first couple of hours of waking.

But occasionally I need something sweet, and so it came as a bit of surprise that I went to bed last night actually looking forward to breakfast today – the menu choice already decided – pancakes with oodles of syrup and whipped butter.

I make these about once every 2-3 weeks and always serve them with butter and lashings of syrup, not maple just plain old golden syrup.  But for a change, and because I had a punnet(basket) of raspberries that needed to be consumed, I varied the recipe and made a raspberry syrup.

I use these 4 non-stick ring moulds and they create these perfect round pancakes that are deep, light and scrumptious.  Of course if you don’t have the ring moulds you can still make a very good pancake and you’ll probably get around 6-8 regular pancakes depending on the size you prefer.

Recipe for Pancakes
Makes 4 moulded crumpets(American pancakes) or 6-8 regular
Ingredients
150 ml Self Raising flour (I use gluten free and it produces a really light mixture)
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Tablespoon castor sugar
pinch salt
30 grams butter melted
125ml milk
1 egg
100 grams butter for whipping
maple syrup or Raspberry syrup
Method
1. Place all dry ingredients into bowl.
2. Mix melted butter with milk and egg in a cup.
3. Pour butter mixture into dry ingredients and beat with whisk, the mixture should be a thick pouring  consistency
4. Leave to stand for 15-20 minutes (gluten free flour only needs to stand 5 minutes), don’t stir or whisk after standing
5. Heat frying pan on stove over low steady heat.
6. Melt a little butter in pan
7. Place 4 buttered ring moulds in pan and pour about 2 large spoonfuls of mixture into each mould

8. Cook for about 10 minutes or until bubbles are visible on top then turn (flip over) and cook for a further 8-10 minutes (if you’re not using the ring moulds they take a little less time around 7-8 minutes then flip then 5 minutes.

The key to success is experimenting with the right stove setting.  It needs to be low enough to ensure that the pancakes cooks through without burning.
If you’re using ring moulds make sure they’re the non-stick type only
If you’re not using ring moulds you may want to make the mixture a little thicker
You can double this mixture by doubling all ingredients exactly